Table of contents:
- Redaction highlighter
- Text selection
- Redaction stamps
- Redacting metadata
- Redacting spreadsheets
- Batch redactions
To use the redaction highlighter, first select the redaction icon on the toolbar. The selected highlighter icon will have a darker background once selected. You can also use the keyboard shortcut: "r". Although the redaction highlighter appears in all views, redacting by highlighter is only available in PDF view, as well as native view for spreadsheets, and lets you redact broad areas of documents.
To redact by highlighter, place the cursor anywhere on the document and hold while dragging the mouse. A box of transparent black will appear over your selected area. After production, this selected area will not be visible, and the text below the redaction will not be OCR’d. You can continue adding redactions after that point, until you toggle the redaction tool off (either by clicking the icon or pressing "r" again on your keyboard).
If you have mistakenly highlighted a passage for redaction, click on the redaction to bring up the preference panel, then click the trashcan to delete the redaction.
Text Selection Mode
Redaction via text selection is available in PDF view. If the text selector is not available in your full screen panel, it is likely because you have not added it to your toolbar. Click Edit Layout, then Edit Toolbar to add the text selector tool.
To redact text via this mode, select the text selection icon, and click and drag over the text you want to redact.
A pop-up panel will appear with four options:
- Redact the currently highlighted text
- Search for the highlighted text
- Redact all appearances of the highlighted text within the current document
- Add the highlighted text as a custom hit.
To delete redactions, click on them in the document to open the options panel. Then select the trashcan icon. You can also bulk delete redactions applied to a text string through the hit-highlighting panel: select the string in the custom hits panel, and choose the “remove all instances of this redaction” option (the redaction highlighter with the red 'x' in the far right).
Applying Redaction Stamps
Project admins may create standardized redaction stamps that can be used to note why particular content is redacted. These stamps are available in the options panel. The options panel can be opened by clicking on a redaction. You can select from the list to apply a pre-created stamp. If given the proper permissions, you can also create custom stamps. The applied stamp will be overlaid on the redaction.
When choosing to bulk redact via the text selection tool, stamps can be applied by clicking the dropdown caret. Small redactions that cannot fit the size of the full stamp will receive an abbreviation, identified after the stamp name and a hyphen.
If a redaction window is too small for the abbreviation, the stamp will be hidden. This is indicated by a crossed-out eye icon, and the text will not appear on the redaction. However, the redaction will still be "saved" as a component of the redaction, but not applied.
However, since the stamp is still considered "applied" in the review window, should you resize the redaction to a large enough size for the text to appear, the stamp will become unhidden.
To redact metadata from the review window, toggle “Redaction Mode” in the toolbar to see redaction icons beside all metadata fields with a value. Click on the icon to redact the corresponding field.
To assign a stamp or add a note to the redaction, click on the redaction to make the annotations popup appear. To delete the metadata redaction, click the trash can in the lower right corner of the popup.
Metadata redaction suggestions
During review, a reviewer may redact a value from the body of a document, but forget to redact that same value in the metadata. To help prevent this, Everlaw offers metadata redaction suggestions for both highlight and text-selection redactions.
When you draw a redaction box, or use the text selector, to redact “Kaminski” in your document, Everlaw will attempt to check if any values in the document’s metadata match “Kaminski.” If “Kaminski” is found, Everlaw may suggest that you redact “Kaminski” in the metadata as well.
If you have included a stamp on your content redaction, and you choose to redact the identical metadata from the redaction suggestion, the stamp will be applied to your metadata redactions as well.
Redaction suggestions are usually supported for Text, AddressFrom, AddressList, and Number fields. This means that you can expect to see redaction suggestions for metadata such as email parties, email subjects, document custodians, Bates numbers on previously produced documents, and more.
However, redaction suggestions are only supported if the redacted area includes text embedded in the image, which is the standard for data processed on Everlaw. Furthermore, redaction suggestions are based on exact text matches between the content and metadata redactions. This means that if you have redacted “John Smith” on an email document, but the email is from “John Smith and Jane Doe,” then the From metadata field will not be suggested for redaction. Similarly, because dates appear in so many formats, DateTime fields are never suggested for redaction.
You can redact as many cells as you’d like from the native view of a spreadsheet, down to the individual cell level. This will allow you to produce native versions of spreadsheets, without needing to image them, while still redacting sensitive information. Please note that you cannot redact spreadsheet comments using our native spreadsheet viewer and imaged spreadsheets do not display natively applied comments.
You can redact cells containing sensitive information by clicking on the redaction icon, located under the row of document views in the full screen review window, or on the left side of the top toolbar in the non-full screen review window.
With this tool selected, you will be able to redact cells in the following ways:
- Clicking on individual cells
- Clicking and dragging your cursor over a group of cells
- Clicking on a row or column heading to redact the entire row or column
- Clicking the top left corner of the spreadsheet, where the row and column headings intersect, to redact the entire spreadsheet
Redacted cells will turn black, and will show up as redacted if the document is produced. Embedded images and charts on spreadsheets cannot be redacted.
Each time you redact a cell or group of cells, a dialog box, or redaction control panel, will appear. If you have redacted a group of cells, the redaction control panel’s contents will reflect the topmost and/or leftmost cell that you have redacted; click on another redacted cell to view the control panel for that cell. The control panel gives you the option to choose a redaction stamp from a dropdown menu to apply to your redacted cells. The list of available stamps will reflect those that have been created in Case Settings for your case. Additionally, if the cell you redacted contains a value based on a formula, the control panel will show the cell’s original value as well as the formula.
To delete or hide all cell redactions on a spreadsheet, activate or click on the Annotations tab or icon and navigate to “Native Redactions.” Clicking on the eye icon will allow you to hide all redactions on your spreadsheet while you are still viewing the document. Clicking on the trash can icon will allow you to delete all cell redactions.
Produced spreadsheets on Everlaw are cut off at the last row or column of content. Therefore, if you redact a full column or row at the end of your sheet, those redactions will be hidden.
Native document, redacted column
Produced version of the document, redacted column is hidden
Redacting dependent cells
When redacting a cell, the redaction tool will take into consideration cell dependencies. A dependency is a cell that is dependent on another cell. For example, if you have a list of values and one of the cells is a formula, then the cell that includes the formula is a dependency of the values in the other cells.
Let's use this example below for illustrating redaction of dependencies. This spreadsheet displays earnings from a lemonade stand over the course of the week. It also includes
- The total earnings that week
- The average earnings that week
- The total weekday earnings
- The average weekday earnings
- The total weekend earnings
- The average weekend earnings
Cell B9 is the "total" of all earnings that week. That means it is a dependency of all cells that include earnings, B2-B8. Similarly, since B11 is the sum of all weekday earnings, it is a dependency of cells B2-B6.
If you redact a cell that references another cell, the control panel will show the total number of dependencies and give you additional options for redacting them. You will be able to choose between redacting the dependencies completely, replacing the dependencies with a formula, or keeping the dependencies' original values displayed (without the formula). Any option you choose will be applied to all dependencies. By default, they are redacted completely.
Let's use the same example to illustrate.
Let's redact Wednesday's earnings, cell B4. B4 has four dependencies: B9 (total earnings), B10 (average earnings), B11 (weekday sum), and B13 (weekday average). These cells all include formulas that depend on the value of cell B4. When redacting cell B4, you have the option to redact the four dependencies completely, replace with their formulas, or keep their values. In the below example, we've chosen to redact the dependencies completely.
Choosing to replace a dependent cell’s contents with a formula or keep the cell’s original value is known as a partial redaction. For any selected redaction, fully redacted cells will be gray, while partially redacted cells will have an orange border. Otherwise, redacted cells will be black, and partially redacted cells will have a red border.
Note that in our example, the totals and averages are dependencies, but the opposite is not true. The earnings reported each day are not dependent on the total/average cells to compute their values. Therefore, if you were to redact Total earnings, cell B9, there would be no dependencies listed or available for complete or partial redaction.
Importantly, let's say a cell is a dependency, and it references two different redacted cells. If the redaction dependency settings are different for the two referenced cells, then the dependency will be completely redacted.
Using the lemonade stand example to illustrate, let's say we redact Monday's earnings, cell B2, and choose to show the dependencies' formulas.
Now, let's say we also redact Tuesday's earnings, cell B3, and we choose to show the values of the dependency. We know that Monday's earnings and Tuesday's earnings share dependencies (the cells that display total, average, weekday total, and weekday average), but now those dependencies have conflicting redaction settings. Therefore, Everlaw chooses to redact all those dependencies completely.
If you have disabled the ability to redact dependencies for your spreadsheet, the option to redact dependent cells will not appear. Instead, the redaction dialog will display a warning message letting you know that your redactions will not affect dependent cells.
If you are redacting cells in a very large spreadsheet and have enabled the redaction of dependent cells, the redaction operation may time out. This occurs to prevent the entire spreadsheet from crashing.
Should a timeout be triggered, the ability to redact dependent cells will automatically be disabled for the spreadsheet during the viewing session.
You can close the redaction control panel by clicking on the X in the upper right hand corner or the blue Done button on the bottom of the panel. Clicking on a redacted cell will reopen that cell’s control panel. You can click the trash can icon in the bottom right hand corner to delete individual redactions.
There are some important caveats to keep in mind when producing spreadsheets with redactions. While native versions are usually withheld for redacted documents, the opposite is true for redacted spreadsheets. This is because spreadsheets are redacted in native view, while other documents are redacted in PDF or image view. Therefore, if you choose to include natives when producing redacted spreadsheets, the subsequent production will include native spreadsheet files, with redactions intact, and placeholder image files. If your native file format was originally .xlsb, the produced and redacted native documents will be .xlsx.
Batch redactions allow you to redact terms and phrases from all selected documents. Please note that, as with individual redactions, only documents with PDFs and embedded text can be batch redacted.
To perform a batch redaction, first open a results table of the documents you would like to redact. You can do this by running a search for the documents, or by opening the documents from a homepage card.
Once you have your results table open, select which documents you would like to redact using the checkboxes on the left side of each document’s row. By default, all the documents in your results table are selected, but you can select and deselect documents by clicking the checkboxes in the document’s row. Please note that batch redactions are run on refreshed search results, even if you have not refreshed your search. This means that all selected documents will be redacted, as well as any documents that fit your search criteria but are not displayed in the results table. To display all documents to be redacted, click the Refresh icon in the results table toolbar.
Once you have opened the documents you would like to batch redact, click the Batch icon in the results table toolbar and then choose Redact.
In the batch redaction panel, enter or select the terms or metadata fields you wish to redact. Click on the text box under “Redact a term” to see a dropdown of persistent highlight categories, as well as individual persistent highlights. Click on “Redact metadata fields” to see a dropdown of all visible metadata fields on your documents.
If you select a persistent highlights category, you can expand the name of the category to view the underlying persistent highlights.
To redact a new term or phrase, simply type it into the textbox and hit Enter. You can run and redact simple keyword searches. For example, to redact any instance of the word “California” or the word “Oakland,” you can run a boolean search for “california OR oakland.”
You can also run and redact advanced content searches. For example, you could redact all strings in which the words “summary” and “report” appear within five words of each other. This would redact “summary” and “report,” as well as any (five or fewer) words that appear between them.
You can see a preview of the text to be redacted under “Sample hits” in the batch redaction panel. These live hits are generated from the text of the selected documents in your results table and you can use them to QA your intended redactions. Please note that only 30 terms will generate live hits, although all terms with hits will be redacted.
To the right of Sample Hits, you can see the number of documents that will be affected by the batch redaction per term. You can also see the number of documents that are not redactable because they do not have images with embedded text. Documents that have images, but do not have embedded text, will not be included in this count, but they are also not redactable. Everlaw can only determine whether those documents are not redactable after you conduct the batch action. You can always view a report of which documents were and were not redacted after completing the batch redaction task. Counts of non-redactable hits cannot be generated for metadata.
Once you have entered the terms or phrases you would like to redact, click Configure in the top right corner of the batch redaction panel. This will open a dialog box that lists the terms or phrases to be redacted, and gives options for adding redaction stamps and notes.
If you choose to apply a redaction stamp, all redactions in the batch action will receive the same stamp. If you choose to apply a note during the batch redaction, the same note will appear on all redacted documents. This note will be an attorney note, appearing at the document level, rather than a redaction note linked to the particular redaction. One note is added per redacted document, rather than one note per redaction.
Once you have configured your batch redaction, click Apply. This will start a batch action that can be monitored from the homepage under Batches & Exports.
Please note that if you have chosen to redact a large number of documents (e.g., all documents in your project), the task may take many hours to complete. Once your batch redaction has completed, its batch action card will tell you whether the batch redaction was completed successfully. If none of your documents were batch redacted, you’ll see a red notification like the below. You can click the document count to go to a search of the documents, or click the download icon to view a basic CSV report.
A batch redaction may also be partially successful, meaning that some documents were redacted and others were not. By downloading the report, you can see whether contents and/or metadata were redacted.