Changing Multiple Redaction Marks and Undocking the Comments Panel

Recently, I received the following question via email:

A word processing tech here at my firm marked approximately 75 areas for redaction on a 150 page PDF. However, while doing the marking, he had the Fill Opacity set to 100%. The attorney would like to have other attorneys review all of the text that has been marked for redaction. Is there a way to change the Fill Opacity on these marked areas to something else all at the same time? The attorney would like to avoid having to change the redaction properties on all of these marked areas one at a time.

Of course!

In this article, I’ll tell you how to do that and also review an interesting change in Acrobat XI that perhaps you haven’t discovered yet.

Redaction Mark Review

Using the Mark for Redaction tool in Acrobat, you can mark text, images or entire pages for redaction.

By default, Acrobat displays marked items with a red outline:

When you hover over the mark, you can preview the appearance of the applied mark:

Changing the Properties of Redaction Marks in Bulk

Since, Redactions are a type of annotation, the Comments panel may be used to access all of the marks made in a document and change them all at once. Here’s how in Acrobat X or XI.

  1. Open the PDF containing the Redaction marks
  2. In the upper right of the document window, click the Comments panel:, then open the Comments List Section:
  3. The comments list will appear showing you all of the comments in the document.
**NOTE: **in the example above, there are both redaction annotations and a sticky note. Acrobat only allows you to change multiple items if they are all the same type of annotation. If you only have redaction marks in your document, you can skip step 4 and 5 below.
  1. Click the Filter menu button in the Comment section:
  2. Choose Filter by Type and choose the Redact option:
  3. Select one of the items in the Comments list, then type CTRL-A (Windows) or CMD-A (Mac). This should highlight every item in the Comments list:
  4. Right-click over the Comments list and choose Properties:
  5. The Redaction Properties window opens. I like to set as follows:
    A) Set the Area Fill Color to gray. Saves toner!
    B) Set the Outline color to No Color for easier reading.
    C) Set the Fill color to Red
    D) Set the Fill opacity to 50%
  6. Click OK when you’re finished.

It’s now easier to pick out and read the redacted items. Instead of the annoying red outline, you have a subtle red fill color:

And, the Preview now looks like this:

Like it? Change the Defaults!

Now that you’ve changed your redaction mark appearance, it is easy to make the setting the new default for all new marks you add.

Right-click on any redaction mark and choose “Make Current Properties Default”:

How to Undock the Comments List in Acrobat XI (11)

Managing lots of annotations in the Acrobat X Comments list can be a bit tiresome. The narrow panel doesn’t offer a lot of room for maneuvering.

In Acrobat XI, we’ve added a new option to undock the Comment list. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Click the Options menu in the Comments list
  2. Choose “Undock Comments List”

The Comments List is now a resizable window you can place anywhere on screen or even on a second monitor:

To redock, choose the Options menu in the Comments List and choose “Dock Comments List”