Catalyst’s New Automated Redaction Toolset is Redaction on Steroids

By on . Posted in Insight

Catalyst_RedactionsRedaction is a necessary evil of e-discovery review. While essential to protecting privileged and confidential information, it can be cumbersome and time-consuming to go through a document and draw black boxes over individual words and phrases.

That’s why a new feature in Catalyst Insight should be welcome news to document reviewers everywhere. Called Automated Redaction, it is a major enhancement of Catalyst Insight’s redaction tool, enabling users to make redactions with documents more easily, quickly make multiple redactions, and better QC redactions after they’re made.

The key features of this new Automated Redaction tool are:

  • Mass redactions (find and redact).
  • Text-select redaction.
  • Pattern redactions.
  • Page-range redactions.
  • Better context of redactions.

Let’s go through each of those.

Mass Redactions

This feature combines redacting with search so that multiple occurrences of a word or phrase within a document can be redacted in just a couple of clicks.


Select items from search results to redact them in the document.

Say you want to redact all instances in a document of the name of attorney Mary Smith. Simply search for Mary Smith to generate a results list showing all occurrences of the name within the document. To redact them all, simply click a checkbox to select all the hits, select a reason for the redactions (such as “privileged”) and click Redact.

To redact only selected occurrences, simply check the boxes next to each item in the search list that you want to redact, select the reason for the redaction, and then click Redact.

That’s all there is to it. In just a couple of clicks, you’ve redacted every instance of the name. That is a lot easier than going through the entire document, hunting for each instance, and then having to draw a redaction box over each one.

Text-Select Redaction

If you’ve performed redactions before, you’re probably familiar with the “black box” – the process of drawing a block over a portion of a document that you want to redact. If so, you’ve probably thought to yourself, “Wouldn’t it be easier to just select the text with my cursor?”

Now you can. The new text-select redaction feature lets you move your cursor over any portion of text to redact it. Here again, you will be prompted to select a reason for the redaction. However, you will not be prompted for a reason for subsequent redactions; the reason you first chose will be automatically applied until you need to change it.


Using text-select redaction, move your cursor over any portion of text to redact it.

The text-select option is in addition to the block-select option. Block redaction will continue to be Insight’s default redaction tool. For block redaction, simply draw a box over the portion of the document to be redacted and hit the redact button. As with text-select redaction, the reason you previously chose for the redaction will continue to be automatically applied.

As you view a document, buttons at the top of the viewer let you choose among the different redaction tools – block, text or full-page.

Pattern Redactions

With pattern redactions, you can automate the process of redacting pattern-based numerical phrases, such as social security numbers, phone numbers and zip codes. Simply identify the type of pattern you wish to redact and the tool will assist you in automatically redacting all occurrences of that pattern.

Full-Page Redactions

This feature assists the reviewer in quickly applying full-page redactions over multiple pages. The pages need not be in serial order.

To use this feature, click the Full Page redaction button at the top of the viewer, then indicate the pages to be redacted. For example, you could enter “1-2, 49-50”or you could select “All Pages.” The pages you designate will then have full-page redactions applied to them.

Better Context of Redaction

It is now easier to double-check your own redactions or QC someone else’s. At any time while you’re in a document, you can turn on opacity to see what is underneath a redaction. Toggling opacity on or off is done by clicking the “Hide Redactions” button.

When you toggle opacity on, different types of redactions show up with different highlight colors. Thus, you will be able to see at a glance which redactions were made using block select and which were made using text select.


Open the Redaction List to see and manage all redactions in the document.

With the click of another button, you can bring up a list of all the redactions that exist within a document. This list can be filtered by redaction type. Thus, if you want to see only block redactions, you can filter the list to show only those. You can use this feature to navigate through redactions or to jump to a specific redaction by clicking on its hyperlink. You can also use this to edit redactions in bulk.

Some Final Notes

Upon the initial launch of this new Automated Redaction feature, three of these features will not work with PDF files. Mass redactions, text-select redactions and pattern redactions currently work only with text files. We expect to remedy this in the near future. The block redaction and full-page redaction tools can be used with any file type.

And, of course, redactions using any of these tools on any type of file can be output as PDF files for production.

The bottom line is that redaction doesn’t have to be cumbersome and time consuming. With Insight’s Automated Redaction, even large documents can be redacted more quickly and with less effort. Not only does that make the reviewers’ work easier, but it also speeds the overall review. And less time in review equals less cost.


About Bob Ambrogi

Bob is known internationally for his expertise in the Internet and legal technology. He held the top editorial positions at the two leading national U.S. legal newspapers, the National Law Journal and Lawyers USA. A long-time advisor to Catalyst, Bob now divides his time between law practice and media consulting. He writes two blogs, LawSites and MediaLaw, co-authors's Legal Blog Watch, and co-hosts the weekly legal-affairs podcast Lawyer2Lawyer. A 1980 graduate of Boston College Law School, Bob is a life member of the Massachusetts Bar Foundation and an active member of the Massachusetts Bar Association, which honored him in 1994 with its President's Award.