Easy way to update a PDF?

curiouswebster
curiouswebster used Ask the Experts™
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I hope to allow merchants to upload a merchant statement for a particular type of analysis. But I do not want to be the recipient of confidential data, when possible.

Is there an easy way for people to blank out certain fields on a PDF? Things like Business Name, Address, Account Number, etc.

I can do this easily Adobe Acrobat Pro, but would rather not force users to purchase a license just to remove their private info. Is there a simple way, with Adobe Reader, for example, to edit out certain key data?

If not, are there other tools they could use to open the PDF and delete certain fields?

Is it unwise for my site to suggest they use a trial version of Adobe Acrobat Pro and provide them the URL to this free trial?

Thanks.
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Linux/LXD/WordPress/Hosting Savant
Distinguished Expert 2018
Commented:
Simple way, if the documents are always of the same format.

Use a libreoffice --headless command to populate specific fields with "X" characters.

This would occur after the document has already been uploaded.

There's no reliable way to do this on your client's end, as this would mean you'd require every client to... follow instructions... which is similar to herding cats...

You'll never know for sure what they've uploaded, until after the upload + you process each document file.
curiouswebsterSoftware Engineer

Author

Commented:
what does this command do, exactly? Must I select the fields to get X's?

I agree, people would tend to not follow instructions and then, not upload their statement for analysis.
Distinguished Expert 2017
Commented:
it depends on how far you want to go? you could use PHP/perl to redisplay the PDF data as a form and have the person mark what the "confidential" item is. at which point the resulting pdf with those items stripped will be saved, though the upload as David pointed out will take place.
or you
not sure PDF is an optimal choice.
Much depends on the source of the data, a CSV/excel type data might be better.....

unless you provide the user with an application that will run on their system will scrub the data and perform the upload.......
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curiouswebsterSoftware Engineer

Author

Commented:
I think u may be stuck with PDF since that is the format from the banks. But I love your scrub feature idea!

I could allow a PDF upload, but not store the file on disk.

Instead, present the data to them and give them the option to delete fields. When they save it, I preserve their data on disk in some format.

I guess the PDF never needs to be saved. I merely need a tool to extract the data from the PDF and use whichever web technology I settle on to enable them edit functionality.

Can I extract the contents of a PDF using Angular?
Distinguished Expert 2017

Commented:
I am unfamiliar with angular.
curiouswebsterSoftware Engineer

Author

Commented:
thanks
112.jpg I am not sure redaction of PDF tools is your choice.  The process can remove or hide certain portions of information in a piece of document since you will protect your PDF from unauthorized person. There is a full guide on how to batch redaction PDFs.

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