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Oct 26 2022

How to Streamline On-platform Redaction and Document Processing for Appian Case Management

by Chris Miljanovski

Hero banner image of redaction document processing in Appian how-to blog

A dynamic case management solution with interactive workflows can help boost productivity and efficiency when managing casework in any industry. For example, government entities and insurance companies look to platforms like Appian to help manage casework and automate complex processes.

Appian, a powerful, low-code platform, allows you to build and customize such a solution quickly. And with PDFTron, you can easily bring powerful document capabilities straight to Appian to create fully customizable document workflows, including redaction workflows.

If you’re looking to redact sensitive information like PII in PDFs, images, and Office documents, look no further than PDFTron’s WebViewer component.

This tutorial explains how easy it is to embed true redaction in an Appian case management solution with PDFTron WebViewer configured specifically for Appian. Visit the

for quick start steps, feature details, examples, and more.  

WebViewer component in the Appian UI

WebViewer saving a file back to the Appian file system

How Does Appian’s Case Management Framework Work with WebViewer?

Like Appian, PDFTron caters to many industries and provides essential building blocks for any document workflow. We’ve partnered with Appian to create a plugin component that is fully customizable and enables you to redact sensitive information from documents. With WebViewer, Users can redact text, images, and parts of images in dynamically loaded PDF, Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and image files.

WebViewer's fast and true redaction works securely on the Appian platform without third-party servers. That means redaction as well as other document processes are performed right in the browser, so sensitive data never leaves your application.

Get Started with WebViewer in Appian

Getting started is easy. Follow the straightforward 

 to install PDFTron’s WebViewer component and the connected system component. To enable redaction, follow the 
configuration options
 and set fullAPI and enableRedaction to 
true

Once you’ve set it up, users can leverage all of WebViewer's rich, out-of-box capabilities to streamline redactions and speed up processing.  

PDFTron’s WebViewer offers redaction features that will make your workflows more efficient, including: 

  • Manual Redaction with the WebViewer UI 
  • Redaction Templates 
  • Automated Redaction of Unstructured Data via Regex 

Let's dig a bit deeper: 

Redact Manually with the WebViewer UI

Highlight and redact manually with the WebViewer UI

Highlight and draw draft redaction areas, then apply redactions permanently.

When selecting the Redaction Ribbon, users can use the redaction tool to mark items manually for review and removal. This works by using the text selection tool while hovering over text or by simply drawing a rectangle around the area you want to redact. Manually placed annotations appear on the redaction panel alongside all searched and highlighted keywords, strings, or patterns.

Now, users can make use of two flexible ways to automate redaction:

Redaction Templates  

Using the xfdfAnnotationData configuration option, you can save or load redaction annotations that a user draws. A great use case for this is regularly redacted documents like invoices, where the redacted areas are always the same. For structured data, users can leverage redaction templates, and for unstructured data like office contracts or PDF reports, they can use the power of Regex search options. 

Redact regions with drawn templates.

Load a template, pick fields to keep, and apply redactions.

Redaction of Unstructured Data via Regex

Users can streamline the redaction process with powerful search features, including regular expression search (Regex) for patterns. Configurable buttons in the UI let them quickly highlight PII patterns like phone numbers, emails, and credit card numbers in unstructured parts of documents, like the body text of a contract or report. Use the redaction panel on the viewer's right-hand side to go over each item marked for redaction.

Regular expression search in action

Instantly highlight sensitive patterns for review with regex search

Redaction Workflow with PDFTron's WebViewer Component

Let's look at a complete redaction workflow to see how WebViewer's features can be effectively combined.

We'll start by loading a document with structured and unstructured parts.

Step 1: Load the Document 

First, users submit a case or request with relevant details about the requested documents. Then, the requested document(s), loaded into WebViewer right inside Appian, can be opened., whether it's a PDF, image, or MS Office file such as DOCX, XLSX, PPTX, or legacy Office formats.

Step 1: load the document for redaction

Step 2: Load Pre-drawn Redaction Marks from Template

Next, users can load annotations/pre-drawn redactions right onto the document as a template using the xfdfAnnotationData configuration option. Pre-defined areas are drawn over fixed coordinates for an address or other fields with PII that need redaction every time. These annotations are then added to the list of marked redactions in the redaction panel.

Step 2: Load pre-drawn redaction templates

Step 3: Accelerate Your Workflow with Automated and Manual Redaction Tools

Next, combine WebViewer’s automated and manual searches to speed up redactions even more. Users can use the automated search to look for patterns such as phone numbers, credit cards, and emails, added to the list of draft redactions. They can also search for strings, such as names of the individuals listed on the document, and add those to the list as well.

Use search patterns (regex) to streamline redactions even more

Step 4: Power Collaboration with User Permissions + Commenting Features 

Finally, users can move to the approval process, which is entirely optional. They can add labels onto redacted areas, which is helpful in adding exemptions or reasons for censoring a piece of information.  

Each redaction annotation has a created date and the name of the user who created the redaction (using the User Display Name configuration option). Once the redacted document is ready for approval, the approver can go in and do the following:  

  • Use the comments panel to approve/reject redaction marks and/or request changes.   
  • Add labels to redacted areas.   
  • Add/Modify/Delete marked redaction areas.   
  • Save the marked areas using XFDF to re-use at a later point.
Use annotations with comments to enable review and approval of redactions.

After users are done and marked/draft redactions are applied, all the document's underlying data is permanently removed, with redactions performed securely in the client application. The redacted file can then be saved and further processed; depending on your workflow, you may mark the initial case or request it as closed/completed.

As a final note, each step demonstrated above is fully configurable to your industry or unique workflow requirements; WebViewer comes with a developer-friendly UI. For example, they can add custom regex patterns to buttons so your users can highlight other repeated PII in documents at a click. Administrators can also leverage WebViewer's complete range of flexible user and role-based security permissions.

Wrap Up

In this post, we showcased how Appian’s low-code case management solution and PDFTron’s WebViewer component come together to bring powerful, endless document capabilities within completely customizable document workflows, including redaction. 

But we could only scratch the surface of what’s possible together. Explore the hundreds of other professional document features WebViewer offers in the 

And when you’re ready to get started, please check out the following: 

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CHRIS MILJANOVSKI

Content Strategist

Content marketer, social media enthusiast, and logophile.

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