If you use Microsoft Word’s highlighter to redact documents, you need to read this.


We recently received a redacted pdf document through our Virtual Tax Partner support system at www.VtaxP.co.uk. We copied and pasted the document into Word to enable us to add comments, annotate and highlight so we could focus on the key points. In doing so, this removed the redactions and all information was there to be seen.

Of course, it mattered not in this instance as everything we receive is strictly private and confidential, however, you should be aware of this issue if you are redacting documents.

We conducted a test: if you prepare a document in Word, redact it using the black highlighter in Word, print it as a pdf document, that pdf document can be copied and pasted back to Word removing the redaction.

We found that this can be solved by taking the first pdf document (with black highlights) and pdf printing that pdf document. We could not then see the redacted information by copying and pasting.

This solution worked for us, but we recommend you always open the redacted document and check that it cannot be ‘bypassed’ before sending it off.


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