Redacting text means that you hide sensitive information from view of the general public. You see this a lot in the government when entire sections of content are blacked out. This is to prevent private and confidential information being readily available.
It’s important to note that redacting text should not alter the content of your posts and pages. While some tools may require you to manually delete keywords or phrases, most will leave the content while adding shortcodes to hide it.
In this tutorial, we’ll show you how to redact text in the easiest way for WordPress.
Why Would You Want to Redact Text?
Removing sensitive text from the eyes of the public has been around for many years. It’s a way to ensure privacy while still potentially being useful to the reader. Learning how to redact that text can potentially save yourself and guests a great deal of trouble.
Here are a few reasons why you would want to hide certain pieces of information.
Document Copy Examples
A lot of people will use examples of actual documents for a variety of purposes. For instance, someone who wants to demonstrate a perfect resume may want to hide his or her personal information. Perhaps a real estate company wants to show contracts without worrying about giving away specific data.
Sharing Official Documents
Most of the time, those who share official documents will redact text that could compromise personal or even national security. This is perhaps one of the most common uses of redaction.
Making a Paywall
Some will use redaction as a way to generate a few extra dollars from their content. Essentially, you’ll only show snippets of the content unless someone pays for access privileges.
If you have many authors and contributors in WordPress, it can be difficult for editors to censor certain information from the public. Having a way to automatically redact specific words and terms can prevent data from accidentally being leaked.
This is also helpful if you want to create a family-friendly dynamic and remove vulgarities from content.
Making a Game Out of It
Perhaps you want to give your readers a text-based guessing game. For example, you can redact a certain piece of text and let your readers guess the word.
How to Redact Text in WordPress
Redacting text is relatively simple in WordPress. For the most part, all it needs is a click of the mouse to hide material.
First, you will need to install and activate the “Eyes Only” plugin for WordPress. This can be found by going to the Plugins section of your WordPress dashboard.
You can also search through the other available plugins if you want to find something that fits your specific needs. However, Eyes Only is perhaps one of the more reliable and useful plugins for hiding pieces of text.
Once you install this plugin, a new button will appear on both the visual and text editors in post and pages. In the visual editor, it will look like a series of lines with text blackouts. In the HTML editor, the button will actually be labeled, “redact.”
Highlight the piece of text you want to redact with the mouse cursor. Once you click on the redaction buttons, a shortcode will be automatically placed within the post or page. This will not affect the actually text of your piece, though. Technically, the text will still be there.
You can also start and end the redaction by putting in the following shortcodes: [redact] to start and [/redact] to end.
Removing the Redaction
When you want to remove the actual redaction and show the text to everyone, simply delete the shortcodes that Eyes Only places before and after the content.
Using Automatic Redaction
Eyes Only also gives you the ability to automatically redact certain pieces of content. For example, removing someone’s name or address can protect the individual’s identity. To do this:
Go to the “Settings” area of your WordPress dashboard and click on “Eyes Only.”
In the settings for Eyes Only, you can click the “Add New” button on the top.
Input the text you want to hide, such as a specific name or phrase.
Next, put in a “replacement” for that specific term. If you leave this blank, WordPress will also replace the text with a blank space.
Once you have the terms completed, you can click the “Add” button on the bottom right of the tool.
Click the “Save Changes” on the bottom left and WordPress will begin redacting and replacing those terms.
NOTE: You will still see text correctly if you remain logged in as the administrator. New visitors will see the redaction.
Other Useful Redaction Plugins
Although Eyes Only is perhaps one of the more efficient ways to redact text, there are a couple of others that may pique your interest. Go to the “Add Plugins” part of WordPress and search for “redact.”
Guerilla’s Redacted Text
The Guerilla’s Redacted Text plugin is easy to use, but it really doesn’t redact text. Instead, you have to actually delete the content and put in the redacting shortcodes to add the black bar. This is not only unwieldy, it also makes it more difficult to change later on. If the information is deemed as public, you have to add it back into the post or page in WordPress.
If you want to use a blacklist of terms in your blog for redaction, WP Redactor may be of some use. This will let you place certain “patterns” for WordPress to look for. If an author uses any of those anywhere in copy, WP Redactor will automatically remove them from view. You can also input certain user roles of who can see the text live. This could be a good way to make money by selling subscriptions by creating those roles for people who pay so they can read the content.
Who Can View the Redacted Material?
The plugin itself will actually govern who is able to read the redacted words as normal. For instance, Eyes Only allows anyone with administrator privileges to view the content as it was written. WP Redactor will allow you to use roles as to who can see the material.
When you’re able redact text in WordPress, you open a door to new possibilities of things you can offer on your website. Whether it’s company information or author data, it can all be hidden from view of the general public. Protect the intellectual assets of yourself and the company. Not everyone needs to see every piece of material you put on the Internet.
What kinds of things would you like to redact in WordPress? What kinds of security measures do you have in place to protect the content of your site?