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Adobe Redact Not Working?? A Comprehensive Guide To Troubleshooting Adobe Acrobat Pro

adobe redact not working??

Redaction is a crucial step for businesses of every industry to take if they want to keep their confidential data hidden from unauthorized access and malicious third parties.

Adobe Acrobat Pro is used by millions worldwide to create and manage PDF files. Although users can redact freely on their platform, several people face problems when redacting their documents.

If your files aren’t being redacted on Adobe and you wondered, “Why is Adobe Redact not working??” We have compiled a list of known problems with Adobe Redact and troubleshooting tips you can follow to fix them. 

Learn more about Adobe Acrobat Pro, its redaction feature, and the best alternative if you’re looking for automated error-free redactions. 

About Adobe Acrobat Pro Redactor

Before we answer “Why is Adobe Redactor not working??” Let's look at Adobe’s platform and walk you through its features to explain how they function. 


Adobe Acrobat Pro is a PDF management platform where users can create, edit, and organize PDF files, including a redaction feature. Adobe Acrobat Pro supports Optical Character Redaction (OCR) that converts scanned files into editable documents.

The “Find Text” option enables you to search for specific texts in your files that you want to redact, after which the intuitive click-and-drag feature lets you select the content you want to be redacted with no fuss. 

Adobe allows you to change the default black-out boxes used for redaction by configuring the appearance of redaction marks to change them into colored boxes, redaction codes, using colorful figures and patterns, or keeping the redacted area blank. 

The “Remove Hidden Information” feature redacts images and text, while the “Sanitize” option can be checked to remove hidden document elements, metadata, attachments, etc.

How to Redact Using Adobe Acrobat Pro?

To answer “Why is Adobe Redact not working??”, look at how you can use Adobe’s redaction tool to check if you’re following all the necessary steps. 

How to Redact a PDF You Authored

Here are the steps for redacting your PDF file in Adobe Acrobat Pro:

1.Open Adobe Acrobat Pro and select the PDF file you want redacted.

2.Click on “Tools” and select “Redact” from the drop-down menu.

3.Choose the text or image you want redacted by clicking on the content or dragging your cursor over them.

4.Right-click and select “Redact” from the right-click floating menu.


5.Click “Apply” or “Save As” to finalize your redactions.

6.Toggle the “Sanitize and Remove Hidden Information” in the “Apply Redactions” box to remove metadata, bookmarks, hidden text, etc.


7.You can also select “Repeat Mark Across Pages” to automatically apply the redaction for the same elements that appear on multiple pages. 

To remove specific text and keywords that appear multiple times throughout your PDF file, you can use the “Find Text” feature. Here’s how you use it:

1.Open the PDF file.

2.Select Tools > Redact > Edit.

3.Select “Redact Text & Images.”

4.Click on “Find Text & Redact” from the drop-down menu.


5.Search for specific words by choosing “Single Word Or Phrase.”

6.Click on Multiple Words or Phrase > Select Words for more than one word.

7.Type in the “New Word or Phrase” for every instance.

8.Click on “Add.”

9.Select “Patterns” to redact the same type of information (addresses, social security numbers, credit card numbers, etc.).

10.Click “Search & Remove Text.”

11.Click “Apply” or “Save As.”

Redacting Signed Documents on Adobe Acrobat Pro

 Adobe Sign is used by authors to lock a document to prevent edits and redactions from being made on signed PDF files by users other than the original author for legal and commercial purposes. 

While the author can edit the document freely, you need to ask the original signatory to remove their digital signature if you want to redact a signed PDF file or ask them to make the necessary redactions.

If invalidating digital signatures is not a concern, you can use third-party software to remove encryptions and redaction software like Redactable to make automatic redactions.

Alternatively, you can use the following guide to redact a signed document:

1.Open the PDF file in Adobe Sign.

2.Click on “Download PDF” and open the PDF.

3.Right-click and select “Print.”

4.Select “Save as PDF” as the destination. 

5.Save the file and open the newly downloaded PDF in Adobe Sign.

6.Click on “Preview & Add Necessary Fields.”

7.Make the necessary redactions.

8.Enter the recipient as your personal or business email.

9.Click “Send.”

Remember that the guide mentioned above works only for smaller documents. The process may be complex and time-consuming for larger documents, forcing you to return to the original version or contact authors for editing permissions. 

To check the security settings on a particular Adobe PDF, go to File > Properties > Security. If security settings are enabled, ask the author for a PDF file without the security settings. 

Common Problems in Adobe Acrobat Pro and Troubleshooting Options

There could be several ways to answer “Why is Adobe Redactor not working??” but it depends on your issue while using Adobe Acrobat Pro. Take a look at the known problems we have found with Adobe’s redaction feature and their definitive solutions:

1.The “Apply Redactions” button is opaque:

After selecting the content you want to be redacted in Adobe Acrobat Pro, you might find that the “Apply Redactions” button to finalize your redactions is opaque, and you cannot click on it.


Check the security settings for the particular file by navigating to File > Properties > Security. If you’re redacting a PDF authored by someone else, you can ask them to send a PDF file with the security settings disabled or ask them to redact the file.

You can also follow the guide provided in the previous section to redact a signed PDF. Learn more about signed documents in Adobe by reading our blog here.

2.Pop-up box for confirming redaction is blank:

When going through the redaction process mentioned in my guide above, you could encounter a problem where the pop-box that comes up after you click “Apply” appears blank and eventually crashes the Adobe program.


You can end the program instance by opening the task manager (Ctrl+Alt+Del), but the problem might arise even after a restart.


  • If the blank pop-up shows for a particular file, the PDF has security settings enabled to prevent redactions and secure the document. Read the steps in the previous section and view the security settings for your PDF file.
  • If you’re facing this problem on multiple files, you must change the application’s preference settings.

Click on Edit > Preferences > Security (Enhanced) and disable the “Protected Mode at Startup,” “Protected View,” and “Enhanced Security” options. Click “Ok” to finalize and save your settings and restart Adobe Acrobat Pro.

  • For users who still see the same problem, an alternative method to fix the blank pop-up window needs a bit of coding to fix temporarily:

1.Add JavaScript to the side panel.

2.Click “Redact” and select all the content you want to be redacted.

3.Open JavaScript and click on “Debugger” from the top menu.

4.Paste the following code in the bottom box :this.applyRedactions(); 

5.Click Ctrl+Enter after pasting the above line of code.

Fixing this issue could create a new one where you see a blank window while trying to save the document. Download the PDF file by clicking “Print” and setting the destination as “Save as PDF.”

3. Redactions appearing incorrectly on multiple pages:

Users redacting a page on Adobe Acrobat Pro can find that the subsequent pages have black-out boxes in the same place as the page they first redacted, even if they did not select the particular content to be redacted.


  • You can repair Adobe Acrobat Pro by navigating to the Help menu > Repair Installation and rebooting your computer. To download the latest version of Adobe, go to Help > Check for updates and install the newest version. 
  • Resetting preferences to default can help fix the problem:

1.Close Adobe Acrobat.

2.Open Windows Explorer and locate the Preferences folder (C:\Users\[username]\AppData\Roaming\Adobe\Acrobat\[version] )

3.Move the Preferences folder to a different location. 

4.Restart Adobe Acrobat Pro. 

  • If the above methods did not help, the problem lies with the “Enhance” and “Scan & OCR” features. Instead of using these options, select the “Searchable Image (Exact)” setting for text recognition. Additionally, convert the PDF into a PDF/A-b format for best results. 
  • Alternatively, the issue could lie in using background page elements like images for the headers, footers, or the entire page. Adobe thinks the redaction must apply to these elements if you mark those places for redaction.

To circumvent the issue, use a document version without background elements to add redactions and reapply the elements after it.

4. Adobe Acrobat does not redact text in active form fields


You cannot redact the text without removing the active form fields in your PDF files. You can redact the file freely once the active form fields are gone. 

Remember that Adobe Acrobat Pro only allows redactions for PDF files, not scanned PDFs. Convert the scanned PDF document into a PDF file before redacting them.

5. Comments pane of the document shows the redacted information


Before you start redacting the PDF file, make sure all the annotations for the file are removed to fix this issue. 

6. The redaction process takes hours to complete

Some users have reported that redacting larger documents takes hours to process and finish. 


Installing the latest version of Adobe Acrobat Pro has proven to solve the issue. You can choose to repair the installation or download the latest version of Adobe by navigating to the Help menu > Repair Installation or Help > Check for updates. 

Downsides of Using Adobe Acrobat Pro

Apart from the problems with Adobe’s redaction tool, there are several drawbacks associated with using Adobe Acrobat Pro that you need to consider, which might answer “Why is Adobe Redact not working??” even after implementing the solutions mentioned above:

  • Adobe Acrobat Pro relies on manual redactions, forcing your team to invest time and resources to scan and redact complex documents when they could have focused on other pertinent tasks to drive revenue.
  • Adobe can be costly for individuals and smaller organizations who do not need to redact documents as frequently as larger organizations.
  • Users with limited technical knowledge can face a steep learning curve when navigating Adobe Acrobat’s interface to utilize the redaction features effectively, for example, multiple code sets or “Repeat Mark Across Pages.”
  • Inconsistent redaction markings across multiple pages is a problem several users still face, despite implementing the solutions mentioned above and upgrading to the latest version. Adobe has yet to release an update that fixes the issue permanently.
  • The solution for blank pop-up boxes is only a temporary fix, and Adobe hasn’t released an update to fix it yet. 
  • Document scrubbing features like removing metadata and hidden elements are optional and appear as a check box. Forgetting to enable them can make your PDF files vulnerable to hackers to recover redacted data and compromise privacy.

If you’re still wondering, “Why is my Adobe Redact not working??”, chances are it is because of the problems listed in our article. The workarounds for these issues are complicated and mainly consist of temporary fixes that can be impossible to implement if they release a new update.

Wouldn’t you prefer a hassle-free redaction tool that automatically scans and consistently removes sensitive data from your files while scrubbing hidden document elements to safeguard your privacy?

If you’re looking for a tool like that, look no further than Redactable as your ultimate solution.

Redactable: The Perfect Alternative for the Adobe Redact Tool

Redactable is a cloud-based redaction tool that relies on AI and Natural Language Processing (NLP) algorithms to automatically detect and redact classified data within minutes to safeguard your privacy. 

Redactable uses NLP and OCR to redact every instance of sensitive information in individual sentences to vast text sections. The “Search Text” option allows you to look for specific keywords and phrases, while “Patterns” redacts the same data type throughout the file.

Our Redaction Wizard feature automatically scans your document to detect and redact classified data without manual input. If you want to make manual redactions, you can choose the “Manual” option and use the One-Click Redaction feature for hassle-free redactions.

Alongside removing every trace of sensitive data, including texts, images, and videos permanently, Redactable scrubs hidden document elements like metadata and digital signatures so hackers cannot recover the redacted information or identify the individual redactors. 

Redactable Workflow lets you set up task hierarchies and collaborative redaction projects on our browser platform, where you can add collaborators to work on large, complex projects and make simultaneous redactions to cut down on time spent redacting. 

Redactable offers integrations to Google Drive, OneDrive, Dropbox, and Box, so you don’t have to navigate various platforms and interfaces to import and export your files. We support file formats such as Microsoft PowerPoint, Word, Excel, PDFs, HTML, and XML. 

Redactable complies with GDPR and HIPAA guidelines and has a transparent Privacy Policy. Redactable is intuitive and straightforward to use. You can redact your documents on our platform by following this 5-step process:

1.Open Redactable on your browser.

2.Upload the document you want to redact.

3.Select the content you want to be redacted (unless you’re using our Redaction Wizard!)

4.Click “Finalize Redaction.”

5.Download the newly redacted file.


Redactable has a transparent pricing plan and a free trial, so you can try our features risk-free before subscribing to our premium plans.


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Pro Plus

  • $89/month.
  • Redact 150 documents per month 
  • No page volume cap
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  • Get a Quote
  • Unlimited Redactions
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Redacting confidential data from publicly available documents is a crucial step for businesses that do not want to be a target for data breaches or legal repercussions. 

Adobe Acrobat Pro is a popular PDF management software for users who want to create, redact, and edit PDFs on a centralized platform. However, we have witnessed several problems you could face while using their services.

The solutions to these problems could be a simple change in settings or multiple complex procedures to implement a temporary fix. Worse yet, some issues still need an official fix for it. With the drawbacks of Adobe, you can tell why using their platform brings a host of problems.

Stop worrying about “Why is Adobe Redact not working??” and search the internet for answers when you can trust Redactable to consistently make error-free redactions for sensitive information in company files. 

Try our features risk-free and see how Redactable can help revolutionize your redaction processes using AI-powered features to safeguard your privacy today!

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