How to redact a PDF

People lose millions of dollars annually because their information falls into the wrong hands.

You risk losing money or even getting your identity stolen if you’re not careful in protecting your critical private information like a telephone number, bank account number, or social security number.

That's why you need to know how to redact sensitive information from PDFs.

With redaction, even if a PDF with your info is stolen, the thieves won't get access to any of your personal data from it.

Thankfully, this is easy to do with WinZip PDF Pro. Here's everything you need to know about how to redact a PDF. Download WinZip PDF Pro to redact your PDFs.

How to redact text from a PDF

Before computers, redacting data involved running a black marker pen across the protected information.

Today, you need to use apps to replace them with colored, blurred, or blank boxes when sending data digitally.

Here's how you can redact sensitive information from your PDF files with WinZip PDF Pro.

  1. Download and install WinZip PDF Pro. Once the installation is complete, open the app.
  2. Click the Menu button on the top left and Select Open to open a file. Alternatively, you can also press Ctrl + O. open_pdf_file_on_winzip_pdf_pro
  3. Click Edit on the ribbon menu, then choose Redact in the tab menu. click_edit_then_redact_on_winzip_pdf_pro
  4. To redact text, put your cursor on the words you want to remove. When your mouse pointer turns to the text selection cursor, click and drag it across the text.
  5. The text you selected for redaction will appear in the Marked for Redaction pane to the right. Once you've added all the words you want to remove, click Redact All near the bottom of the pane. redact_text_using_winzip_pdf_pro
  6. In the Apply Redaction window, click Apply. This will permanently redact the text you've selected and cannot be undone.
  7. After the text has been redacted, save the file by pressing Ctrl + S. With that, all the text you selected for redaction is permanently removed. redacted_text_on_winzip_pdf_pro

Redaction is mainly used to remove specific portions of a document.

If a document containing your social security number needs to be sent to someone you don't trust, redacting that text is crucial.

Unfortunately, some think pasting a sticker, a white box, or drawing over it with an app is enough.

These processes do not necessarily secure your information, as hackers could retrieve data from these simple editing jobs, as evidenced by this March 2023 Bleeping Computer report.

How to redact images from a PDF

Redacting images is also essential.

You've probably seen pictures on the news that redacted graphic content. Professionals have also used image redaction as a way to protect identities.

Here's how you can do so with WinZip PDF Pro.

  1. Open the PDF file you want to edit with WinZip PDF Pro. open_pdf_file_on_winzip_pdf_pro
  2. Click Edit on the ribbon menu, then choose Redact in the tab menu. click_edit_then_redact_on_winzip_pdf_pro
  3. Click Edit on the ribbon menu, then choose Redact in the tab menu. redact_image_winzip_pdf_pro
  4. Once you've selected all the images you need to redact, click Redact All in the Marked for Redaction pane.
  5. In the Apply Redaction window, click Apply. apply_redaction_winzip
  6. Once the redaction is applied, press Ctrl + S to save the file and redact it permanently.

How to use select and redact

If you're reviewing a lengthy document, redacting sensitive information individually can take hours. To save time, you can use WinZip PDF Pro's select and redact feature. Here's how:

  1. Open the PDF file you want to edit with WinZip PDF Pro. open_pdf_file_on_winzip_pdf_pro
  2. Click Edit on the ribbon menu, then choose Redact in the tab menu. click_edit_then_redact_on_winzip_pdf_pro
  3. Before selecting text to redact, you can choose between the four marking boxes in the tab menu. You can choose between red, blue, black, and green icons to categorize the text you're removing.
  4. You can also click on the down arrow beside the box color to customize it. You can add some text to mark or describe the redacted text, change the box colors for more categorization options, or even change the fill color. redaction_mark_icons_winzip_pdf_pro
  5. -Once you've chosen your colors and customized your boxes, you can start selecting text for redaction. Each text and region you selected for redaction will appear under the Marked for Redaction pane. select_color_for_redaction_marks_winzip_pdf_pro
  6. After you've selected all the text required, click Redact All. This will permanently redact all selected text and areas. redacted_file_winzip_pdf_pro
  7. Press Ctrl+S to save your files and permanently apply the redaction.

Note: Redaction is permanent! When you click Redact All, WinZip PDF Pro cannot undo the changes you made unless you close the file without saving it. And if you save the file, the redaction is permanently applied with no way to recover the lost information.

How to redact a PDF with search and redact

Select and redact is a great feature if you need to review a single lengthy document that doesn't contain repetitive information.

But what if you need to remove specific information from a PDF file and don't have time to read through it entirely?

Thankfully, you can quickly redact specific information with WinZip PDF Pro's search and redact feature.

Here's how to use it.

  1. Open the PDF file you want to edit with WinZip PDF Pro. 14_open_pdf_file_on_winzip_pdf_pro
  2. Click Edit on the ribbon menu, then choose Redact in the tab menu. click_edit_then_redact_on_winzip_pdf_pro
  3. If the Marked for Redaction pane doesn't appear, click on the Redaction Panel icon beside the Mark for redaction icons.
  4. In the Marked for Redaction pane, click the search bar. You can choose between Credit Card, Phone Numbers, or Emails to automatically select this information for redaction. search_and_redact_credit_card_winzip_pdf_pro
  5. You can also type words or phrases you want to redact. That way, you don't need to scroll through pages of text to redact specific information. When searching for particular words or phrases, WinZip shows you how often they appear.
  6. You can comb through them and select which ones you want to redact, or you can pick all of them. search_and_redact_by_keyword_winzip_pdf_pro
  7. If you want to add more words or phrases for redaction, click Add Mark and repeat the process. Once you're happy with your selection, click Redact.
  8. In the Apply Redaction window, click Apply to redact the information permanently. Don't forget to press Ctrl + S to save the changes.

PDF redaction frequently asked questions

Is WinZip PDF Pro’s redact tool free? 

WinZip offers a 7-day free trial where users can use redact and other tools with no limits. During the trial period, you can check out WinZip PDF Pro's features and decide whether it's enough for your needs.

If you choose to purchase a subscription, WinZip also offers a 30-day satisfaction guarantee.

Can I remove a redaction from a PDF?

The whole point of redaction is to hide sensitive data. Therefore, it is a standard practice that you cannot remove redaction after it has been saved.

If you can remove the redaction, then the person you are sending the redacted file to can also remove it, too. Being able to remove a redaction defeats its original purpose.

That's why you're encouraged to keep an unredacted copy of your redacted file. This way, you can access all your data while controlling what your receiver can or cannot view.

How do I redact a PDF without Adobe Acrobat? 

Several other software platforms can redirect information if you're not interested in Adobe Acrobat. If your goal is to ensure your files are secure and control who can and can't access your data, then you might want to try WinZip PDF Pro.

Aside from WinZip PDF Pro, you also get many features and benefits with the WinZip Suite.

What does redact mean in PDF? 

When you redact a PDF, you permanently remove chosen texts or images. Whether it’s classified government information or personal data, you’ll want to eliminate information you don't want to share.

Will my redacted PDF be secure? 

Redacting a PDF does make it secure. Since once you apply redaction, neither you nor other users can remove it to access your sensitive data. However, there are other steps you can take to ensure your PDF is entirely secure.

Encrypting the file and placing a password on your PDF are two extra steps you can take to make your PDF more secure.

What can WinZip PDF Pro do beyond redaction?

WinZip PDF Pro has comprehensive features that help you edit, organize, convert, merge, sign, and protect your PDFs. Almost everything you want to do with a PDF can be done with WinZip PDF Pro.

Here are helpful resources explaining the full benefits WinZip offers for PDFs:

Can I redact PDFs offline?

When you download WinZip PDF Pro, redacting PDFs offline is easy and convenient. With WinZip PDF Pro, you don't need a Wi-Fi connection to protect your information.