The Court Technology and Trial Presentation Blawg features articles, reviews and news of interest to lawyers and other legal professionals. This blog is published by Ted Brooks, a Trial Presentation and Legal Technology Consultant, Author and Speaker. Ted's trial experience includes the Los Angeles Dodgers divorce trial, People v. Robert Blake murder trial, and a hundreds of high profile, high value and complex civil matters.

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Monday, October 25, 2010

Product Review: Redact-It Desktop

(this article was written for and originally published on the OLP web site)

If you find yourself redacting “live text” documents, such as PDF, TIFF or even Microsoft Office files, Redact-It Desktop (by Informative Graphics Corp. is worth looking into. If you need to redact scanned non-OCR documents, you can also do that, but without the automated processes that make this program such a timesaver.

Installation was relatively painless, optionally adding a set of Macros which may be used with Microsoft Office document files.

Launching the program brings up a screen with web links to a few key places on the site, including Getting Started, Feature Vote, Redact-It Site and Update. Selecting “Open” starts a browse dialog, which is initially set by default to a series of Test Files which may be used to quickly learn the features of the product. Each test file address an issue, which is identified in the name of the document. Each document has instructions on how to use a particular function, and has a series of searchable points which may be tested for that function. While this might sound confusing, it is actually very simple.

For instance, if we select “Drivers license number redaction sample.pdf,” we open a document that explains how Redact-It may be used to run a pre-determined script of a number of different possible ways to identify and locate a drivers’ license number (including various abbreviations), and then apply “Redactups” to each of them. There are a number of commonly used preset scripts, and of course, you can easily create your own.

Running the “Redact Drivers License” script brings up 65 hits on the sample document.

Once you have redacted as desired, you may then “Verify” the Redactups, assign issues to them, and “Finalize” the document, saving it as a PDF, Tiff or proprietary “CSF” file. The original document remains unchanged. The CSF format requires the use of their free “Brava” viewer, allowing the user to set a timer on the document, disabling it from further viewing upon reaching a pre-determined expiration date. This clever feature might be used when sending documents for review, and you want to make absolutely sure they are deleted after a reasonable review period. This feature is not available for PDF or TIFF images. Password protection is available for any saved format. Insider Tip: Don’t send the document via email, and then the password in a separate message a little while later. That’s too easy to figure out by someone looking in the email folders.

One key selling point of Redact-It is that once you save a redacted document, the text is no longer there and cannot be recovered (as it was in a certain Facebook case a few years ago).

In the event you have documents that do not have “live” text, you may either manually draw redaction boxes around an area, or for about a $50 upgrade, you may add the OCR option (Nuance OCR engine), which will then allow full-text search and redaction.

Base pricing for Redact-It Desktop is $195, or $244 with OCR capability. Server and Kofax versions are also available.

The bottom line on this product is that while it has a relatively narrow purpose, if you have the need for automation (and who doesn’t need a little help with efficiency these days), and at a reasonable price, Redact-It will likely become a valuable tool in your arsenal. For the price of the demo version (free), you can’t go wrong in giving it a test-drive.

Ted Brooks, President
Litigation-Tech LLC
"Enhancing the Art of Communication"
415-291-9900 San Francisco
213-798-6608 Los Angeles

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