RTF File Redaction

When organizations contact us to redact files, we’re presented with a wide variety of requests.  We might be asked to redact dollar amounts, personally identifiable information, healthcare data, GDPR related information, or something altogether custom.  The files we receive that need redaction also come in a variety of formats from images to PDFs to even rich text files (RTFs).

While the thought of receiving files that aren’t second or third generation scans but are made of perfectly machine printed text sounds great for pinpointing and deidentifying sensitive information, RTFs, as opposed to a traditional text file, contain control characters throughout.  which make the raw file difficult to read.

We’ve heard of others who would redact an RTF file by converting it to an image before running it through redaction software, but this didn’t seem to make a lot of sense to us.  Why edit a source file, opening it up to potential OCR errors and providing a different output, when you can adapt the software offering, keeping clients within their file type comfort zones?  Our software makes redactions while preserving the hidden characters that may exist in between the text.


Above is an example of what an RTF file might look like in its raw form with its control characters compared to how it would look in a word processor.  Our software was able to identify in the RTF that the listed Social Security Number bridged the control characters, so it is properly recognized and fully redacted.

If you have RTF files that you need data retrieved or redacted from, let us know.  Even if you have a file type you’re not sure about, we’re up to the challenge of seeing if our sophisticated software can meet your needs.

If you’d like to learn more about the different file types we work with, and how we can automate your data handling workflows, please reach out today.

About the Author: Chris Mack

Chris is a Marketing Manager at Extract with experience in product development, data analysis, and both traditional and digital marketing.  Chris received his bachelor’s degree in English from Bucknell University and has an MBA from the University of Notre Dame.  A passionate marketer, Chris strives to make complex ideas more accessible to those around him in a compelling way.