5 Efficient Methods to Redact a PDF and Blackout Text in PDF for Free

Last Updated on October 9, 2022 by Tina Clark

How do you redact sensitive content on some important PDF files if you need to protect your PDF file from unauthorized access? Is there a method to batch redacting PDF files? It is not as easy as highlighting the text or changing the highlight color. Remaining the original structure and format is an important part of redacting a PDF. Here are 5 easy and workable solutions to hide the sensitive information on your PDF.

How to Redact a PDF

Part 1: How to Search and Redact a PDF with Ease

Is there a method to search and redact a PDF easily? PDFelement is an all-in-one solution, which enables you to search the desired pages and redact texts/images on different PDFs. It enables you to change the color of the redaction box, overlay custom text, or add redaction codes. Moreover, you can also perform an OCR algorithm to extract the texts in different languages from the scanned PDF.

1. Extract the texts and images with the OCR algorithms for scanned PDFs.

2. Edit PDF files, such as combine, split, annotate, convert, highlight, etc.

3. Search and redact PDF files via hiding and permanently removing texts.

4. Redact and blackout the desired texts and images with a batch process.

Win Download Mac Download

Step 1: Once you have installed PDFelement, launch this program on your computer. Click the Open files button in the main interface to import the PDF that you want to redact. Moreover, you can directly drag-n-drop the PDF files into this program.

Open PDF for Conversion PDFElement

Step 2: Go to the Protect tab and click the Mark for Redaction button under the menu. Select the area you need to redact in the PDF and blackout the texts. After that, you can change the appearance of the redaction by opening the Properties on the right pane.

Mark for Redaction PDFElement

Step 3: If you need to redact many texts, you can blackout them. Click Search & Redact and enter the information you want to redact in the search box. All the information will be shown in the list, you can check the boxes and click the Apply All Marks button to blackout texts on PDF.

Search Redact PDFElement

Step 4: Click the Apply Redaction button to redact texts in PDF in batch. You can find a new window to remind you the selected area would be permanently redacted. You can click Continue to confirm your selection before saving the redacted PDF on your computer.

Apply Redaction PDF PDFElement Win Download Mac Download

Part 2: How to Redact PDF or Remove Sensitive Content

Adobe Acrobat Pro is a professional PDF editor to redact a PDF document and blackout texts from PDF. If you want to cover your private information or remove the content completely, use this tool to achieve that. Follow the steps below to securely redact a PDF.

Step 1: Convert Word, Excel, webpage, or other files to Adobe PDF format if you have the scanned file or others. Open the document and select to export to PDF format. You can also download print drivers and file converters that also allow you to get the files in PDF.

Step 2: Open your document in Adobe Acrobat Pro by right-clicking the file, selecting the Open With button, and choosing Adobe Acrobat Pro to open the PDF file. Keep a copy of the original and rename it before redacting so you will not destroy your original document.

Import Redact PDF

Step 3: Select the Redact option from the toolkits, you can choose the Text & Images option from the Mark for Redaction menu. There is a dialog box pop up to remind you the redaction will be permanent black out the content once have saved the PDF file.

Mark Redact Text

Step 4: Highlight the text or images you want to redact by pressing Ctrl and dragging the mouse. You will also be given the option to redact the entire page or page range. Moreover, you can also search for the desired texts in the PDF you want to redact.

Search Redact Text

Step 5: You can also use the hidden information feature to find and remove hidden information in your redacted file. Click the Remove button to remove this hidden data. Moreover, you can also protect the sensitive text with a password or choose the advanced options.

Part 3: How to Redact a PDF and Add Annotations Online

PDFescape is an online PDF editor that can perform multiple tasks, such as redacting your PDF, annotating PDF documents, editing PDFs, filling out/in forms, and more. Different from the blackout feature, it provides the whiteout tool to redact a PDF online.

Step 1: Go to the PDFescape with any web browser. Click the Free Online button on its website to choose a way to upload your PDF. But remember to choose a file less than 10 MB within 100 pages.

Step 2: You will enter a small window, where you can drag and drop the PDF into the box, or click Choose File to select from the local folder. After that, you can click Upload to start the process.

Step 3: Once you have uploaded the file, you can click Whiteout from the menu and drag on the page to insert a white space to redact PDF. Choose the Annotate section to add a note to the PDF.

PDFescape Whiteout

Part 4: How to Redact a PDF and Blackout Text Online

SmallPDF is another online PDF editor to remove information from a PDF file. Even if you need to redact another file format, you can also use the converting feature to turn them into a PDF file. It only adds a black frame to the desired texts to redact the PDF file online.

Step 1: Just upload the PDF file you want to redact. If your redaction tasks are larger or more complex, you might need a checklist. You’d better keep a copy of the document to avoid any destruction.

Step 2: Go to the SmallPDF and click the Choose Files button to import the PDF file. Moreover, you can simply drag and drop PDFs into the online PDF editor you want to redact accordingly.

Step 3: Click the square symbol at the upper left and select the Rectangle option. Change the color of the rectangle and resize it to cover the text, either whiteout or blackout.

Step 4: Click and drag on the page to create a black space that can cover the information you want to hide. Click the Finish button to redact the PDF before saving the PDF document.

Redact PDF SmallPDF

Part 5: How to Blackout Text in PDF Online

PDF Buddy is an easy-to-use tool to fill out forms, add signatures, redact and highlight your PDF files. You only need a web browser to use this online PDF redaction tool and create sharable PDF links easily. It provides the whiteout feature to redact a PDF, add annotations to PDF documents, and enable you to edit the PDF anywhere.

Step 1: Go to PDF Buddy on any web browser and click the Choose PDF to Edit button or drag PDF to the page. After that, you can navigate to the part you want to whiteout.

Step 2: Select the Whiteout button from the left pane and then click and drag on the page to cover the information you want to hide. You can also choose the desired shape to redact a PDF.

Step 3: Once you have whiteout the desired text or images, you can simply click Save Changes at the upper right and Download to get the desired PDF to your computer.

Redact Whiteout PDF Buddy


To redact a PDF file to remove sensitive content, here are 5 frequently used methods you should know. If you just need to whiteout a simple PDF file, you can use the online methods for free. When you need to search and redact some texts from a large PDF file, PDFelement and Adobe Acrobat Pro are the best choices you should try.

Win Download Mac Download