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Removing sensitive content with the Redaction feature

From: Acrobat X Essential Training

Video: Removing sensitive content with the Redaction feature

Sometimes when you are distributing PDFs or you're posting them to a web site, you need to remove sensitive information. Like, for example, maybe the point of this PDF is that I want people to see how many hours they're working. I don't really need people see what their wage is. So I'd like to remove all the wage information. Or maybe I need to remove people's e-mail addresses or phone numbers. Or if I'm working in the medical field, I have to go according to HIPAA regulations. Or I'm working for the Freedom of Information Act, and I have to remove information there.

Removing sensitive content with the Redaction feature

Sometimes when you are distributing PDFs or you're posting them to a web site, you need to remove sensitive information. Like, for example, maybe the point of this PDF is that I want people to see how many hours they're working. I don't really need people see what their wage is. So I'd like to remove all the wage information. Or maybe I need to remove people's e-mail addresses or phone numbers. Or if I'm working in the medical field, I have to go according to HIPAA regulations. Or I'm working for the Freedom of Information Act, and I have to remove information there.

It's a legal term called redaction, and that means just going through a document and actually removing information, making it impossible for people to ever see what was below there. Now, you could go through the entire document with maybe the Content tool, Edit Document Text and search for things and delete them, but sometimes it doesn't work, and sometimes it messes up the composition of the page. So instead, what you want to do is go to Tools, down to Protection, and work with these tools here, under Black Out & Remove Content.

These all have to do with redaction, and it's very simple to use. You start by choosing Mark for Redaction. And in case you forget how to start and what to do next, you get a little dialog box that reminds you there is really only two steps involved: Mark for Redaction, and Apply Redactions. Redactions are not actually applied until you select Apply Redactions here. So let's see how that works. Say that I want to get rid of Carol's wage in this PDF. I would just drag over it with the Mark for Redaction tool, and it gets this little highlighting around it.

Now, the reason it's getting that highlighting around it is because of the Redaction Properties. If I click there, you can see that I have made the outline color green. I believe that default outline color is this red color, and then the fill color is none. So the idea is that you go through a document and mark up the items that you want to redact, maybe proof it by somebody else, maybe somebody else has to okay that, then you can actually apply the redaction, and make those marked items go away.

Because after you do that and when you save the document, there is no going back. You can't resurrect those. Other Redaction tool properties that you may want to look at are, after you apply the redaction, what is the fill color of the redaction? Let's actually do that. So with this Wage marked, I'm going to apply the redaction. It says, "You are permanently going to remove all content that's been marked for redaction. Successfully applied!" Then we get a little dialog box for hidden information that we're going to talk about in another video.

So let me close that. This is what the redacted document looks like. Now, if you go to the Content menu and choose Edit Object and select this little black box, there is nothing underneath there. So the information has been permanently removed. It's a way for people to see that there used to be information here, but it's been obscured or hidden for whichever purposes you need it to. Of course, if you wanted to, you could make the fill color white, so it would sort of blend in with the background if that made a difference to you.

Let's look at another document that I have opened. We're going to redact some information from this newsletter. So it doesn't all have to be all legal stuff. I mean, sometimes if you want to put a newsletter up that was normally mailed out to members, you don't want to include people's home phone numbers, for example. So let me go to Protection and Mark for Redaction. We could do the same thing here. But let me show you an actual faster way. Let me zoom in a bit. You could have the Redaction tool combine with the Search tool.

That's what Search & Remove Text is. You'll always get a little warning that tells you the Search and Redact tool is wonderful, but if you have text that is actually an image that has not been run through Optical Character Recognition that's just a scan of text, this command will not find that text. In other words, don't rely 100% on the Search function. You probably will still need to flip through page-by-page, scanning for sensitive information to redact by hand. So you can say search for a single word or phrase. Like, for example, let's say that we want to search for something that occurs more than once.

We'll say technology, or just tech. Search and Redact. So it found four instances, and you can click here to jump there, just like a regular search would do. So it found tech inside ameritech. You can say Mark whole word(s) for redaction or Mark partial word(s) for redaction. If you choose that, and you can say Mark how many characters from the beginning or the end. So, for example, if you want to go through and delete the last two years, a four digit year, so it just says 20, and then the rest of it is blanked out. You could do that.

If you want to actually redact all these found instances, you need to check these off and then click Mark Checked Results for Redaction. To check them all, you just click Check All, and then it applies the markup. You can also do a new search, and instead of searching for a single word or multiple words, you could search for patterns, which is very cool. So, for example, you often need to remove people's e-mail addresses, or credit cards, phone numbers, and so on from this document. Let's choose Phone Numbers.

This pattern will search for 7-digit phone numbers, separated by punctuation marks, and any leading area codes. If you are from another country, you could choose a different locale for these patterns that would match the kind of phone numbers in your country. They have a few countries built-in here. It jumps you right to the Preferences for documents. Choose localization for Search and Redact patterns. But I'll leave it at US. Let's choose Search and Redact. It found these instances of phone numbers. So let's go ahead and Check All and Mark Checked Results for Redaction, and now go ahead and apply the redactions.

Yes, yes, I know I am about to permanently remove them, and it's all done. The last dialog box is asking if you wanted to find and remove hidden information in your document, which is down here, which I'll be talking about in different video. So actually, I don't need it to do that. I'll just say No. We are done with the Search, and now this document is redacted. You can verify it for yourself by going to Content, choosing Edit Object, and peeking underneath these boxes. Yep, it's there. So I'll press Ctrl+Z to put it back.

When you need to remove sensitive information from a document in a fast and efficient way, then all you need to remember is go to Tools > Protection, and use the wonderful Redaction tools built into Adobe Acrobat.

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This video is part of

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Acrobat X Essential Training

97 video lessons · 31285 viewers

Anne-Marie Concepción
Author

 
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  1. 1m 53s
    1. Welcome
      1m 33s
    2. Using the exercise files
      20s
  2. 55m 0s
    1. Opening documents and moving them around
      6m 3s
    2. Working with the toolbars
      5m 59s
    3. Working with the panels
      3m 43s
    4. Customizing the toolbar with Quick Tools
      4m 40s
    5. Using the Pages panel to navigate
      3m 57s
    6. Selecting and copying text and graphics
      3m 24s
    7. Rotating pages
      4m 49s
    8. Changing the viewing options
      6m 12s
    9. Reviewing preferences
      7m 6s
    10. Finding words and phrases
      2m 35s
    11. Searching a PDF and working with the Search panel
      4m 21s
    12. Sharing PDFs by email and with Adobe SendNow
      2m 11s
  3. 33m 18s
    1. Creating PDFs from Microsoft Office applications
      9m 46s
    2. Creating PDFs from Creative Suite applications
      8m 57s
    3. Creating PDFs from within Acrobat Pro
      4m 27s
    4. Creating PDFs from a web site
      8m 22s
    5. Creating PDFs from the clipboard
      1m 46s
  4. 30m 58s
    1. Editing text
      8m 51s
    2. Adding text
      4m 40s
    3. Editing images and graphics
      3m 39s
    4. Changing the page number display
      3m 48s
    5. Digitally signing PDFs
      6m 26s
    6. Cropping pages and documents
      3m 34s
  5. 1h 6m
    1. Adding watermarks
      6m 17s
    2. Adding page backgrounds
      5m 41s
    3. Adding page numbers
      5m 56s
    4. Adding headers and footers
      9m 7s
    5. Adding bookmarks
      11m 30s
    6. Attaching files to a PDF
      7m 11s
    7. Adding metadata
      3m 45s
    8. Optimizing a PDF for file size and compatibility
      10m 12s
    9. Creating initial view settings
      7m 16s
  6. 37m 59s
    1. Adding hyperlinks to URLs
      7m 33s
    2. Creating links with the Link tool
      6m 9s
    3. Working with interactive actions
      6m 56s
    4. Creating and adding buttons
      6m 28s
    5. Adding video, sound, and SWF files
      7m 29s
    6. Adding page transitions
      3m 24s
  7. 27m 12s
    1. Extracting pages
      3m 53s
    2. Splitting a PDF into multiple files
      4m 13s
    3. Inserting pages from files and other sources
      5m 42s
    4. Moving, copying, and replacing pages
      8m 17s
    5. Combining PDFs
      5m 7s
  8. 27m 9s
    1. Exporting text
      8m 33s
    2. Exporting images
      6m 33s
    3. Exporting PDFs to Microsoft Word
      7m 21s
    4. Exporting PDFs to Microsoft Excel
      4m 42s
  9. 26m 27s
    1. Working with portfolios
      6m 57s
    2. Creating portfolios
      6m 26s
    3. Customizing portfolios
      7m 23s
    4. Optimizing backward compatibility
      5m 41s
  10. 32m 9s
    1. Creating an interactive form
      6m 42s
    2. Working with form fields
      6m 41s
    3. Editing field properties
      5m 34s
    4. Distributing and collecting forms
      9m 43s
    5. Enabling Reader to save form data
      3m 29s
  11. 34m 26s
    1. Adding sticky notes and other annotations
      9m 2s
    2. Using the drawing markup tools
      6m 10s
    3. Viewing, filtering, and replying to comments
      5m 24s
    4. Printing, summarizing, and exporting comments
      6m 35s
    5. Exporting comments to Word for Windows
      3m 28s
    6. Enabling extended commenting in Acrobat Reader
      3m 47s
  12. 25m 29s
    1. Understanding the different review processes
      2m 7s
    2. Using the email review process
      4m 33s
    3. Conducting a shared review with Acrobat.com
      6m 54s
    4. Using the Review Tracker
      4m 32s
    5. Using the Collaborate Live review process
      7m 23s
  13. 31m 2s
    1. Reviewing the print production tools
      5m 18s
    2. Previewing color separations
      3m 51s
    3. Using the Object Inspector to learn details
      3m 13s
    4. Working with the Preflight dialog box
      5m 34s
    5. Fixing hairlines
      3m 57s
    6. Converting colors
      2m 27s
    7. Saving as a standards-compliant PDF
      6m 42s
  14. 19m 16s
    1. Scanning a paper document to PDF
      4m 44s
    2. Setting up optimization options
      6m 48s
    3. Recognizing text in a scanned PDF
      4m 43s
    4. Reviewing and correcting OCR suspects
      3m 1s
  15. 17m 18s
    1. Using the built-in Actions for automation
      5m 32s
    2. Editing Actions
      4m 7s
    3. Creating new Actions
      4m 51s
    4. Sharing Actions with others
      2m 48s
  16. 35m 27s
    1. Choosing a security method
      5m 27s
    2. Password-protecting a PDF
      7m 28s
    3. Securing a PDF with a certificate
      5m 6s
    4. Creating a digital id
      5m 43s
    5. Removing sensitive content with the Redaction feature
      6m 52s
    6. Revealing and clearing hidden information
      4m 51s
  17. 33m 45s
    1. Opening and navigating PDFs in Reader
      7m 30s
    2. Adding comments
      3m 14s
    3. Viewing extended features
      6m 53s
    4. Digitally signing a PDF
      6m 15s
    5. Sharing PDFs
      2m 29s
    6. Using Acrobat.com
      7m 24s
  18. 3m 54s
    1. Final thoughts
      3m 54s

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