Looks Like Nuance Makes Redacting Easy


Those of you out there whose firms or businesses have licences for Nuance Power PDF Advanced should be aware of a very helpful feature it has to ease the pain of redacting. You may recall my June 22 and June 23 posts when I discussed how to run RegEx searches in a grep utility to find terms to load into Acrobat's search and redact tool. Nuance's Search and Redact tool includes an option that I don't believe is present in Adobe Acrobat. It will automatically search for standard social security number, telephone number, credit card number, emal address, and date formats and mark them for redaction. Just follow these steps.

1. In Nuance located the Redact icon on the top toolbar and click the drop down arrow to select 'Search and Redact'.

2. Select 'Looks Like Search (TM) Pattern. A drop down list will appear giving the option to choose phone and social security numbers from a number of different countries, and also credit card numbers, email addresses, and dates. See Figure A below.

3. Select one of these options to search through a document that has confidential information you need to redact. See Figure B. Note that above in the 'Look In' box you have the option of running the search and redact process through an entire folder of PDFs.

4. Nuance will give you a list of what it finds, and allow you to check off what should be redacted. This step is an important one, because the hits come up in context and this can speed the QC process which is really necessary if you're using the RegEx / Acrobat approach. See Fig. C.

5. Fig. D: Nuance has marked a term for redaction, but the redaction has not yet been applied.

6. Nuance is good at finding SSNs, phone numbers, credit card numbers, and email addresses, but it appears to have some trouble with dates. In the test I ran tonight it could not find the dates in my document even though I entered them in the formats a note inside the Search box indicates that it can handle. See Fig. E.

7. When you've got all of your terms marked for redaction, right click and select 'Apply All'. Fig. F.

Note that Nuance also has a 'Looks Like Search (TM) Custom Pattern'.


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