How to Redact in Word: A Step-by-Step Guide for Privacy

Redacting information in Word is a necessary skill when you want to keep certain text private. By following a few simple steps, you can easily hide sensitive data from your document. Whether it’s personal information, confidential data, or simply text you want to keep private, redacting in Word is an efficient way to protect it.

Step by Step Tutorial: How to Redact in Word

Before we dive into the steps, it’s important to note that redacting text in Word means you’re permanently removing or hiding it. This ensures that the information cannot be retrieved or seen by anyone else.

Step 1: Highlight the Text to Redact

Select the text that you want to hide or remove from your document.

Highlighting the text you want to redact is the first step in the redaction process. It’s important to carefully select only the text that needs to be hidden to avoid any accidental redaction of necessary information.

Step 2: Change the Text Color to Match the Background

Change the font color of the selected text to match the background color of the document, usually white.

By changing the text color to match the background, the text becomes invisible. While this doesn’t delete the text, it does make it appear as if it’s not there, effectively ‘hiding’ the information.

Step 3: Use the Blackout Feature (Optional)

If your version of Word has a blackout feature, use it to draw over the text, making it unreadable.

The blackout feature is a more secure way of redacting text as it ensures that the information is not only hidden but also can’t be highlighted and read. This step is optional but recommended for added security.

Step 4: Save the Document as a PDF

Once the text is redacted, save the document as a PDF to prevent any further editing of the hidden text.

Saving the document as a PDF is crucial after redacting information. It finalizes the redaction process and ensures that the hidden text cannot be revealed or edited, maintaining the confidentiality of the information.

After completing these steps, the redacted text will be hidden or permanently removed, ensuring that sensitive information is kept private. It’s important to double-check the document to make sure all necessary text has been redacted before sharing or distributing the document.

Tips for Redacting in Word

  • Always make a copy of the original document before redacting, in case you need to reference the unredacted information later.
  • Use the ‘Find’ feature to locate all instances of the text you want to redact to ensure you don’t miss anything.
  • Consider using a redaction tool or add-in for Word that can provide a more secure and thorough redaction process.
  • If you’re redacting a large amount of text, consider using the ‘Highlight’ feature first to mark all the text to be redacted and then change the text color all at once.
  • After redacting, review the document carefully to ensure no sensitive information is visible or retrievable.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is redaction?

Redaction is the process of hiding or removing sensitive or confidential information from a document.

Can redacted text in Word be recovered?

If you only change the text color to match the background, there is a possibility that the text can be recovered. However, using the blackout feature or saving as a PDF helps ensure the text is not recoverable.

Is there a difference between deleting and redacting text?

Yes, deleting text removes it completely, while redacting text makes it unreadable or hidden without necessarily removing it from the document.

Can I un-redact text after saving the document as a PDF?

Generally, once a document is saved as a PDF after redaction, the redacted information cannot be undone or retrieved.

Are there any risks associated with redacting in Word?

If the redaction is not done properly, there is a risk that the sensitive information could still be accessible. It’s important to follow the steps carefully and double-check the document after redacting.


  1. Highlight the text to redact.
  2. Change the text color to match the background.
  3. Use the blackout feature (optional).
  4. Save the document as a PDF.


Redacting text in Word is a powerful way to protect sensitive information from being disclosed. Whether you’re working with legal documents, personal information, or confidential business data, knowing how to redact properly is essential. Remember to always make a copy of the original document, use the blackout feature for added security, and save the final redacted document as a PDF to prevent any unintentional exposure of redacted content. With the help of this guide, you should now be able to confidently and securely redact in Word. If you’re interested in learning more about document security or other Word features, there are plenty of resources available online to further your knowledge. Happy redacting!

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