Manual or Automatic? A Breakdown of Redaction Methods

What is better? Manual or automatic? 
How do they work? Which one to choose? Why?

No, this isn’t an article about buying cars.  Although it may sound like it, I'm actually talking about redaction software.  There are some striking parallels when comparing car purchases and redaction software purchases.  I know, it sounds a little crazy but bear with me.  

Aside from the fact that modern cars are essentially computers on wheels, on average containing thirty computers and millions of lines of code, buying a car is similar to buying redaction software in a more practical way.  

Those of you old enough to remember the T.V. show M.A.S.H. probably remember having to choose between an automatic and manual transmission when choosing options for your new car. Nowadays cars typically come standard with an automatic transmission - that is a car that shift gears automatically without any driver intervention required.  However, a few decades ago it was common to have to choose the optional automatic transmission if you didn't want to have to manually change gears as you drove the car.

Redaction software is going through the same evolutionary changes that cars experienced 30 years ago. There are many similarities between manual redactions and manual transmission along with similarities between automatic redaction and automatic vehicles. 


  • Usually cost less upfront
  • Require more effort to operate
  • Are best in less populated areas


  • Cost a little more to purchase
  • Require far less effort to use
  • Best in more densely populated areas

Just like picking a car, choosing an automatic redaction solution requires a solid understanding of your current and future needs.  If you have a small office with a couple users – a Honda Civic 6-speed transmission or manual redaction tool may work fine.  If you are in a larger office, or are expecting your volume to grow – an SUV or automated redaction solution will provide more versatility, additional bells and whistles, and custom features tailored to your specific needs.

About the Author: Troy Burke

With 30 years of experience providing clients with stellar service and strategic solutions for growth and development, Troy is committed to ensuring his customers receive the highest quality solution, training and support with every implementation. He frequently speaks on the topic of redaction and is actively involved with National Association of Court Management, Property Records Industry Association and several other government organizations.