How to black out text in a PDF file.

Learn how to quickly black out, or permanently remove, sensitive information from your PDF documents with this easy step-by-step guide.

A PDF is one of the most shareable types of documents online — it’s quick, secure, and easy to open and read. Sometimes, though, you have sensitive information within a document that you don’t want to share with everyone. In those instances, you can save yourself a total rewrite and quickly black out that existing text in just a few easy steps.

Black out sensitive information with the Redact tool.

There are many instances when you may want to black out, or redact, information in a PDF document. Perhaps a business file has confidential data that you aren’t yet ready to share with other team members. Or a document may have too much personal information, such as your email address, physical address, and phone number — or even your SSN and credit card information. With the redaction tool, you can black out any and all confidential information quickly and easily. Here’s how to black out text in a PDF:

  1. Open your PDF in Adobe’s Acrobat online services.
  2. Select Tools, then Redact.
  3. Select text. Either double-click to select the text or drag to select lines of text.
  4. Apply redaction. Once you’ve selected the text you want to remove, click Save to apply the changes and save the document. (Make sure you’ve already saved the original PDF in its unredacted form.)

If you have multiple paragraphs or large areas of information you want to redact, you can drag and select the text, right-click, and choose Redact. As you continue to work through your document, if you find information that you want to change instead of remove, you can simply edit the PDF.

If you have a multi-page document, you can save time by replacing every instance of certain words, phrases, or numbers with just a few clicks. To do this, navigate to Tools and select Redact > Redact Text & Images > Find Text & Redact. This makes it easy to identify and then black out that content throughout the document. You can also specify general patterns, such as phone, Social Security, or credit card numbers. The Redact tool will automatically search the entire document and black out every occurrence of the specified patterns.

Once you’re happy with your document, you’re ready to download a copy or share it with others.

Discover everything you can do with Acrobat online services to edit and safely share all of your important documents.