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Apply redact function is greyed out, can't complete my redact request

Community Beginner ,
Feb 19, 2018

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I'm trying to redact portions of a PDF document.  I used the redact tool to select multiple areas within the pages.  The tool successfully marks them, but when I try to complete the redactions by applying them, I note that the apply function is greyed out.  Not sure what I can do to allow the applying to happen.  Is the fact that "at least one signature requires validating" a possible blocking problem in this document?  Thank you.

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Correct answer by Test Screen Name | Most Valuable Participant

Signatures are final. Editing after signing is not appropriate. That would kind of defeat the whole idea of signatures.

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General troubleshooting, Security digital signatures and esignatures

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Apply redact function is greyed out, can't complete my redact request

Community Beginner ,
Feb 19, 2018

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I'm trying to redact portions of a PDF document.  I used the redact tool to select multiple areas within the pages.  The tool successfully marks them, but when I try to complete the redactions by applying them, I note that the apply function is greyed out.  Not sure what I can do to allow the applying to happen.  Is the fact that "at least one signature requires validating" a possible blocking problem in this document?  Thank you.

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Correct answer by Test Screen Name | Most Valuable Participant

Signatures are final. Editing after signing is not appropriate. That would kind of defeat the whole idea of signatures.

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General troubleshooting, Security digital signatures and esignatures

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22.3K

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Most Valuable Participant ,
Feb 19, 2018

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Signatures are final. Editing after signing is not appropriate. That would kind of defeat the whole idea of signatures.

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Community Beginner ,
Feb 19, 2018

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I hear you, but I'm not trying to edit the text in a signed document, I'm just trying to redact certain portions of a signed document.  Isn't that what redacting is all about?  Sharing a document such as a signed contract with confidential portions hidden from view?

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New Here ,
Jun 07, 2018

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This answer fundamentally misunderstands the purpose of redaction. Signed documents are commonly redacted to remove information that is not releasable to certain audiences. Although *removal* of information from a signed document is inappropriate, redaction of non-releasable information within a signed document is neither inappropriate nor illegal.  In fact, the act of redaction itself serves to indicate to a reader that information was present but was not released to a specific audience.

The ability to redact a signed document should not be revoked by Adobe developers because of a fundamental misunderstanding of the purpose of redaction. This is a bug, not a feature.

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Most Valuable Participant ,
Jun 07, 2018

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You misunderstand the purpose of a digital signature. It is meant to ensure the contents of the signed document are not edited, in any way. If you want to remove sensitive information from a file you have to do it before signing it. There's no way around it.

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New Here ,
Dec 06, 2018

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I've been reading a lot lately on Adobe forums and it seems that as soon as Adobe has no factual solution they tend to verbalize their solution as an acceptance by describing a situation that fits with their bug. 

So here's the deal. A real life situation across the entire world of legal AND law enforcement community.

The investigator scans and submits the documents in their original format.

The investigator does not know what to redact since the investigation it's still pending. It is only months or even years after the investigation that the investigators will know with certainty who is going to be accused.

Thus the need to redact names of people who will not be accused. As I said this is happening months or even years after the first initial scan of the original document was made.

The above-mentioned communities work this way around the world.

I don't think that Adobe can say it can work the other way around.

The question is very important to answer.

The investigator scans the document or creates the PDF and applies its signature.

Then down the road, redaction marks are added by another team. Then you might have supervisors making quality control of the redaction marks and only then the final marks are applied.

All these steps will not alter information that is contained in the document, redaction only replaces information being disclosed but leaving the space that was occupied by that information.

The signature needs to be still valid and act as a witness (log) that no pages were removed nor text altered.

So how can we apply redaction marks after signature?

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Most Valuable Participant ,
Dec 06, 2018

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But text was altered. It was removed from the file, and can't be put back. How would you know that only names were removed? Maybe crucial bits of other information were also removed when the file was redacted?

Imagine the following sentence: "I, XXXXXX, witnessed that John doe killed XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX."

Now, we can assume that those are just names of people, but maybe there's more there that we can no longer see.

Maybe they witnessed that the killing was in self-defense? This is a simplistic example, but it goes to show that once you allow information to be removed or edited in any way, the signature on it becomes worthless, as you don't know in what ways the original differs from the redacted version.

What you're describing is not only technically not feasible (in a PDF file, at least), it's also very dangerous in terms of liability and reliability. If that's how the legal system works, then it has a serious problem, in my opinion. The only way I could envision it working is if all the people who signed a file will validate that their signature still applies to the redacted version, but that's no different from simply signing it again.

PS. I don't speak for or work for Adobe, in case you're going to say that I just try to "make excuses for their bugs"...

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New Here ,
Aug 04, 2020

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that is meaningless if not notarized or witness so that example is futile.

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New Here ,
Jan 17, 2019

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This answer misses the point completely (even though it may be technically correct). Most folks want to use the redact feature to hide some sensitive information from downstream parties. The parties that signed the document still have the copy of the original doc and can always refer to that should any dispute arise. I'm OK to say the doc was signed, but redactions was applied post signature. this is common practice. Just look at what is happening in government where documents are released to the Press, but sensitive info is hidden. This does not invalidate the original, but it does mean that you do not have the privilege to read the whole thing.

Semantics about invalidating the signature is not helpful and is just argumentative.

I have purchased a trial subscription to Adobe DC Pro, but will not cancel this because this was the main purpose for which I wanted to use it... i.e share docs but remove privileged content... I will find another way / another application since Adobe is missing the mark on this completely.

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Most Valuable Participant ,
Feb 19, 2018

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Redaction is very definitely editing. It would be easy to change the meaning of a contract by deleting words!

This leasehold reverts to the owner after two hundred

years and one day.

Now redact the word hundred...

You can't keep it signed and redact. You have to destroy/remove the signature, if it will let you (generally won't).

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Community Beginner ,
Feb 19, 2018

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Thanks.  I would get your point if I wanted to delete or erase the word "hundred" above, but if I were to clearly *redact* (ie block out) the word, so it looked like this...

This leasehold reverts to the owner after two hundred

years and one day.

Imagine that the word hundred had a dark highlight over it (a redaction) instead of a strikethrough, so you could clearly see someone took out a word.  Sorry to be repetitive, but isn't that what redaction is all about?  Clearly showing you have removed portions of a document?

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Most Valuable Participant ,
Feb 19, 2018

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What would be the point of signing a document if someone came later and changed it, even if it's visible that they did? You're altering the signed document, and therefore voiding the signature. So a Digital Signature doesn't allow to do that in the first place, as it should.

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Most Valuable Participant ,
Feb 19, 2018

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The point about digital signatures is that any change, even an invisible one, is forbidden and/or detected. Redaction is not a special case.

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New Here ,
Jun 17, 2018

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I understand what both parties are trying to say, but I’m the instances where you may release parts of a signed contract, but wish to keep information such as pricing confidential, there is cause to REDACT a signed document. While your PDF still contains editable fields, it cannot be redacted after signature. PRINT your document to ADOBE PDF (rather than a printer) so that it flattens the layers in the PDF, then you can use the redact feature on the “printed” copy.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Jun 18, 2018

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Info: The "printed" copy is not more signed.

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New Here ,
Dec 06, 2018

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please see comment of: 

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