Redacting native Excel spreadsheets for eDiscovery

In many modern disputes, crucially relevant information is held in Excel documents which can range in size from the simplest of documents displaying basic financial information to vast reporting documents containing hundreds of sheets, thousands of rows and columns, complex proprietary formulae and hidden cells.

Managing the disclosure of information from within these spreadsheets can be one of the most frustrating challenges of a disclosure exercise and can result in large legal teams and vendors engaging in time-consuming and expensive exercises:

  • imaging or printing excel documents (which can be costly and typically produces less than satisfactory results due to the well-known problem of printing spreadsheets in a presentable way);
  • spending hours drawing black boxes across content spread across many pages;
  • repeating the exercise because a spreadsheet hasn’t imaged or printed in a helpful way which has made it impossible to accurately track the location of the irrelevant and relevant rows or columns; and
  • disclosing largely useless spreadsheets which are difficult to interpret and impossible to manipulate.

Anexsys have developed RTK ExcelRedact to help lawyers take better control of this process, reduce cost and ensure compliance with eDisclosure and eDiscovery rules which favour the disclosure of native format documents.

RTK ExcelRedact allows users to:

  • redact excel documents in a near-native representation, removing the need to image or print documents at great expense;
  • redact sensitive keywords and figures on a ‘Search and Redact’ basis (including automatically locating and redacting social security numbers, date of birth information, and other personal information);
  • apply redactions on a ‘Click to Redact’ basis, including black redactions, white redactions, and text based redactions.
  • review and redact hidden data (such as hidden columns) which is automatically revealed by our solution;
  • review and redact comments and embedded objects revealed by our solution; and
  • control whether formulae should be flattened or disclosed.

In addition, at the end of the process users have the option to disclose documents as redacted natives (with or without formulae), or in a TIFF or PDF format. We even update the text post-redaction so you can disclose the text safe in the knowledge that confidential content has been removed.

RTK ExcelRedact was developed in response to our experience of complex disputes where multiple reviewers spent many weeks completing redaction exercises (detached from a review platform) to great frustration and with average results.   It is ideal for a range of disputes, in particular those where sensitive but undisclosable proprietary formulae are present in spreadsheets, for example pharmaceutical or finance disputes.  RTK ExcelRedact is available as a fully integrated Relativity solution and will shortly be available as a standalone solution.