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How to Redact a Signed Document in Adobe: New Ways to Redact Documents Safely

How to Redact a Signed Document in Adobe

Companies worldwide are pushing towards digitizing their businesses to grow and expand their market presence. Data regarding intellectual property, marketing strategies, revenue streams, employee records, etc., are crucial to your company. 

To ensure your sensitive data stays hidden from unauthorized viewers as you share business-related documents, you must ensure your files are correctly redacted to hide classified information. 

However, you might have to redact documents signed and authored by others. So how do you edit such files without necessary editing permissions?

Learn how to redact a signed document in Adobe and the best redaction tool to censor confidential data to protect your revenue and reputation consistently.   

How do you Redact Documents in Adobe Acrobat Pro?

When you’re the only author or signer, redacting documents in Adobe Acrobat is relatively straightforward. You can check the security settings by navigating to Files > Properties > Security. To start editing, you can clear your signature from the document and redact it freely.

Adobe allows you to lock your document after signing when you’re the last person to edit and sign. After clicking “Lock document after signing,” it becomes read-only and does not allow further changes. 

Before you take this step, here is how to a signed document in Adobe Acrobat and remove confidential information:

  1. Launch Adobe Acrobat and open your document
  2. Click on “Tools” from the top menu
  1. Click on “Redact”
  1. Double-click a specific word or image, or drag your cursor across the selected line
  2. Click “Apply,” or save the document and choose “Apply & Save”
  3. You can toggle “Sanitize and Remove Hidden Information” in the “Apply Redactions” box to remove metadata, bookmarks, hidden text, etc.
  1. Click “Save As” to finalize redactions and save it in your desired location with a different name

Navigate to Tools > Redact > Edit > Find Text & Redact to search and remove specific words. Here you can choose “Single Word or Phrase,” “Multiple Words or Phrase” or select “Patterns'' (addresses, social security numbers, credit card numbers, etc.). 

Customizing Redaction Markings 

Adobe puts a thin red outline around images and texts marked for redactions before it puts black boxes in their place. You can choose to personalize the default appearance of redaction marks. 

  1. Open Adobe Acrobat and click on Tools > Redact
  2. Click “Properties” in the Redact toolkit
  1.  You can choose from overlay color and opacity, border thickness, etc., in the “Appearance” tab

Adobe gives you a variety of options to choose from when customizing redaction markings:

  • Redacted Area Fill Color lets you select a color from the given palette for the boxes that replace redacted material. You can also choose “No Color” if you want the redacted area to remain blank.
  • Use Overlay Text is an option to select custom text or redaction codes where you can also choose font, size, and text alignment. 
  • Custom text replaces the redacted area with what you choose to type there.
  • Redaction code allows you to choose from pre-existing codes or choose “Edit Code” to add a new code set. 
  • Redaction Mark Appearance lets you select “Outline Color” or “Fill Color” to replace the redacted text or image with the chosen color and adjust the opacity. Alternatively, “No Color” leaves the area blank.

How to Redact Signed Documents as a Third-Party

Documents are certified and signed to signify that they are authentic. PDFs signed using digital IDs, or certificates are locked and cannot be edited by anyone except for the author for legal and commercial purposes. Adobe Sign is a popular tool used for signing and certifying documents. 

You might encounter an error message like the one below if you try to edit signed documents:

In this scenario, you can ask the original signatory to remove their signatures or edit the source document. If invalidating a digital signature is not a concern, you can use third-party software to remove encryption and redact with tools such as Redactable

Alternatively, here is how to redact a signed document in Adobe Acrobat Pro: 

  • Open the document you want to redact on Adobe Sign
  • Select “Download PDF” 
  • Open the downloaded PDF 
  • Right-click and select “Print”
  • Select “Save as PDF” for Destination
  • Save the file and open it in Adobe Sign 
  • Drag and drop the new file 
  • Click on “Preview & Add Signature Fields”
  • Make necessary redactions
  • Click “Send”  

While the above method does work, it is only viable for minor corrections. Large documents might force you to return to your records or contact original authors for editing permissions. For quick redaction to make up for lost time and resources, you could use redaction software.

Downsides of using Adobe to Redact Signed Documents

While we have seen the process of redacting a signed document in Adobe Acrobat Pro, there are a few drawbacks that you would want to consider before using Adobe to redact your signed documents:

  • Unless you can find the original author or signer, you must navigate through third-party software to break encryption which can be cumbersome or difficult for users with low technical expertise.
  • The redaction process in Adobe Acrobat Pro is manual, which means it takes up more of your time and increases the chances of errors or missed redactions.
  • Adobe’s pricing can be too high for individuals or smaller organizations who do not need to redact as frequently.
  • Users may struggle to navigate Adobe’s interface to find essential features such as multiple code sets or “Repeat Mark Across Pages.” New users would need more time to get accustomed to Adobe’s UI.
  • Document scrubbing features like removing metadata and hidden document elements are optional, which can expose confidential data to malicious hackers who can recover redacted data.

What is Redaction Software? 

Redaction software allows you to edit and redact electronic documents to reliably hide sensitive data before sharing it with third-party viewers. Redaction tools enable you to monitor your document’s information to safeguard privacy and maintain compliance.

Censoring or omitting information considered to be sensitive that you do not want to share amongst other people is critical to proper redaction. Social security numbers, credit card numbers, tax records, business analytics, address, etc., are some examples of confidential data.

Malicious third parties and cyber criminals target such information to commit fraud and identity theft through planned data breaches. The threat of ruined finances and reputation means you must be cautious of the information you leave in your documents.

While you can put black-out text boxes on words or take measures such as disabling printing and copying, password protection, and encrypting PDFs, you are still at risk of snoopers who can uncover obfuscated material. 

Redaction tools like Redactable can automatically detect sensitive data and scrub the document so that no confidential information or hidden elements remain. Automated redaction software helps you bypass the manual effort and removes the chances of errors in redacting documents. 

Large and complex documents could be scanned and redacted in minutes, which would have taken significantly more time and resources if a team of several employees had done it.

A robust redaction software safeguards your organization from facing legal repercussions, data breaches, and cyber-attacks

Redactable: The Ultimate Redaction Tool

Redactable is a cloud-based redaction tool that uses powerful AI and ML algorithms that allow you to safeguard your privacy and hide classified information on documents effortlessly. 

Redactable uses Natural Language Processing algorithms and Optical Character Recognition (OCR) to automatically detect and redact data using “Patterns,” specific keywords, or phrases. Redactable supports formats such as PDFs, XML, Excel, PowerPoint, etc.

With our Redaction Wizard, you can seamlessly redact multiple pages simultaneously or use the “Manual” option to go through your files and redact using our hassle-free One-Click Redaction feature.

You can redact text, images, videos, and various document elements such as metadata so that snoopers cannot identify redactors or recover the data you have redacted. We can help make effective redactions after you have learned how to redact a signed document in Adobe.

Redactable supports collaborative projects, so you and your team can quickly take on more complex documents. You can set up a task hierarchy and manage workflows directly on our platform without navigating different interfaces.

We offer third-party integrations to Google Drive, Dropbox, and Box so that you can import and export your files easily. Redactable complies with GDPR and HIPAA guidelines and has a transparent Privacy Policy

Redactable is incredibly simple to use. Here is a step-by-step guide to show you how you can start redacting your files in minutes:

  • Upload the document you want to redact
  • Select the content you want to redact (only if you aren’t using our Redaction Wizard!)
  • Click “Finalize Redaction”
  • Download your newly redacted file


You can choose from one of our 3 pricing plans depending on your business requirements. We offer annual plans for the Pro ($375/year) and Pro Plus ($854/year) pricing plans. If you want to discover how Redactable helps your business, you can try our features with a free trial.



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The rapidly evolving digital age means your company has to cut ahead of your competitors and reach your customers with solutions tailored to them. Achieving your goal requires detailed insights and careful planning using crucial data.

Your data must be kept securely and cannot be released to unauthorized viewers as it could ruin your revenue and customer trust, cutting your ROI. However, cyber attackers target confidential information to commit various crimes. 

To ensure your sensitive data stays hidden, you need proper redaction practices on every document so you do not accidentally leak information. Redaction software can help you make quick redactions that are free of errors and guarantee the removal of all confidential data.

Choose Redactable for a seamless redaction experience with its powerful AI technology, intuitive features, and greater accessibility. Knowing how to redact a signed document in Adobe is only half the work. Combine your knowledge with effective redactions provided by our service. 

Try out our features risk-free with a free trial and share your documents among important clientele without the anxiety of data breaches.

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