Whether you are distributing a document that contains pieces of confidential information or delivering on an electronic discovery request, you can use the new Microsoft Office Word 2003 Redaction Add-in to quickly, easily, and securely redact any content that you do not want to share.
You can use the tool to redact text without ever leaving Word. You can also generate a copy of the document containing your selected redactions while leaving the original document intact.
What can I redact in a document?
Using the Word 2003 Redaction Add-in, you can redact any text, including:
- Text in the body of a document
- Text inside tables
- Tables of contents, authorities, and figures
Note, however, that the current version of the add-in tool does not support the redaction of graphics (including text inside graphic objects, such as text boxes or frames).
How will redacted text appear?
When you redact text in a document, the redacted content appears as a solid black bar, which is shown as follows.
All redacted text beneath the black shading is converted to vertical lines (|||||||||), so redacted content cannot be retrieved by recipients regardless of how the document is viewed. In other words, even if the recipient opens the document in a text editor, such as Microsoft Notepad, the redacted content remains secure.
How do I redact text in a document?
Although you can work from any view when redacting text, it's recommended that you work in print layout view so that you can see the entire page — including headers, footers, and footnotes. (To switch to print layout view, on the View menu, click Print Layout.)
To redact text in a document
- Click a single word or select the line of text that you want to redact. Note that if you're selecting text in a table, you can select just the text itself or the entire cell, row, column, or table.
- On the Redaction toolbar, click Mark. (If you don't see the Redaction toolbar, point to Toolbars on the View menu, and then click Redaction.)
Note By default, text marked for redaction has text shading set to Gray-25%. If other text in your document also has Gray-25% text shading applied, that text will be redacted even if you don't use the Word 2003 Redaction Add-in to mark it. (Text shading is used as the redaction indicator if marks need to be removed by using a computer that does not have the add-in tool installed.) To ensure that only the redactions you want are made, use a different percentage of gray shading when applying shading as text formatting.
If you need to display text that you've marked for redaction, click Hide Marks on the Redaction toolbar. If you need to display the text shading again, click Show Marks.
- Repeat steps 1 and 2 for each section of text that you want to mark for redaction.
- When you finish selecting text for redaction, click Redact Document on the Redaction toolbar.
Depending on the size and complexity of your document, the Word 2003 Redaction Add-in can take anywhere from a few seconds to a few minutes to run. When redaction is completed, the following message appears.
If you choose to protect your redacted document, Word applies a strong, randomly selected password so that the document cannot be unprotected. Content in the document that's not redacted will be accessible only to read or print. It cannot be modified, copied, or even selected. However, note that this is possible because the add-in tool protects the document as a form. So any form fields in your original document that weren't marked for redaction will remain modifiable in the protected document.
If you prefer to have the option to unprotect the redacted document later, click No when you're prompted to protect the document from the add-in tool. You can then protect the document later in Word and choose your own password to unprotect it.
- Save the document with the redactions just as you would save any new Word document. If you don't want to save your redactions, then after doing the redaction, close the original document without saving it.
Note The add-in tool automatically accepts any tracked changes and turns off Track Changes in the redacted version of the document to help you ensure that previously deleted content doesn't remain. However, keep in mind that other metadata or hidden content, such as content contained in embedded objects, might still exist in the document. Before sharing any document that includes potentially confidential information, check the document for metadata and hidden content.
How do I remove redaction marks?
Content in your original document that has been marked for redaction remains marked for redaction unless you remove the marks. After redacting, you can remove redaction marks from your original document if you won't need them again.
To remove a single redaction mark, select the marked text and click Remove Mark on the Redaction toolbar.
To remove all marks in the document
- Select the entire document body (on the Edit menu, click Select All, or press CTRL+A).
- On the Redaction toolbar, click Remove Mark.
- Repeat steps 1 and 2 for headers, footers, and footnotes containing redaction marks.