What Is Redax?

Redax® is an Adobe® Acrobat® plug-in that automates the time-consuming task of searching for and deleting (redacting) sensitive or private information from PDF documents. You can use Redax together with Adobe Acrobat to redact text, images, and entire pages from PDF documents. You can also integrate Redax workstations with Redax Enterprise Server for a complete client-server PDF redaction solution.

How Redax Can Be Used

Redax has a wide range of uses:

  • Government agencies can redact PDF documents in accordance with FOIA (the Freedom of Information Act) and the Privacy Act.
  • Pharmaceutical companies can redact PDF documents for submission of a preliminary NDA (New Drug Application) or IND (Investigational New Drug) application.
  • Manufacturing and technology companies can protect proprietary information when filing for patents or distributing materials to contractors.
  • Legal professionals can redact private information from public documents before submitting briefs to US courts or agencies that accept electronic filings.

What Redax Offers

Redax offers a host of features to make redacting PDF documents easy.

Markup features

You can mark up, or select, areas for redaction by:

  • Drawing Redax boxes around text and images (bitmap and vector)
  • Placing Full-Page tags on entire pages and page ranges
  • Automatically finding all text that:
    • Is bracketed
    • Matches words and phrases in a redaction list file you create
    • Matches patterns, including Social Security numbers, telephone numbers, postal codes, email addresses, etc.
    • Matches regular expressions you provide
  • Using Acrobat’s text selection tool, highlighting tools (Highlight, Cross Out/Strikethrough and Underline) or Acrobat redaction markup
  • Applying a template to documents where the information to be redacted is always in the same location

Redaction features

When you redact a document, you can:

  • Overlay redacted text and images with rectangles in a color and transparency level of your choice
  • Condense redacted page ranges into a single blank page, or leave all of the redacted blank pages in the document
  • Use exemption codes or redact without them
  • Redact selected text or images based on a category

Customization features

You can customize Redax to suit your requirements by:

  • Editing the US FOIA and US Privacy exemption code palettes supplied with Redax or creating your own custom palettes
  • Creating redaction list files to automate text markup
  • Creating templates to automate markup of documents where the information to be redacted is always in the same location
  • Setting preferences for Redax boxes and Full-Page tags, which are used to markup information for redaction
  • Setting preferences to define the appearance of redacted areas
  • Setting preferences for a variety of processing options, such as whether to keep bookmarks from the original file in the redacted document

Quality control features

To ensure the quality of redacted documents, you can:

  • Review any preliminary Acrobat Highlights, Underlines or Cross Outs (also called Strikethroughs) or Acrobat redaction markup by:
    • Viewing them in the Acrobat Comments List
    • Printing them with the document
  • Review the Redax boxes and Full-Page tags in your document by:
    • Viewing them with Redax, Acrobat or Acrobat Reader
    • Printing them with the document
    • Generating a Redax report detailing the properties of the Redax boxes in the document
    • Creating text versions of the redacted document and original document and comparing them
    • Removing all annotations from the redacted document, including Redax boxes, to make sure no sensitive information remains

Workgroup features

Redax offers several features to help manage redaction projects with multiple authors:

  • Color-coding of Redax boxes
  • Assigning authors’ names to Redax boxes
  • Creating notes for Redax boxes
  • Marking documents for redaction without Redax using Acrobat’s highlighting tools (Highlight, Cross Out/Strikethrough and Underline)
  • Redax boxes may be viewed in Acrobat and Acrobat Reader without Redax installed

Typical Redax Workflow

A typical redaction project involves these steps:

  1. Set up Redax. Every redaction project has its own unique requirements. When you set up Redax, you customize it for the current project by defining preferences. You can also create or customize exemption code palettes, if you use them, and create redaction list files to automate the markup of text.
  2. Evaluate documents. All PDF documents are different. Some contain only text. Others may contain images, which can be in different formats. And if a document was created by scanning, some of the text may have been converted to an image. Because these and other considerations affect the redaction process, you should evaluate each document before marking it up and redacting it.
  3. Mark up document. To let Redax know which information in the document you want to redact, you mark it, usually with a special annotation called a Redax box.
    Redax offers a number of markup methods. Some are best suited for marking up specific images, passages of text or pages, while others are ideal for automating the markup of large quantities of repeating text, patterns (for example, Social Security numbers) or information that is always in the same location on the page.
  4. Review markup. After you mark up a document, you should check it for accuracy.
  5. Redact document. When your marked up document has been checked for accuracy, it is ready to be redacted.
  6. Review redaction. After you redact a document, you should check it to make sure that everything was redacted as you intended.
  7. Prepare document for distribution. Remove Redax boxes and consider removing other annotations before delivery.

Sample Files

Redax is supplied with several sample files, including:

  • sample_base.pdf is a document you can use for practice before you mark up and redact your own documents. It contains text, a bitmap graphic and multiple vector graphics.
  • sample_find_list.txt is a sample redaction list file. A redaction list file is used to automate the text markup process.
  • sample_regex_list.txt is a sample regular expression file. This file is set up to search for 4-digit years between 1900-2049.

These files are in the samples subdirectory where you installed Redax. The default location for the sample files is:


Conventions Used In This Manual

Instructions for selecting menu items follow this convention:

Select Redax > Reports > Redax Report to File…

The above instruction means:

Select the Redax menu, then select Reports from the Redax menu, and finally select Redax Report from the Reports submenu.

Italics are used to represent variables for which you must substitute a value. For example, nnn-nn-nnnn might be used to represent a Social Security Number. Italics are also used in the text for emphasis.

In This Guide

The remainder of this manual contains the following chapters:

For More Information

Please refer to the Redax Getting Started and release notes for more information. These documents are located in the default installation directory which can be found at:


Redax is a registered trademark of Appligent Inc.