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Free PDF Redaction Tools, their Benefits and Why they aren't enough

free PDF redaction tools

Are you concerned about the security of your sensitive information? If so, you may be interested in using PDF redaction tools. These tools can help you remove or hide confidential information from your PDF files so that you can share them without worry.

There are several free PDF redaction tools available for you to use. Let us introduce you to some available in the market today.

We’ll explain the benefits of using these tools and the potential risks you should know when relying on free software.

So, whether you’re a business owner, a student, or someone who values privacy, read on to learn about these free PDF redaction tools.

What is Redaction?

When and Why You Should Create a Redaction Log

Redaction is hiding or removing sensitive or confidential information from a document before it is released/shared. This is done to protect the privacy and security of individuals and organizations and to prevent the unauthorized disclosure of PII.

If you handle a pdf document that contains sensitive information, it’s essential to understand what types of information should be redacted. Here are some examples:

  • Social Security numbers
  • Credit card numbers
  • Bank account numbers
  • Legal or financial information
  • Personal addresses or phone numbers
  • Classified or sensitive government information

Redaction can be done manually by blacking out or obscuring sensitive information with a marker or pen. But this method might be time-consuming and can leave room for error.

Fortunately, free PDF redaction tools are available that make the process quick and easy. These tools allow you to digitally redact information from PDF files, saving you time and ensuring accuracy.

Risks of Not Redacting PII

Prevention And Cure: How To Steer Clear Of Cybercrime
  • Personally identifiable information (PII) left unredacted in documents can lead to identity theft.
  • Failure to redact sensitive content such as bank account numbers or social security numbers can lead to financial loss.
  • Not redacting PII can cause reputational damage to individuals and organizations.
  • Leaving PII unredacted can result in non-compliance with privacy regulations such as GDPR or CCPA, resulting in legal penalties and fines.
  • Unredacted PII can be used for fraudulent activities like phishing or social engineering attacks.

5 Free PDF Redaction Tools

When looking for a free way to redact sensitive data from your PDF files, many online tools are available. They allow you to quickly and easily hide or remove sensitive information from your PDFs without expensive software.

Here are some free online PDF redaction tools for you to consider:

  1. PDF Buddy

PDF Buddy is an online PDF editor that allows you to edit, sign, and collaborate on PDF files. PDF Buddy offers a redaction tool enabling you to hide or remove sensitive information from your PDF files easily. This tool is handy if you need to protect your PII.

PDF Buddy also allows you to share your edited PDFs with others, making it an excellent tool for team collaboration.


  • Form Filling
  • Online signatures
  • Cloud storage integration
  • Editing software
  1. SmallPDF

SmallPDF is an online platform that offers a variety of tools for working with PDF files. It’s a user-friendly platform that allows you to quickly and easily edit, convert, compress, and merge PDFs. You can also e-sign documents and protect your files with password encryption.

SmallPDF was designed, so you don’t need any technical skills to use it. The platform is entirely web-based, so you have access to it from any device with an internet connection.

It is also highly secure, with all file transfers and storage being encrypted with SSL.


  • PDF Editing
  • PDF Conversion
  • Digital signature
  • Redact PDF Online
  1. PDFescape

PDFescape is a free online PDF editor that allows you to edit and annotate any PDF file without downloading any software.

It’s a user-friendly platform for basic PDF editing tasks, such as adding text and images, highlighting and annotating text, and filling out forms.

PDFescape is web-based so you can access it from any device with an internet connection. It also has a paid version with additional features.


  • Editing
  • Annotate PDF Documents
  • PDF Redaction Tool
  • Fill forms
  1. PDFzorro

PDFzorro is an online PDF editor allowing you to edit and sign PDF documents without downloading software.

Its user-friendly interface makes it an excellent choice for basic PDF editing tasks. PDFzorro is web-based so you can access it from any device with an internet connection.

PDFzorro is highly secure, with all file transfers and storage being encrypted with SSL, and there is a paid version with additional features.


  • Redact PDF Files
  • Split PDF file
  • Change paper format.
  • Change PDF metadata.
  1. PDF Filler

PDF Filler is an excellent option if you need to perform basic redactions quickly and easily, as well as more complex tasks with its advanced features.

PDF Filler is an online PDF editor and form filler that allows you to edit and sign PDF documents without downloading software.

It’s a user-friendly platform for basic redaction processes and editing tasks. Like every other tool mentioned above, PDF Filler is web-based, so you can easily access it from any device with an internet connection.


  • PDF Converter
  • Print, Download, and Send
  • Erase, Redact, Draw
  • Encryption and Security

Advantages of Free PDF Tools

Free PDF redaction tools offer several advantages to both personal and professional users. Let us explore some of the key benefits of using free PDF redaction tools and why they might be the right choice for you.

  1. Cost-Effective

You probably guessed that. The primary advantage of using free redaction tools is that they are cost-effective. You can redact sensitive information from your PDF files without paying for expensive software.

  1. Convenience

Free tools are often web-based, which means you can access them from anywhere and any device with an internet connection. You don’t have to worry about downloading software or having enough space on your computer.

  1. User-friendly

Many PDF redaction tools, free and paid, are designed to be user-friendly, with simple interfaces and easy-to-use features. You don’t need any technical expertise or training to use them.

  1. Versatility

These tools often offer various features, allowing you to perform multiple redaction tasks, such as redacting text, images, or entire pages. This versatility makes them a great option for both personal and professional use.

  1. Compatibility

These tools are often compatible with different operating systems and web browsers, making them accessible to a broader range of users. You don’t have to worry about compatibility issues or switching between various tools when working on other devices.

Risks Involved with Free Redaction-

But all that glitter is not gold! Here are some of the risks involved with using free redaction tools-

  • Free redaction tools do not have the same security measures as paid tools, which can put your sensitive data at risk of being accessed by unauthorized users.
  • Some free services do not have advanced features that can effectively redact all instances of sensitive information, leaving some of it still visible in the document.
  • Free redaction tools have limited functionality compared to paid services, which limits your ability to perform more advanced tasks like OCR (optical character recognition) and batch processing.
  • There might be hidden costs, such as in-app purchases, limited usage, or ads that can be distracting or even harmful to your system.
  • Incompatibility with some types of PDFs or operating systems can cause errors or crashes when using them.

What are the Alternatives to Free Redaction?

If you want a more comprehensive and feature-rich PDF redaction tool, consider alternatives to free tools. Free tools may be sufficient for small-scale projects, but larger organizations or projects will benefit from the additional features and reliability of the paid ones. 

Ultimately, the decision of which tool to use depends on the specific needs of the user, but it's important to consider all options and weigh the benefits and risks before making a choice. You can think of Adobe Acrobat or Redactable, both well-known for PDF editing and management. 

They come with value for money and offer a wide range of advanced features, including robust redaction tools that can provide more precise and reliable results.

Adobe Acrobat is one paid software widely used for creating and editing PDFs. It offers advanced features like OCR (optical character recognition), adding multimedia elements, and a wide range of formatting options.

You can also redact PDFs in Acrobat Pro. It is effective in permanently removing sensitive information from PDF documents.

However, Adobe Acrobat also comes with limitations-

  • The software is expensive, which may not be feasible for individuals or small businesses on a budget.
  • Requires technical expertise to utilize its features thoroughly.
  • It is not available across different types of devices, which limits its accessibility for users.

Keeping these limitations in mind, we suggest Redactable- the all-in-one PDF redactor. Let us learn about it in detail-


Redactable is a reliable PDF redaction software that allows you to redact sensitive information from your PDF documents quickly. It leverages advanced AI/NLP algorithms to provide intelligent redaction capabilities.

With its powerful and user-friendly features, you can ensure the privacy and security of your PDFs while collaborating with colleagues on large redaction projects.

Its cloud-based platform makes it easy to access your documents from anywhere, and its built-in AI features can help you detect and redact confidential data quickly and efficiently.

Redactable’s Redaction Certificates feature also generates automatic certificates to track who was redacting and when giving you added peace of mind.

With Redactable, you can be confident that your sensitive data is secure and complies with privacy regulations. The uploaded files are automatically deleted from the servers once the redaction process is complete.

This ensures your sensitive information remains secure and is not vulnerable to potential data breaches.


Redactable is an excellent tool for anyone looking for a powerful and user-friendly PDF redaction tool.

  1. Fast Redaction

Redactable is designed for fast redaction. With its advanced algorithms, you can redact up to 10 pages in just 2.5 minutes. This is a significant improvement over other tools, making it ideal for larger projects.

  1. Redaction Wizard

Redactable offers a powerful redaction wizard that automates finding and redacting sensitive information. You can also choose to redact manually. 

The wizard can detect phone numbers, email addresses, social security numbers, and more, saving you time and reducing the risk of errors.

  1. Permeance

Unlike other redaction tools that only cover up sensitive information with black bars, Redactable’s redactions are permanent. 

Redactable obliterates the original content from the document and replaces it with a black box, making it impossible to recover the original text.

  1. Friendly UI

Redactable has a clean and user-friendly interface that makes it easy to focus on PDF documents. Its practical workspace lets you work without distractions, navigating through pages and completing redaction tasks efficiently and easily.

  1. Redaction Workflow

Redactable helps you stay organized by providing a comprehensive redaction workflow. You can manage tasks and set up a hierarchical review process, ensuring all team members are on the same page. 

Redactable makes it easy to collaborate with colleagues and complete your redaction projects on time.

Redactable Pricing

Start your Redactable journey for free; you don’t need to provide your credit card details. Here are the plans and features we offer-


$39/ month billed monthly OR $31/ month billed annually

Redact 40 documents/ month

AI-powered redaction features

No page volume cap

Pro Plus

$89/ month billed monthly OR $71/ month billed annually

Redact 150 documents/ month

AI-powered redaction features

No page volume cap


Get in touch

Redact unlimited documents

Deployed on your cloud

Access to our API


Free PDF redaction tools can be a lifesaver when protecting sensitive information in your documents. However, certain risks are involved in using these free tools, such as potential data breaches, lack of support, and limited features. 

It is essential to weigh the benefits and risks before choosing a free tool. If you want a reliable and secure PDF redaction tool, consider trying Redactable. With top-notch features, Redactable offers a comprehensive solution for all your redaction needs. 

Plus, you can rest assured that your files are kept secure and confidential. Try Redactable today and experience hassle-free PDF redaction!

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