6 Best Tools To Help You Redact PDF For Free In 2024

July 31, 2023 1.3K views

Navigating the torrent of digital data, your quest for guarding sensitive information often leads you to the formidable fortress of PDF redaction. In a world where every click might incur a charge, you ponder, "Is it possible to redact PDFs free of cost?" or "Can I find tools that easily and efficiently accomplish this online, compatible with my Windows system?" Worry no more, as we're about to light the way to six stellar, cost-free tools designed for just this purpose.

Tool 1: WPS Office

Among the myriad of solutions available, WPS Office emerges as a frontrunner for free PDF redaction. Let’s look at some of the reasons why WPS should be your first pick for Pdf Redact Free:

Comprehensive Redaction Capabilities

One of the mainstays of WPS Office is its comprehensive array of redaction features. These tools allow users to seamlessly protect sensitive data within both text and images, ensuring a secure document handling experience.

Annotation and Markup Tools at Your Fingertips

With WPS Office, you have the power to annotate and markup your documents as you please. These built-in tools offer increased flexibility and efficiency, allowing you to tailor your documents to your specific needs.

Unparalleled Document Security

When it comes to safeguarding your sensitive data, WPS Office takes no half measures. Its robust document security protocols keep your confidential information safe, providing an extra layer of defense against unauthorized access.

A Cost-Effective Solution

Perhaps one of the most appealing aspects of WPS Office is its cost-effectiveness. Despite offering a wealth of features and robust security, it remains completely free. This blend of quality and affordability makes WPS Office a top contender in the realm of free PDF redaction tools.

How to Use the WPS Pdf Redact Free Tool?

The process of redacting your PDFs with WPS Office is effortless. Here's a quick rundown:

Step 1: Initiate by clicking on the 'Tools' tab, followed by the 'Redact' button in the Tools Center.

pdf redact free tool

[alt = ‘redact pdf free Software’]

Step 2: Choose the text or image to redact, and preview your selection by hovering over it.

redact pdf free windows

Step 3: Click 'Apply' and toggle on the 'Sanitize and remove hidden information' option.

redact pdf free windows 10

Step 4: Choose a location and save your file. PC users will notice '_Redacted' added to their file name.

pdf redact free tool

Tool 2: Adobe

Adobe is a premium application that is renowned for its advanced PDF handling capabilities. Let’s look at some of the pros and cons to give you a better understanding of whether you should look at this tool or not.


Advanced Redaction Features

Adobe comes with a powerful set of tools specifically designed for redaction. It enables users to accurately select the text or images they wish to redact, ensuring no sensitive information is left visible.

Annotation and Collaboration

Whether it's for review, approval, or teamwork, Adobe's advanced annotation tools make it easy to comment and collaborate on PDFs. Users can add notes, highlight text, and even draw directly on the PDF.



One downside to Adobe is its cost. Being a premium application, it comes with a price tag. However, for businesses and individuals frequently working with PDFs, the advanced features it offers may justify the cost.


Another drawback of Adobe is that it can be resource-intensive. This means it may slow down your device, especially if you're using an older computer.

How to Use Redact Pdf Free Adobe?

Redacting sensitive information using Adobe is quite straightforward. Here are the steps:

Step 1: Open your PDF with Adobe and select Tools, then Redact. This will open the redaction tools menu.

Adobe free pdf redact free tool use

Step 2: Draw rectangles over the text or images you want to remove using the crosshair. Mistakes can be undone with Command+Z (Mac) or Control+Z (PC).

Adobe redact pdf free windows 10 & 11

Step 3: Adobe lets you change the default black box that marks redacted areas. You can choose your preferred outline and fill colors, or even add overlay text.

Adobe redact pdf free tool colors can be changed

Step 4: Click Apply. A warning message will appear, reminding you that the redaction is permanent. Confirm your choice by clicking OK.

Adobe redact pdf free tool apply redactions

Step 5: Sanitizing removes hidden data and metadata. If you wish to sanitize your PDF, leave the toggle button on in the warning message pop-up.

Adobe redact pdf sanitize document

Step 6: To prevent overwriting the original document, save your redacted PDF under a new name.

Adobe redact pdf save document

Tool 3: Cisdem

Cisdem is also a PDF editing tool that offers an effective and fast way to redact sensitive information from your PDF files. Before downloading this one, you must read its pros and cons.


Fast and Efficient Performance

Cisdem boasts a fast and efficient performance, enabling users to redact their PDFs quickly. This feature is highly valuable for those who work with time-sensitive documents and cannot afford to wait for slow processing.

Batch Processing

With Cisdem, you can redact multiple files simultaneously thanks to its batch processing feature. This can save you a considerable amount of time, especially when working with a large number of PDFs.


Learning Curve for New Users

Cisdem is a highly capable tool, but its interface and functionalities may present a steep learning curve for new users. Some time and practice are needed to become familiar with all its features and how to use them.

Customer Support

While Cisdem does offer customer support, some users have reported that it can be less than satisfactory at times. This can potentially cause some difficulties, particularly for those who are less tech-savvy.

How to Use Cisdem for Redacting?

The process of redacting sensitive information using Cisdem is fairly easy. Here are the steps:

Step 1: Begin by opening the PDF files you want to redact using Cisdem.

Cisdem redact pdf free tool

Step 2: Click on the Protect tab and choose the Mark for Redaction tool. This will enable you to select the information you want to conceal.

Cisdem redact pdf Protect tab

Step 3: Drag and drop your mouse to highlight the sensitive information you wish to redact, such as names, phone numbers, or addresses. After highlighting, click the "√" icon under the area you draw.

Cisdem redact pdf highlight the sensitive information

Step 4: A pop-up box will appear reminding you that redaction is permanent and irreversible. If you're sure about your redaction choices, click Apply.

Cisdem redact pdf click Apply’

Step 5: After successfully redacting the sensitive information, don't forget to save your PDF. It's advisable to save it under a different name to preserve the original copy.

Cisdem redact pdf save your PDF

Tool 4: Xodo

Xodo is a free and robust PDF editing tool that offers effective redaction capabilities. Whether you need to redact a single piece of information or work on multiple files, Xodo can be a handy companion. Let’s look at its pros and cons first. After that, we will talk about its use.


Cloud Integration

One of the key selling points of Xodo is its seamless integration with popular cloud storage services. This feature allows users to access and redact their PDFs from anywhere, at any time, making it convenient for individuals who prefer cloud-based workflows.

Efficient File Management

Xodo not only allows you to redact information in your PDFs, but it also excels in file management. It helps organize your PDFs efficiently, which is particularly beneficial when dealing with a large volume of documents.


Performance on Large Files

One potential downside of Xodo is that it may struggle with large PDF files. Users may experience slow processing times or occasional lags when redacting information in extensive documents.

Update Frequency

While Xodo is an efficient tool, its update frequency can sometimes be a point of contention. Users may need to wait longer than desired for new features, improvements, or bug fixes.

How to Use Xodo for Redacting PDFs?

The process of using Xodo for redacting sensitive information is straightforward. Here are the steps:

Step 1: Start by selecting the PDF files you wish to redact using Xodo's online PDF redaction tool.

Xodo redact pdf select file

Step 2: Click on the redact button. This will prompt Xodo to start the redaction process, hiding the sensitive information you've selected.

Xodo redact pdf redaction process

Step 3: Once the redaction process is complete, download the new, redacted PDF file to your device.

Tool 5: AvePDF

AvePDF is an online service that offers robust tools for redacting information in PDF files. Below are the pros and cons of this online tool.


Comprehensive Redaction Tools

One of the most prominent benefits of AvePDF is its array of comprehensive redaction tools. Users have the flexibility to redact any part of the document, making the tool versatile and highly useful.

No Software Installation

As a cloud-based tool, AvePDF eliminates the need for software installation. You can access the service directly from your browser, offering a hassle-free and convenient user experience.


Limited Functionality of the Free Plan

One downside of AvePDF is that the free plan offers limited functionality. While it does provide the basic redaction tools, access to more advanced features requires a subscription.

Processing Time

Depending on the size of your files and your internet speed, the processing time for redacting PDFs using AvePDF can sometimes be longer than other desktop-based solutions.

How to Use AvePDF for Redacting PDFs?

Using AvePDF to redact sensitive information in your PDFs is simple. Follow these steps:

Step 1: You can start by uploading your PDF file to AvePDF from your device or directly from your cloud storage service.

AvePDF redact pdf select file

Step 2: To conceal information, click the "Add redaction marks" button and draw an area over the content you want to redact using your mouse.

AvePDF redact pdf Add redaction marks

Step 3: You can edit redaction marks by disabling the "Add redaction marks" button and then clicking on the redaction mark you wish to modify. In the "Redaction marks properties" window, you can change the title and color of the redaction mark.

Step 4: After you've added all your redaction marks, click on the "Save" button to finalize the changes.

AvePDF redact pdf save

Step 5: Finally, download the redacted PDF file to your computer or save it directly to your cloud storage service.

AvePDF redact pdf download file’

Tool 6: PDF24

PDF24 is also a free online PDF editor that comes with a comprehensive set of features, including redaction tools.


User-friendly Interface

One of the main attractions of PDF24 is its user-friendly interface. The tool is straightforward to use, which makes it suitable even for those who lack advanced technical skills.

Privacy and Security

In terms of privacy and security, PDF24 makes a strong stand. The service prioritizes the safety of your documents, so you can rest assured that your sensitive information is handled with care.


Privacy and Data Security

While PDF24 does emphasize privacy and security, concerns may arise because it's an online tool. Therefore, users need to be cautious about the type of documents they upload for redaction, especially those containing highly sensitive information.

Updates and Maintenance

Another potential downside of PDF24 is its updates and maintenance. Occasional disruptions can occur due to scheduled maintenance or updates, which might affect the workflow of users who depend on it heavily.

How to Use PDF24 for Redacting PDFs?

Here's how to go about it:

Step 1: Start by uploading the PDF file that you wish to redact to PDF24. You can do this either from your device or directly from your cloud storage service.

PDF24 redact pdf select file

Step 2: To hide the sensitive information, click on the "free drawings" button and use your mouse to draw over the area you want to redact.

PDF24 redact pdf free drawing

Step 3: After you have marked all the information you wish to redact, finalize your changes by clicking the "Save PDF" button.

PDF24 redact pdf Save PDF

Step 4: Lastly, you can download the redacted PDF file to your computer or save it directly to your cloud storage service.

PDF24 redact pdf download

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Why Is Redacting PDFs Important?

Redacting PDFs safeguards sensitive information, maintains privacy, and comply with legal or regulatory requirements.

What Types of Information Can Be Redacted from A PDF?

Information like PINs, social security numbers, financial details, addresses, and legal and business data can be redacted from a PDF.

Are There Any Legal Considerations When Redacting PDFs?

Yes, redacting PDFs must comply with privacy laws, data protection regulations, and jurisdiction-specific redaction requirements.


Various tools are available for redacting PDFs for free in 2023, each with its own strengths and weaknesses. WPS Office, Adobe, Cisdem, Xodo, AvePDF, and PDF24 all offer excellent features, ensuring that sensitive information can be effectively redacted from your PDF files, maintaining their integrity and security.

WPS Office is exceptional as the most recommended option for free PDF redaction. With its comprehensive suite of redaction tools, user-friendly interface, multi-platform support, and cloud integration, WPS Office offers a blend of performance and convenience, making it the ultimate choice for safeguarding your sensitive data in PDF files.

15 years of office industry experience, tech lover and copywriter. Follow me for product reviews, comparisons, and recommendations for new apps and software.