Easy Steps to Redact a PDF with Best PDF Reader Free Download

If you need to public a PDF but you want to hide the sensitive content, you should redact the PDF. This article is about how to redact a PDF free and easy.

When you browse the news on TV or on the web, have you ever seen that part of the content of government documents appearing on the news is covered by black bars? When some large companies release their public annual reports, have you ever seen part of the content also be blacked out?

Whether in a government document or a company annual report, the reason why people blacked out specific content is those content is classified or sensitive, so they don’t want others to see it. What if you have a PDF file to be publicized but you don’t want to release the classified/sensitive/private information in it? The solution is to redact the PDF

How to Redact a PDF

This article describes how to redact a PDF document. You'll learn about several methods and tools that can help you protect the information in PDFs.

The first method to redact information on PDF files is manual. If you have a printer and a scanner, you can redact the sensitive information by yourself. Here are the detailed steps of how to redact information on PDF files with a scanner and a printer.

Step 1. Make sure your computer is connected to your printer, and print the PDF file you need. Right-click on the PDF, and click Print to start printing.

How to Redact PDF for Free - Print the PDF

Step 2. Use a black marker to cover all the content that you don’t want others to see.

Use a Marker to Redact PDF Free

Step 3. After covering all the sensitive content, re-scan the manually-redacted PDF file with a scanner, and save the scanned file as a PDF.

This method sounds very simple and does not require other PDF management software, but it only works for PDF files that only have a few pages. If you need to redact a PDF that has hundreds of pages in this way, it would be very tedious.

Adobe Acrobat is one of the most popular PDF reading and editing tools in the world. If you have downloaded and subscribed to Adobe Acrobat Pro, you could use the in-built Redact tool.

Some users might wonder, in Adobe Acrobat free trial, there is a markup feature in the Comment that can help you black out text in the PDF, why still need to subscribe to the Pro version?

However, for some documents with high confidentiality requirements, only covering the text with a colored box is not enough to protect the data and information. And that’s why you need to permanently remove sensitive content. Follow the steps to see how to permanently redact PDF with Adobe Acrobat.

Step 1. Open and run Adobe Acrobat on your computer, and import the PDF you want to redact.

Step 2. Click Tools and find Redact.

Redact a PDF with Adobe Acrobat - Go to Tools and Click Redact

Step 3. The Mark for Redactionfeature is on the upper-left side of the page, click the drop-down button, and choose Redact Text & Images. Now you can select the part you don’t want others to see.

Redact a PDF with Adobe Acrobat - Click Redact Text & Images

Step 4. Then switch to the Properties tab, tick the “Redacted Area Fill Color”, and choose the color as None or black.

Step 5. Finally, click Apply on the toolbar at the top, you have successfully redacted your PDF file now.

This is how you can use Adobe Acrobat to redact a PDF document. If you’re a loyal Adobe package user, then Adobe Acrobat is our first recommendation. But if you’re new to Adobe Acrobat, this is not a good choice. Why? Here are the answers:

1. Adobe Acrobat is not a free tool, you need to pay for some premium features.

2. Many users give feedback that the UI and feature of Adobe Acrobat is a bit complex, and not user-friendly.

3. The size of Adobe Acrobat is several gigabytes. If the network speed is not good, it will take tens of minutes to download the software. Likewise, when software is updated, it can take a long time to complete the update.

Due to the above reasons, we suggest you use a light and easy PDF management tool - iTop PDF.

iTop PDF is a free-to-use and fully functional PDF tool that can help you work with your PDF files easier and more efficiently. With iTop PDF, you have two choices to redact a PDF.

Redact a PDF Document by Selection

Step 1. Download and install iTop PDF on your computer.

Step 2. Open the target PDF file with iTop PDF, click the “Protection” button, and then click “Select for Redaction”.

Redact a PDF by Select for Redaction

Step 3. Use your mouse to select the content you want to redact. For your information, the content you choose to redact will be permanently deleted.

Select the Content You Want to Redact

Step 4. Click “Apply Redaction”, then click the Save button on the top.

Redact PDF Document by Search and Redaction

Step 1. Open iTop PDF on your computer, click the “+ Open PDF” button on the main page to open your PDF file.

Step 2. Switch to the “Protect” tab, and click “Search & Redact”.

Redact a PDF by Search and Redact

Step 3. Now you can search for the specific content you want to redact, select the target content, and click “Apply Redaction”.

Search the Content and Click Apply Redaction

Step 4. After applying, you can see the selected content now is covered by a black box, save the changes.

The above content is about how to redact a PDF with iTop PDF in two ways. Compare to other PDF readers, iTop PDF has equipped with more powerful features and a simpler UI design. Basically, you can do everything to your PDF files with iTop VPN. Here are what you can get from this tool:

Fast and Efficient: The clear UI design enables you to get along with iTop PDF in a few minutes. And no matter whether you need to create, open, or edit a PDF file with iTop PDF, it will react quickly and perform smoothly.

Light and Free: iTop PDF is big in feature but small in size. Downloading iTop PDF only takes a few minutes. And it is clean software that you don’t need to worry about information leakage.

Compatible and Highly Customizable: iTop PDF is compatible with all common files. You can convert documents between all kinds of file formats: PDF, Image, Word, Excel, PPT, etc. And you can add customize stamps to your PDF files.

Enhanced and Powerful: iTop PDF enhanced the readability of PDF files to provide users with a better visual presentation. And it supports users to edit, convert, sign, comment, extract, crop, rotate, combine, split, compress PDFs, and so on.

iTop PDF Features

In all, compared to Adobe Acrobat, iTop PDF provides you with more features but charges less. No matter you want to redact a PDF or combine PDF files, iTop PDF is your best choice.

This is all about how to redact a PDF for free. If your PDF file only has a few pages, you could use a scanner and a printer to manually redact the sensitive content. But the best way to redact PDF files we recommend is to use iTop PDF. Download and have a try now!

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