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Learn to Correctly Redact in Adobe Acrobat

Learn to Correctly Redact in Adobe Acrobat

If you are familiar with sending documents electronically, you need an excellent program to make sure no sensitive information is being transferred by mistake. This is where Adobe Acrobat plays a significant role in redacting documents. The only thing left to do is to learn how to use it correctly. 

In this article, we will provide you with the necessary steps to redact a document on Adobe Acrobat the right way without leaving a trace of any sensitive or confidential information, so keep reading until the end.

What is Adobe Acrobat?

First of all, and before shedding light on how to use Adobe Acrobat, we need to understand what kind of software it is and what redaction consists of.

Adobe Acrobat is a software allowing you to view PDF documents online and offline. You can also use it to create PDFs, edit them, redact them, print them, and more. 

The most common reason people use Adobe Acrobat is that it does not modify the PDF when taken from one device to another. The fonts, sizes, colors, and everything about the document remains the same. It also has a user-friendly interface that is very easy to learn and manipulate, so it is accessible to everyone and can be taught quickly. 

Adobe Acrobat History

Adobe Acrobat was launched in 1993. The very first version was Adobe Acrobat Reader 1.0 and was available for the price of $50, which was pretty budget-friendly back then.

It allowed people to create PDFs, search specific words or phrases in documents, and more. But considering it was an initial version, it still had some problems and was running pretty slow. Of course, Adobe developed the software through the years and kept releasing new versions. 

In 2003, the name Adobe Acrobat had been replaced by Acrobat Reader and kept being upgraded to different versions, including Acrobat XI, Acrobat Standard, Acrobat Pro, and Acrobat Suite.

What is digital redaction?

When it comes to talking about a document’s redaction, it basically means deleting all the sensitive and confidential information from it before sending it.

This task was pretty simple in the past; all you had to do is use a black marker to hide all the information, and you’re done. Nowadays, you can’t do that anymore. Printing out the document, blacking out the information, scanning it back, and then sending it will take a huge amount of time, especially that documents are mostly sent electronically. 

The alternative is, of course, digital redaction, and Adobe Acrobat will allow you to do that in very few steps. 

What kind of information do you need to redact?

A document’s redaction consists of removing all sensitive information from it, especially when it comes to legal documents, or confidential papers of a business, etc. 

When we talk about sensitive information, it could be either:

  • Social Security numbers: redacted into only the last four digits.
  • Financial Account numbers: redacted into only the last four digits.
  • Minor’s names: redacted into only the minor’s initials.
  • Birth’s dates: redacted into only the year of birth.
  • Home addresses: redacted into only the state or city where one lives.
  • Etc.

How to correctly redact in Adobe Acrobat

Adobe Acrobat makes it really simple to redact a document, especially when it comes to the latest versions, as they have been updated with more advanced features, making it easier on its users.

But there is always a right way to use a specific program. To redact the correct way in Adobe Acrobat, all you have to do is follow the next steps:

The very first step is to naturally open the document you want to redact in Adobe Acrobat. After that, click on Tools in the menu bar and then select Redact.

Now that you are viewing your document on your screen, the next step is to select Mark for Redaction in the menu bar, followed by Text & Images.

You can then select the specific text you wish to redact. The text will be highlighted in red once selected to be more visible.

All you have to do now is to click on Apply to confirm the redaction. Adobe Acrobat will display a message warning you that this operation is permanent and that once you click on Ok, it can not be undone. Click on Ok to confirm the operation.

The redaction is now done. Adobe Acrobat will display another message asking you if you’d like to remove the metadata in your file. This consists of removing hidden information in the document, and it is a crucial step to redact your document correctly. Click Yes to do it.

After that, click on Remove, and Adobe Acrobat will handle deleting all the sensitive information in your document.

If your document is long and has high chances of still containing sensitive information that hasn’t been handled, you might want to use the “Find Text” feature to make sure it was indeed all deleted. 

For that, click on Mark for Redaction like you did in the first step, but this time click on Find Text next.

A search dialog will show up, and you can enter particular words to look them up. You’ll know which words and phrases to search depending on the nature of your document. You can also select “Pattern” to search for common ones like phone numbers, credit cards, social security numbers, etc.

After all, it is better to be safe than sorry!

The major thing and the main purpose of redaction is to remove all confidential and private information from the document. It could be information related to your work field, some personal data you don’t want to share, and more. And, to do it properly, you need to double-check your document after redacting it and reread it to make sure the operation was successful.


We hope this article was informative and that you enjoyed reading about how to use Adobe Acrobat to redact your PDFs correctly. Are you able to redact your documents easily, or is it a daunting task? Ask us anything; we would love to help!

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