We look forward to our continued collaboration with Foxit team to provide great value to our customers together.
We’ve gotten a lot of feedback that organizations often need to share documents for which some of the information cannot be disclosed to everyone. They don’t want a multitude of documents and they don’t want to restrict a flow of the information that is less sensitive. What they really want is agency-style redaction behaviors. Today we’re announcing a preview of the offer so you can begin to integrate the concept into your workflows. The final release of the offer will add several additional capabilities shortly.
What it is not
There are many ways of doing redaction, some better than others. Some vendors have approached this problem by deleting the content from the document as the user opens it. This approach has several quite poor side effects:
- Loss of document context (Hmm, this does not make sense. Stuff seems to be deleted).
- Loss of document meaning (am I missing 3 words or 3 FULL pages?)
- The now necessary re-flowing of the pages creates very confusing interactions (Go to Page 22, paragraph 3. I’m there but I don’t see what you’re quoting? I said PAGE TWENTY TWO, PARAGRAPH THREE. I know what you said but that is not what I see).
We can go on but, the net of it, is hacking at the content and quite frankly ruins the authenticity of the overall experience. This is not a suitable approach.
What it is
Microsoft and Foxit have developed a patent pending approach to this problem. We want you to see the document you were meant to see, but without the ‘juicy tidbits’ that are, well, not meant for you to see. Let’s review a few use cases…
You’re a leading pharmaceutical company and you have a drug trial going on with 1000 patients. You have a staff (army) of physicians who need to study the side effects of the drugs. It’s critical they:
- See EVERYTHING in the document except for the patient info.
- Be able to SEARCH for everything in the document except for the patient info using normal search tools without having to open the document.
- Maintain document formatting, flow, pagination, etc.
- Be able to print (single, multiple) documents using normal tools and devices without having to open the document.
- Be able to tell the document owner that this patient needs to be contacted.
It’s pretty easy to see the power of the solution to this pharmaceutical company. Let’s try another, this time with follow along pictures.
You are now a seller and you want to send out order invoices. Today you have to generate TWO copies of the document. One is the actual invoice with prices. The other is the order landing form as they call it. In the paper-based days this was easy. Mail the invoice and glue the landing form to the shipping box. In these days of electronic retail, we could send one doc with different rights. Let’s see what that looks like:
Here you see an order from Contoso. You’ll note a few special things about this particular PDF. First, it has agency-style redactions where the discount and total is. This is to protect the seller’s special pricing for the mega-store Contoso (Smaller companies like Fabrikam don’t get those same deep discounts). The second thing you’ll notice is that there is a header at the top. This header educates the user that this is one of those special dual mode documents.
Zooming in on the header:
The user is taught how to get a viewer to see ‘behind’ the redactions and they are taught how to get a free evaluation tool to learn how to make their own redacted documents. The free Microsoft RMS Sharing app, Foxit Reader and PhantomPDF will all able to show both modes of this file.
The free RMS Sharing application does not yet render these files (coming soon) but the preview version of the Foxit PhantomPDF does. Here’s what it looks like:
In this view, no surprise, the PDF with redaction looks just like it did in the above PDF preview view. However, in this case there is an added ‘yellow bar’ that offers to let you VIEW THE FULL CONTENT. Selecting this button validates that you’re authorized to see the file. If you are – lucky you – you will see the below view of the file:
At this point you can toggle back to the REDACTED VIEW of the file.
Before we walk you through creating your own with the preview offer, let’s talk about the near-magical (and patent pending) abilities of these redacted PDFs.
- You can view the redacted document in ANY PDF viewer, on ANY device. Really.
- The PDF is indexed for search in ANY storage environment: Windows, email, SharePoint, document libraries, specialty enterprise content management systems, custom code using Windows IFilter, etc. For example, you could type XBOX ONE in your Windows start menu and the above file will be found. You can NOT, by design, find it by the 332.49 price however. The redacted information will not be indexed in this case.
- “Quick resizing of the window” or any other trickery does NOT make the black bars slip to reveal the text. In fact, the black bars do not really protected the text as the text is GONE from the PDF. (Our little secret: An RMS protected PDF is hidden inside the redacted PDF. The hidden text is visible in that fully-encrypted copy).
How to create your own
Few would doubt that Word is the defacto tool for document creation and that PDF is an extremely common way of disseminating ‘published’ information. The combination of these two formats and their respective tooling is the only way to enable a mainstream scenario.
So, once you install the Foxit® Redaction Plugin for Microsoft Word, you’ll see this familiar toolbar. In addition to the previously available CREATE PDF and CREATE AND EMAIL actions you now see MARK FOR REDACTION and CREATE REDACTED actions. These do, well, what they say.
One would simply select text and MARK FOR REDACTION as many time as is necessary. Once the content is redacted, the user would invoke the MARK FOR REDACTION action that will save the document out as a redacted PDF and launch the Foxit viewer to preview the content.
Selecting CREATE REDACTED offers the user the familiar RMS templates.
And, just as we started with, the author sees the PDF that others will see:
How to get it
The Foxit® Redaction Plugin for Microsoft Word is available now in Public Preview. We’re worked with Foxit to offer you these general terms:
- 90 days of free to use
- Trial license supports up to 100 users in your organization.
- The product supports Microsoft Word 2013
If you’d like more different terms, please contact Foxit via their web page info.
Our team are working on generally availability for later this year. That will include all of the above in completed for as well as the RMS viewer being able to render these dual-personality PDFs.
For more information on the preview download, please visit this link: www.foxitsoftware.com/redact
In closing, here’s a short interview with Foxit’s VP of Sales, Phil Lee
Dan: Hi Phil, Can you tell us about Foxit Software?
Phil: Foxit Software is a leading software provider of fast, affordable and secure PDF solutions. Businesses and consumers increase productivity by using Foxit’s cost effective products to securely work with PDF documents and forms. Foxit is the #1 pre-installed PDF software, shipped on one-third of all new Windows PCs, including those from HP®, Acer, and ASUS®. Foxit boasts over 325 million users and has sold to over 100,000 customers located in over 200 countries.
Dan: Some customers, like my two examples above, will want automated processing of redacted fields. Is this something Foxit would partner with them on? What services are you looking to offer?
Phil: Foxit would love to partner with these customers on automated processing. In fact, Foxit will be releasing the first round of server based PDF processing tools later this summer. In that roadmap, we do plan to include both RMS and redaction related capabilities. We would be very interested in speaking with customers who are looking for these types of automated processing capabilities for PDF.
Dan: What other PDF related tools does Foxit offer?
Phil: In addition to the Redaction Plugin for Microsoft Word, Foxit provides other PDF centric products that support RMS and SharePoint to allow users to:
Consume and annotate protected PDF on mobile devices in Azure RMS environments through the Foxit Mobile PDF product line.
Server side protection of PDF for SharePoint 2007, 2010, and 2013 environments and Exchange 2010 and 2013 environments with the Foxit PDF Secure RMS Protector.
Protect PDF files through programmatic interfaces in both Active Directory RMS and Azure RM environments with the Foxit RMS PDF Protection Tool.
Windows Search of PDF on SharePoint servers by providing super-fast PDF file indexing allowing users to index a large amount of PDF documents through the Foxit PDF IFilter.
Note: Foxit products support the new RMS protected PPDF file format.
Dan: So finally, if organizations want to test the Redaction feature set, how do they reach you?
Phil: Right now, the Foxit Redaction Plugin is available as a preview that you can download and add to your installed version of Microsoft Word 2013. Users can download the plugin at www.foxitsoftware.com/redact.
Other products can be downloaded from the Foxit Download Center.
And that’s it. I encourage you to try out Foxit Redaction Plugin for Microsoft Word. As always, let us know what you think.
Dan on behalf of the RMS team