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I have a pdf file and want to mask some sensitive information in it such as social security numbers. Can this be done, without having to use paid tools? Better yet, without having to download anything?

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Adobe Acobat has a tool for this. –  Martin Schröder Jul 26 '12 at 23:01

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You could open it with gimp, paint over the sensitive information and then print/save to pdf again.

Or do the same thing with inkscape - however as mentioned in the comments this is less safe as the information may still be present in the saved file (even if you can't see it on the pdf).

Both are free tools and available on a variety of platforms.

More pdf editing options are covered in this question

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Be very careful, depending on the tool, redaction may or may not be complete. Some of the PDF editing tools that offer redaction do cover up the information, but they do it in a layered fashion. So if you open the file in an editor again, even though you cannot see the redacted text, you can use the text selection tool to copy the text to the clipboard. –  EBGreen Jul 26 '12 at 19:36
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@EBGreen- Good point - from that point of view gimp would be preferred as the text is transformed into an image first, avoiding that caveat. –  jmetz Jul 26 '12 at 19:42
    
@EBGreen Haha, I remember opening files with redacted text on a slow computer many years ago...you could briefly see the redacted text before the black bars were rendered. –  rob Nov 23 '13 at 18:25

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