Is there a quick way to greek a piece of text in InDesign? As in, replace paragraphs of text with horizontal grey bars?

At the moment, I'm using the Underline options to give the text I want to greek a strikethrough thicker than the text, adjusting it so it covers the text. When that underline is in the text colour, I achieve what I want visually.

However, if I export this as a .pdf, and copy-paste the greeked text, I end up with the original text. That's not what I want, I need this text inaccessible both to the eye and to Acrobat, but I don't want to lose the text data in my InDesign file.

  • 2
    Redacting should always be done with a proper redaction tool otherwise you risk bleeding the text. The nocolor text might not be visible in the pdf but might be in a search or accesibility dataset. Beware, redacting with tools not designed for it is a potential way of getting into legal trouble. Just a heads up.
    – joojaa
    Aug 4, 2020 at 13:26
  • @joojaa With 'bleeding' you mean 'accidentally including in the .pdf anyway', I guess? If that's the case, then I understand what you mean and that's a great addition.
    – Vincent
    Aug 4, 2020 at 14:48
  • Leaking would be a better word i suppose.
    – joojaa
    Aug 4, 2020 at 15:53

1 Answer 1


Set the text color to [None].

Text "with color" will always appear in a PDF, even if there are objects covering it or you select 'white' as its color. The thick underline is a simple rectangle, but as you correctly (and wisely!) double-checked, that actual text still gets rendered first.

However: the PDF rendering model does not have an equivalent for no color. In that case, InDesign calculates the advance widths in case something follows, but the character data is not written to the PDF. Instead, it will only emit horizontal moves only.

The text is still there in InDesign and so the correct character widths, spacing, and justification are all calculated. In case you want to edit the width of the greeked-out text, change its color to something readable, edit, and change it back to [None]. Store all of these attributes – including your obfuscating underline – in a single paragraph or character style, so you can easily toggle it document-wide.

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