Redacting Text

I have read a couple of articles lately about “Redacting” information from documents. I supposed this mostly applies to a work environment, but may certainly apply to a home environment. Recently, I sold some property where certain things were “Redacted” in the contract. Are there ways to redact information on the Mac? Read on folks, if you ever go into government work you definitely will need this capability!!

Redacting Information

Typically, what people may do is use the “Blur” tool in some App to try to redact information. I suppose if the information is not too sensitive, this may be sufficient. However, I have discovered there are software tools out there that can un-blur the “Blur” tool. To create a secure redaction you have to have that special functionality in an App. As far as I know, Apps like Microsoft Word, Nisus Writer, Pages, etc do not have that capability. 

As far as I can tell, most redacting goes on in PDF documents. PDF is the document of choice these days, almost anyone can open and interact with a PDF document. Here is the problem with all this. Many articles I have read say you need the Acrobat Professional App to do redaction on PDF’s. It so happens Acrobat Pro is quite expensive. If you are in a business enviornment, it my be included with your Office suite.

I did some searching for other PDF editing Apps that may have some redaction capability and discovered that my PDFPen Pro App had a very good redacting function. Here is a PDF document open in PDFPen Pro:

PDFPen Document

To redact text in PDFPen Pro you select text, then choose “Redact Text – Block” from the Format menu:

Format Menu

It puts the usual black block over the text in question:

Black Redacted

Now, if you needed to take this whole redaction thing one step further, you can select some text and then choose “Redact Text – Erase” from the Format menu:

Redact Erase

This the way this redacted document looks in Adobe Acrobat Reader:

Adobe Reader

PDFPen Pro is not cheap, but it is not as expensive as Adobe Acrobat Pro, that is for sure. I did some looking around on my Mac and discovered that PDF Expert has a redaction feature as well. It is not as nicely implemented as PDFPen Pro, but it is there. And, I discovered a couple of Apps on the Mac App Store that purport to do redacting in PDF’s as well, you can check them out for yourself.


I guess that redacting documents is not the most important life skill in the world, but this capability may come in handy from time to time, especially if you are dealing with any kind of contract situation.