Fast Tip Friday – Search and Redact Regex Text Patterns Using Adobe Acrobat


This fast tip demonstrates how to search for custom text patterns using regular expressions and then redact the text.

UPDATE: When searching for the XML file locations, you may need to unhide system files before running the search so that you can see this additional location under your user profile: C:\Users\[user profile name]\AppData\Roaming\Adobe\Acrobat\[Acrobat version]\ Preferences\Redaction\ENU. You can either place your custom XML file here or rename/delete the original file in this location so that Acrobat will recognize the XML file in the location shown in the video. Be sure to keep backup copies of your custom XML files in case you change computers or your user profile location changes.

To unhide system files: (1) Go to the Control Panel | Appearance and Personalization; (2) Select Folder Options | Show hidden files and folders; (3) Uncheck Hide protected operating system files

NOTE:  The Search & Remove Text function can handle a maximum of 500 PDFs at a time.

In a previous Fast Tip Friday tutorial, I demonstrated how to search and redact text patterns using Adobe Acrobat.



Download Sample Files

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    • Betsy Horn

      I am trying to make this work with Acrobat Pro DC.
      I closed Acrobat.
      I found the location of the files:
      C:Program Files (x86)AdobeAcrobat DCAcrobatDocSettingsRedactionENU
      I copied in your Entry 6 into the xml file
      I reopened Acrobat
      Bates Numbers does not show up in the drop down list.
      Any ideas?
      Thanks for this tip.

    • Betsy Horn

      Found the issue. There are three locations:
      Program Files (x86)

      It was the last location that was the key. I had to delete the original file before the one I placed in Program Files (x86) would “take.:

    • Marie Andrews

      Hello, so I have updated my SearchRedactPatterns file in the 3 locations identified to add another entry, and I still do not see my new custom search pattern available in Acrobat.

      Is there another piece to this puzzle?

      Updated here: C:UsersmandrewsAppDataRoamingAdobeAcrobatDCRedactionENU
      and here: C:UsersmandrewsAppDataRoamingAdobeAcrobatDCPreferencesRedactionENU
      and here: C:Program Files (x86)AdobeAcrobat DCAcrobatDocSettingsRedactionENU

      • Hey Marie – It looks like you’ve covered the bases. It may have something to do with your internal environment. Do you have an IT guy who can help you confirm that you’re updating the correct profile location? It’s easy enough for your IT contact to go through my video and then troubleshoot for you, if you have an IT guy, that is.

        • Marie Andrews

          I see. …. I’ve been a web developer, tester, and SysAdmin for over 15 years – I am my company’s “IT person.”
          I just don’t have much experience with Adobe products, and this specific customization is not in any of their documentation.
          I’ll figure it out myself. Thanks anyway.

          • Great! In that case, let’s troubleshoot it together. Can you send me a link to a screencast of the steps you’ve taken and the results, so I can take a look? You can use a tool like this if you want.