Last night's post to this site was not very detailed. I had gotten up very early to attend an oral argument in New York Supreme Court on a motion to seal, and simply didn't have the enegy left after work to make a good post. At the hearing a judge called into question how our firm had redacted loan numbers on a PDF version of a spreadsheet. While we had redacted the last three digits of the loan numbers on the spreadsheet (on the basis that since the first four leading numbers of the loan numbers from a securitization were sometimes identical, removing numbers from the end would make the numbers harder to guess), the judge expressed her preference for instead redacting the first four digits so it would be easier to distinguish between successive entries on the spreadsheet. (Sometimes information for a single loan was listed on more than one row.). So in other words if the loan number, 177607040, was followed by an entry for the loan number 177607888, redacting the last three digits would leave you with 177607 on two successive rows for two different loan numbers.
While the hearing was in progress, our firm was still having staff attorneys review the spreadsheet for confidential information in columns other than that used for the loan numbers. The staff attorneys began with PDFs from which the last three digits of the loan numbers were redacted. [We achieved this in Excel using the formula, =LEFT(A2,(LEN(A2)-3)) ] The challenge I was posed with was to lay over a new version of the loan numbers with the first four digits removed onto the spreadsheet which already contained redactions in the other columns. I had not done this before, and I couldn't find a clear description of how to do it after running several Google searches. I finally found the solution I was looking for with A-PDF's N-up Page application. These are steps I followed:
1. In this example, the loan numbers are in the first column on the left of the spreadsheet, so the process begins by cropping out of the columns on the right using Adobe Acrobat's Crop tool.
2. After dragging the area to be cropped (what you're keeping), double-click on the resulting blue area, and note the settings in the 'Set Page Boxes' window, putting in zero for the top, bottom, and right, and also noting the measurement at the left of 1.932 inches.
3. Next crop the PDF in which the loan numbers have been modified so all of the columns to the right of the loan number column are removed. This time you put zero in the top, bottom, and left boxes, and the number in the right box should be the width of the page minus the setting for the left box in the previously cropped PDF. In this example the setting would be 6.568. This insures the two sides will match up perfectly.
4. Now extract the pages from both PDFs in Acrobat, checkng the option to 'Extract Pages As Separate Files' and being sure to enter the full range of pages, from 1 to the last page.
5. After saving the extracted pages from both PDFs as single page PDF files in the same folder, rename them using Bulk Rename Utility (see a previous post on LSTOTN on 6/8/2015) so that the pages with the loan number column come before the corresponding pages with the columns from the right. I did this by assigning a 'z' as the suffix in the 'Add' box for the PDFs with the columns from the right, and then simply renaming one set of files so it has the same name as the other with the exception of this suffix.
6. Now combine the single page PDFs together. In Acrobat just open the first one, and then go to Tools . . . Pages . . .Insert from File and select them all sorted by the file name. The result should be a PDF in which there is a narrow column on the odd pages with the new version of the redacted loan number and the columns from the right on the even pages.
7. Here's where A-PDF's N-UP Page program plays it part. It can be downloaded from http://www.a-pdf.com/n-up-page/index.htm It only costs $27, and a trial version is available. Open the application and add the combined file that you created. Make sure the settings on the N-UP Page Settings tab have the N-UP Mode as '2-UP' , the Page Layout as 'Horizontal' and the mode as 'A/B'.
8. Next click on the cog setting icon at the bottom and on the 'Page Range' tab select 'All Pages' and check 'Merge all PDF files to one file while doing N-up'. Press 'Save'.
9. Finally click the 'N-Up Page ' four page icon at the bottom and choose a file name to save the results to. If everything has gone correctly, the two sides of your PDFs should be lined up together in one new PDF perfectly.
Note that A-PDF has many other applications for PDF processing. Check out their site, www.a-pdf.com