Redacting images and PDF’s


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More on redacting or editing to hide your personal information.   We’ve already shown you how to redact in Word, but what about images and PDF files?

Images

Almost any image editor will let you black out parts of the picture.  Here’s how with Windows Paint, which comes with all versions of Windows.

Start Windows Paint and open the image (or paste in a screen shot).

Change the ‘Color 2’ (background/fill) to Black or some other color.

Choose Shapes | Fill | Solid Color

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Then draw a box around the area to redact.

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The box can be resized and moved around.

Here’s an example of the final product.

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Finally, save the redacted image to another file name.  Or Select | Select All  then  Clipboard | Copy ; from the clipboard you can paste into a document or email.

When saving the redacted image, make sure you choose a ‘flat’ image format, most likely JPG.  Don’t use a proprietary format that might retain the layers or edits you’ve made.  That will keep the information you’re trying to hide.

PDF files

Editing a PDF file is more complicated.  While there are some annotation tools available in the Adobe PDF Reader (Windows or Mac), they don’t give you full, secure, redaction.

For full redaction features in PDF files you’ll need to buy Adobe Reader Pro or some third-party PDF editing product.  If you have a ‘one off’ need then maybe a free trial download will be enough.

Another option is to import the PDF into Word 2013/Word 2016 and edit/redact it.  Finally save the redacted document back to a PDF file.

Instead of messing with a PDF file there’s an alternative for single pages.  Take a screen-shot of the PDF page (using the PDF view command Edit | Take a Snapshot or other screen-shot option).

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Edit | Take a Snapshot is available in Adobe Reader for Windows and Mac (not the OS X Preview app for PDF’s)

However you get the page image, edit it to remove the private details using an image editor, as described above.

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