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How to Redact a PDF (2 Secure Ways)

Jun 7 2023

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Redact PDF

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Read time

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Seamlessly redact PDF content for permanent privacy. Use Xodo online or on your mobile device to keep your personal data confidential and private with powerful PDF redaction features.

Redacting confidential information from PDF files isn’t solely reserved for government entities. You might find yourself needing to remove details from your banking or credit card statements or to redact personally identifiable information (PII) from business documents before sharing them with others.

Without redaction, there's risk of exposing confidential data, leading to potential fraud or legal liabilities. Even personal documents, such as medical records, require careful redaction to protect your privacy.

Once you've identified sensitive information that needs removal, it's essential to use the right tool to ensure secure PDF redaction.

In this guide, we explain how to securely redact PDF online and on mobile with Xodo. We’ll also provide actionable tips on how to redact specific words, patterns such as credit card numbers, emails, or phone numbers, and even entire PDF pages. 

How to redact PDF Online for Free

With Xodo, you can securely redact sensitive data in your PDF files using the free online PDF Redactor tool. To redact text in PDF, follow these steps:

Note: Make a copy of your original PDF so you don’t lose it because redacted content is not retrievable.

1. Open your PDF in the PDF Redactor tool.

You can upload your PDF from your computer, Google Drive, Dropbox, or Xodo Drive.

2. Mark text and images you want to remove and redact from your document.

In the right-side panel, you will see all regions you’ve marked for redaction. If you’ve made a mistake or changed your mind, you can undo, redo, or erase anything you’ve done using the appropriate options.

3. Once you’re ready to redact, click the Redact All button and then hit Apply.

4. Remember to download your redacted PDF document or save it to preferred cloud storage.

Redacting PDF content online with Xodo

Search and redact text, patterns, and entire PDF pages

In case you are working with a large PDF document, you can use the search function to find specific text or preset phone numbers, credit cards, and email addresses and instantly mark them for redaction.

Search and redact text in PDF documents

Note: You can redact one PDF file per day for free. If you need to process additional documents, you can start a 7-day free trial for Xodo Pro.

How to redact PDF on Phone (Android or iPhone)

For quick edits and PDF redaction while on the go, download the Xodo app available for both iPhone and Android devices.

Download Xodo app for iOS here.

Download Xodo app for Android here.

Note: PDF redaction is a Pro feature on mobile, so you will need to start a free trial to use it. You can cancel your free trial anytime during its 7-day duration.

The steps covered below are for Android devices, but the process is similar to that for iOS, so you can easily follow along on your iPhone.

1. Open the Xodo app.

2. In the Toolbox menu, tap on Redact PDF.

3. Select your PDF from the list of files displayed.

If you don’t see your file, tap on BROWSE FILES to search for your PDF in other locations on your device.

4. Once your PDF is opened, you’ll have several redaction selection options available in the top toolbar:

  • Text redaction: To select and redact PDF text manually, tap and drag on the page to highlight and select the text you want to redact.
  • Area redaction: For scanned PDF documents that don't have any selectable text, use this option. You can then create a square area around the text you need to redact by tapping and dragging on the page.
  • Page redaction: If you need to redact entire pages, use this option. You can specify the pages that you wish to redact by selecting the Mark current page or Mark specific page range fields.
  • Redact by search: Using this option lets you quickly search for and select specific text in your PDF. Search by either the Match Case or Whole Word options, select which instances to redact, and then tap on MARK REDACTION.
Redacting PDF on Android with Xodo

You’ll also be able to set and choose the fill colour, border colour, opacity, and overlay text. Simply tap on the palette icon in the redaction box context menu or tap on any of the preset redaction settings at the bottom of the screen.

5. Once you have the desired content selected, tap on APPLY. If you have no other text to redact, select whether or not to Save to Xodo Drive, and then tap on FINISH.

If you decided not to save to Xodo Drive, then the newly redacted PDF will be saved in the Processed Files folder.

Get more work done with Xodo

Redact, edit, fill out and sign — the possibilities are endless with Xodo!

Our free online PDF Redactor was designed to permanently remove and black out PDF text to ensure your documents only display the information you want people to see.

You can use Xodo on any device or operating system: online, Windows, Mac, iOS, Android. Our suite of more than 30 tools will enable you to edit, annotate, sign, and share PDFs all in one place.

Try All Xodo Tools
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Reena Cruz

PDF Productivity Expert

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