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3 Free PDF Redaction Tools for your needs


Every day, we are faced with circumstances that require sharing of documents bearing sensitive information. Free Data Redaction Software is the first thing that comes into your mind if you have just a single document to redact.

You are possibly reading this because you have a PDF document that you would like to share but has information you can't afford to unleash to the recipient. You’re in the right place.

Choosing a redaction tool can be frustrating, especially when you are faced with the urgency of sharing that document.  Whether it's a one page document or a bunch of pages to redact, there is a solution that matches your need as discussed here.

How to Redact a PDF for free?

Of course! You can redact a PDF for free. There is a time I spend a whole day searching for a redaction solution for my one page document that I was supposed to share with my employer.

After hours of searching, I gave up and had to request for more time to get the document ready. Now imagining a situation that requires urgent attention reminds me how important it is to know your go redaction tool for every need.

In this article, we will look at the free pdf redaction tools that will meet every of your redaction needs with the benefits and limitations of every tool.

Adobe Redaction Tool

Adobe acrobat has a redaction tool as one of the document management features in the Edit menu. The redaction tool comes with the Adobe Acrobat DC Pro version. Although Adobe Acrobat DC Pro requires a Subscription, you can still redact for free.

How can I redact with Adobe for free?

Adobe Acrobat DC Pro has a Trial Version that you can download and use at no cost. You can subscribe to your Pro version and start your free trial.

To avoid incurring costs, you will need to cancel the subscription within the 7 days of free trial according to Adobe’s Cancellation Terms.

If you have been using Adobe Acrobat Reader to open your PDF files, then redacting with Adobe is easier than you thought. If not, then your first step will be to Download and Install  the Adobe Acrobat DC Pro on your PC.

Ready to start the redaction? I guess you already have your PDF document open in the Adobe Acrobat DC Pro. So, let’s go!

  • You can see the Tools tab on the toolbar, right? From the pop-up menu that appears after clicking the Tools button, choose Redact.
  • The Redact button will allow you to select the text or image that you want to remove. Items you select for redaction will be marked by a red border.
  • After marking all the items to remove, just hit the Apply button to remove selected items.
  • If you are afraid your document might have hidden information like metadata, then you can toggle on the Sanitize and Remove hidden information button before saving the document.

There you have your redacted document!

Did that work for you? I guess yes. If not, no worries. We haven’t run out of options. But before looking at the other option, let’s look at the limitations of Adobe Acrobat redaction tool.

What are the limitations of Adobe Redaction Tool?

If you were unable to achieve your redaction goal with Adobe, then that could be because of one of the following reasons

  • Adobe acrobat is dependent on the hardware capabilities of the host device such as storage space. If your device is running low on storage, then you may experience difficulties installing the application.
  • You only have a limited number of pages to redact. If you have high-volume documents and many documents to redact, then this isn’t the option for you.
  • You may want to collaborate with your team to save on time if you have a dozen documents to redact. Adobe doesn't support that.

So, what next? Let’s look at another 3 free pdf redaction tools! This time, we will overcome the challenge of storage space. I mean, there is software that relies on the internet, so you don’t have to download an app and install it for redaction.

1. PDFzorro

PDFzorro is a web-based online redaction tool that allows you to upload your document for redaction. Since redaction happens in the cloud, PDFzorro allows you to delete your document from the cloud, ensuring security of the document.

PDFzorro makes it easier to remove sensitive information from your PDF documents as no installation of software is required. Only your document and the internet are required, then you can access it from any browser.

How do you Redact in PDFzorro?

To get started with your redacted, access PDFzorro's website on your browser. I’m sure you can see the Upload button on the page already.

  • Clicking the Upload button will allow you to upload your PDF document for redaction. 
  • Once uploaded, there is a button labelled Rect. Click it to begin your redaction. You will be able to black out sensitive information by hovering on the sensitive data.
  • Once you're done, hit the Finish/Download button to save the document in your desired destination.

Just like Adobe Acrobat, PDFzorro has its limitations. We have solved the challenge of storage space and the installation of the redaction tool. However, we have not solved the challenge of multiple redactions for high-volume documents.


  • PDFzorro is not ideal for you if you have many pages to redact.
  • If you have a bunch of documents to redact, again, PDFzorro isn’t your choice.

In our next redaction tool, we're solving the challenge of multiple redactions. This is for you if you have a bunch of documents to redact. You will need to install an application though.

2. Foxit

Foxit Smart Redact is a free PDF redaction tool that is based on Artificial Intelligence technology to help you find the sensitive information in your document. If you are unsure of the sensitive information in your document, then this is your tool.

The tool identifies all the sensitive information on a single click so you don’t have to go page-by-page searching for it. In addition, the Batch Redact function in the tool allows you to redact multiple documents at the same time.

How do you redact in Foxit?

Foxit Smart Redact is an optional plug-in for Foxit Reader so, if you already have Foxit Reader, then you are only a click away from starting redaction. However, you will need to buy the add-on.

Foxit Smart Redact offers you an opportunity to redact for free using the Free Trial.

  • Have you installed the Smart Redact already? If yes, then you can open your pdf file with the program.
  • Opening your document with Foxit Smart Redact will reveal a Protect tab. Click on it, then the Smart Redact option. 
  • You will be required to sign into your account with the details you used to register for the Foxit Smart Redact free trial. 
  • Once you log in, you will be able to see the Smart Redact view with a list of redaction types. 
  • Check the boxes of the profiles to use. There are four default profiles to choose from. 
  • By clicking scan, Smart Redact will detect all your sensitive information. You can choose to remove all identified items at once or choose the ones to remove manually.
  • Clicking Apply removes the identified sensitive data from the document.


  • Assuming your redaction need was urgent, then Foxit Smart Redact may take some more time to register an account and install the tool. The redaction process will be faster, though.
  • Storage space may also be a limitation especially if you are using a device with limited unused storage.

One last free redaction tool!

If the three free redaction tools discussed so far were not helpful, then this last tool will be your solution.

3. Redactable

Redactable is an auto-redaction software that leverages the advantages of all existing data redaction tools and bridges the gaps in existence within the tools to provide easy, convenient and trusted redaction services.

Redactable is cloud-based, hence doesn’t require any installation to get started with your redaction process. What’s even more fascinating, redactable doesn’t require your credit card to Start Your Free Trial.

How do you Redact with Redactable?

You are just four steps away from a redacted document. Four easy steps!

  • Upload your PDF document
  • Let the wizard identify the sensitive information in your document
  • Remove the identified information
  • Download your document

Wasn’t that magical?

What makes Redactable Unique?

Redactable has really unique features that makes it the first solution to cross your mind every time you think of redaction.

  • Auto-redaction

Redactable utilizes the in-built AI features to identify and redact your sensitive information in one click.

The Natural Language Processing/Machine Learning technology used by Redactable is able to draw patterns of data groups. 

For instance, Personally Identifiable Information such as Credit card details, email address and PIN certificates can be matched with the name pattern.

  • Ease of use

Redactable’s interface is designed for use even by the illiterate. You can easily navigate the system and get your document done at the count of seconds. In addition, the software guides you through the redaction process, step by step.

  • Collaboration

It doesn’t matter the number of documents to redact. If you need the help of your teammates, then you can collaborate in the cloud.

  • Permeance

Redactable removes your sensitive data permanently. You know what that means? Hackers have no way to trace your sensitive information once redacted.

  • Security

Your document is protected from hackers and from loss of information too. Redactable provides redaction certificates with timestamps from all redaction activities. That makes it easy to account.

  • Convenience

Imagine redacting ten pages of a document in 2.5 minutes. That’s exactly what redactable does on average.

  • Unlimited 

Your are limitless with redactable. Tons of pages to redact? Team members required? Dozens of documents to redact? Redactable takes care of all of that.

  • Dedication

Unlike other redaction tools, redactable is dedicated to securing your data within your convenience. It’s neither a plug-in nor an add-on.

  • Trust

Companies like Chisos and others across the globe have found Redactable trustworthy. It’s the Software that Really Works.

Redactable Pro Tip

Do you know it is possible to access the Redactable API and integrate it with your document management systems? This is especially for organizations that handle sensitive information on a daily basis like healthcare providers.

To explore more features available in the pro version of redactable, you can check out Redactable’s Pricing Plans.

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