How do I "flatten" a PDF file?

coachjim
coachjim used Ask the Experts™
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I want to send my credit card statements to my bookkeeper, but before I do so, I want to make sure the account number is not visible on the statement.  I use Nuance's PDF Converter Pro for working with PDF files.
   The only way I see to block out the account number is by "drawing" a thick line over the numbers.  My concern is that that line exists in a layer that can be removed by someone else and uncover the account number.
   I'm guessing there's some way to "flatten" the document so that my line permanently covers the account number.
   How would I do that?
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Commented:
The simplest way to do this (because they may not have the same PDF viewer as you) is to use the selection tool to COPY the text you want.  Then PASTE it into notepad, totally remove the text you want them not to see, save it, and attach it in the email.  This is the only guaranteed way to remove that info.
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coachjimProfessional Business Coach

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Commented:
Thanks for all the input.  

To zeshanaziz's suggestion, none of those worked for me partially due to differences in versions and such.

Second, to Amila's input, thanks for the term "redaction."  The Nuance capability is only in their Enterprise version, not the professional version I have.  Although it looks like their new version, 7.0 does offer it in the pro version, a sales guy told me it doesn't.  I would have purchased and downloaded the new Enterprise version, but it isn't available yet!  I looked all over the net and saw lots of redaction tools, but no reasonably priced desktop version.

Before seeing the input from scratchyboy, I made one last attempt to edit the documents with what I had and finally figured out how to do it.  What threw me off before was when I'd highlight text and try to delete it, I'd get a message about the font being something special.  On a chance, I highlighted the text, was able to change the font to one I had, and was then able to delete it.

By all appearances, it looks like I was able to delete, not redact, the account numbers.  This, of course, chewed up a good chunk of the day!

Since I'll probably forget the process next time I need it, if anyone has a suggestion for a tool that allows inexpensive, straightforward redaction, I'd love to hear about it.

Don't be DECEIVED by the actions of the PDF viewer you are using.  It is naive to think they all act the same.  THere are DOZENS of PDF readers that do NOT act like adobe and will see through any inline changes you make to them.  There are programs which will even reverse engineer the PDF to its primary state.  Unless you convert the data as I suggested, you are running NEEDLESS risk unaware of what is out there.
and especially PDF editors, more so than readers.
Amila HendahewaLead Consultant

Commented:
i am not aware that when we make a redaction from one PDF viewer, it can be viewed by some other viewer. If this is possible then the whole purpose of redacting is lost. However i dont think it is possible. Again i havent tested this so cannot confirm.
coachjimProfessional Business Coach

Author

Commented:
Thank you scratchcyboy for your words of warning.  In the future, one way or another I'll remove my account number from being visible in the document and then I'll print it out and provide my bookkeeper a hard copy.  I appreciate your suggestions toward being thorough, but I don't want to bring so much attention to this that it screams "I don't trust you" to my bookkeeper.

Thank you Amila, again, for the distinction "redaction."  Supposedly my copy of OmniPage Professional 17 offers that feature, but it isn't apparent to me.  I may actually spend the money on Adobe's latest to at least speed the process I mentioned above.

Thanks to all.
coachjimProfessional Business Coach

Author

Commented:
I've placed an order for the new Adobe Acrobat X Pro which includes a redaction feature.  As expensive as it is, the time it will save will be significant.  I just hope scrathcyboy isn't totally right about redaction being a charade.

Thanks again for your help.

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