No More Sharpies: Your Small Business Needs a Redaction Tool

Redacting sensitive information can sometimes feel like working on an art school project. Here you are, a business owner with zero time to waste, and you’re fiddling in the office with white-out tapes. Or worse, getting smudges and a contact high from using too many Sharpies. You’re printing, blocking, scanning… yet you’re still worried that the documents you’re making public aren’t properly redacted.

Because you know what can happen when redaction fails. A violation of privacy or confidentiality can cause all sorts of problems for your small business. Here are a few possible scenarios:

1. A potential client gets your poorly redacted work sample and instantly loses trust in you. They choose to work with somebody who they perceive as more professional and with whom they feel safer sharing their personal data.

2. A poorly redacted document containing your client’s personally identifiable information goes public. Your client sues you for violating their privacy.

3. A poorly redacted document containing your client’s personally identifiable information goes public. Your client is a threatened person, and, by exposing their home address, you inadvertently put their safety at risk. 

So how can you ensure that a document is truly redacted? And does true redaction have to be such a time-consuming, inconvenient task?

Real redaction

Actually, there is a way to truly redact that doesn’t require Sharpies or white-out tapes or a scanner or a photocopier. Using one single tool, you can achieve true redaction on the computer with just a few clicks. It’s called electronic redaction and involves permanently removing sensitive text from the document and replacing it with either a black box or a blank space. The process is quick and 100% effective—it takes just a few clicks. When you perform electronic redaction, you can put your worries about confidentiality protection to rest.  

To be clear, this is not the same thing as placing a black box over text, or changing the background of text to black. Although popular, these workarounds are not effective. They hide the text, but they don’t remove it, which means selecting the text, then using Copy + Paste is all you need to uncover what’s underneath.  

PDFpen’s redaction tool

The way to real redaction on the computer is via a redaction tool, which is found in advanced PDF editors such as Adobe Acrobat and PDFpen. If, like the office worker below, the price of Adobe’s subscription is way over your budget, you may want to try PDFpen.

Cost of Adobe prohibitive to small businesses. Source: Reddit

PDFpen’s redaction tool enables you to confidently remove classified information from PDFs. You can:

  • Redact a word, a phrase, or a large block of text to quickly make it inaccessible and untraceable

  • Choose between Erase or Block to control the appearance of your redactions

  • Redact All to remove sensitive text that repeats itself so you don’t miss anything

PDFpen users recommend our redaction tool

Here’s what PDFpen users say about PDFpen’s redaction tool:

“Based on my experience I believe that if you need to redact text in a PDF, your odds are about 99.9% that PDFPen will work perfectly.”
– Scott Ribe, Elevated Software Development

“I did some searching for other PDF editing apps that may have some redaction capability and discovered that PDFpenPro had a very good redacting function.”
– Douglas Canning,

“I tested redacting in Preview as well as in PDFpen Pro. My result: Podofyllin is not able to show any of the three redacted text passages.”
– Kurt J. Meyer

“The underlying text layer for that selection is no longer searchable nor is it visible when text is extracted from the PDF.”
– Bill DeVille

“This is true redaction, where the underlying data is removed, rather than just a black bar being overlaid.”
– Glenn Fleishman, Macworld

Try PDFpen’s redaction tool for free

In addition to redaction, PDFpen has other features useful for small businesses, including optical character recognition (OCR), password protection, and e-signing.To see how PDFpen can help your small business, download a 30-day free trial.

Learn more about redaction: