I need to send a pdf containing bank details about a payment, only some of the data in the pdf is relevant to the receiver, and I would like to hide everything else.

I have opened the PDF in preview and I put white squares on all the numbers I want to hide, and "printed" it to a new PDF.

When I open the new PDF all the data is invisible, but I can still select the text using the mouse, copy it, and paste it to a text document. All the data is still there, easily accessible.

How could I delete the data for good so that it's not there any more?

here's a screenshot of me selecting the data although it's hidden: screenshot

  • Is this a whole page you would like to hide/delete? Then you could just print to a second pdf (with PDFCreator for example) and only select the pages which are relevant in the print-dialog. The way you are doing it (hiding the text) is never secure because the text is still in the pdf (and always will be). – Rik Nov 13 '13 at 20:45
  • this is not an entire page, it's just a part of it. I can't do what you say. Thanks – Don Giulio Nov 13 '13 at 22:01
  • Then you really going to need a pdf editor, like @techie007 suggested. Most pdf editors are payware but with some googling you'll find a couple free ones. Here the first suggestion is Pdfedit. The Windows version is still in beta state but it does the job. But there are others too. Google them. – Rik Nov 13 '13 at 22:21

Open it with a PDF editor, like Acrobat Standard, and actually remove the text you want gone, then save it.

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    acrobat standard costs 118$, do you know any cheaper software that does that? – Don Giulio Nov 13 '13 at 19:13
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    I'm sure if you Google for a PDF editor, you'll find a few choices to try -- some will work better than others, Acrobat will work the best. ;) Acrobat also has a 30-day trial you can check out. – Ƭᴇcʜιᴇ007 Nov 13 '13 at 19:18

If you don't need the text to be selectable or searchable you can try this trick:

After blocking out the text you want hidden, export the document to TIFF format. You do this via the menu item File > Export... and then choosing TIFF from the format menu at the bottom. This will create a large image file.

Open this file and export again but this time back to PDF.

You'll end up with a PDF containing an image of each page instead of text.

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The only way I've managed to do it with Preview is by adding a black rectangle with the "add shape" option under Markup Toolbar. Then you can shape the rectangle to fit the text you want to hide! You just have to save it on print > save as pdf, or else other programs will be able to mess with it.

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    Danger! This is not guaranteed to actually remove the data from the file. Some programs, including Word, can open PDFs and recover text. – Ben N Jan 12 '16 at 15:16

Open the PDF in Irfanview (which creates a bitmapped image from it). Then use Irfanview to blot out the necessary passages and save it, either as PDF or as JPEG.

As Yoni points out you will no longer have searchable text if you do this, because it is now an image, not a text document. If you need to be able to select/search the rest of the text, then you need Acrobat Standard, as Ƭᴇcʜιᴇ007 stated.

You can do this with any image editor able to open PDFs, including PhotoShop, but Irfanview is a free download.

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You can do this with free tools like LibreOffice. The current download version is 6, but I managed to open a PDF with LibreOffice 5, edit the text (actually using a cursor to remove or alter text characters), and at the time of saving it will ask you to use its .odt format, but it also has an option of Export to PDF. The generated PDF won't contain the removed/altered text, since it wasn't merely hidden.

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