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Blackout 4.2 Release Notes: Improved Manual Excel Redaction

Blackout 4.2 is comprised of systemic changes and improvements to the manual Excel redaction experience. These changes are aimed at preserving reviewer work product, significantly improving the Relativity viewer performance when redacting Excels, improving application stability, and overhauling the error handling and debugging for manual redaction.

A webinar recording is available discussing these changes here.


Manual Excel Redaction Agent Processing

Manual Excel redactions created via the Relativity viewer are now placed by the Blackout Agent. Both the right click menu and the Markup Review Pane will now be processed by the next available High Resource worker. This results in significantly less load placed on the Relativity web servers–especially with multiple reviewers performing redactions on a single case.

Agent Processing Notes

  • Blackout Agent resources requirement remains the same

  • Manual markup tasks are placed at the front of the Blackout Agent task queue

  • High resource workers prioritize manual markup work before returning to project tasks

  • With no scanning or matching involved, manual tasks have minimal impact on running projects

This updated process ensures that reviewer work product is saved even in the event of a failure to redact the document. We are also introducing ways to recover from failure, even in destructive scenarios where the native needs to be repaired or Blackout hot-fixed.

Viewer Updates

Several changes have been made to the viewer to help reviewers and case team members understand the state of the document being redacted. The bottom toolbar has been updated with the last saved date and a status button for the document being redacted, updated in real time.

Status information is displayed for each markup on the markup review pane.

Quality Control Status

Comment Redaction Status

Handling Markup Failures

Markup failures are now handled more gracefully providing context to the reviewer on what failed. A new failure handling process has been added to create new ways of diagnosing failed markups and recovering from them.

  • Both the status button and markup review panes are updated upon failure

  • Further markups are prevented from being placed to prevent continuous errors

  • All attempted markups / work product is saved

  • Reviewers can safely move to the next document

Failed Status

Failure Ribbon

Quality Control

A new failure notification has been added that is configured in the Blackout system admin tab under configuration. Configuring this setting will result in an email being sent with details about the failed manual markup.

Finally, the most important addition to resolving and working through failed documents is included on a new workspace tab called Manual Failures. This tab provides the ability to quickly export errors and share them with Milyli or retry applying markups on documents that have failed markups.

Markup Review Pane Updates

In addition to the aforementioned status information, several improvements have been made to the markup review panes.

  • The comments pane has been updated to display the original comment and the redacted comment

  • The headers and footers pane has been re-worked so that all information, including the original header/footer and the redacted version, are displayed on a single page

  • The redact button has been re-worked so that it functions the same on each pane

We've also moved the sheet name redaction tool from the bottom toolbar to a new pane. This change expedites the ability to quickly review and redact sheet names without having to go from sheet to sheet. In addition, hidden and empty sheets are clearly noted by this tool.


Relativity Viewer
  • Removed Unhide Excel Content button

  • Removed Redact Sheet Name button

  • Viewer no longer forces a reload when placing first markup on a markup set

  • Added document last updated date

  • Added document markup status button

  • Added disabled state for toolbar buttons when document is processing or failed

  • Added loading indicator for Blackout Markup Review Pane

  • All manual markups have been offloaded to the high resource worker of the Blackout Agent

  • Documents are prevented from further modification upon encountering a failure to apply a markup

Markup Review Pane (Quality Control)
  • Added status indicators for processing markups

  • Added status indicators for failed markups

Spreadsheet Chart Redaction Pane
  • Added redacting status indicator

  • Added ability to unredact charts

  • Added unredact status indicator

Comment Redaction Pane
  • Added original comment column

  • Added redacted button

  • Added redact button

  • Added redaction status indicator

Header and Footers Redaction Pane
  • Removed drop down for switching between header and footer locations

  • Added sheet name column

  • Added location column

  • Added original text column

  • Added redact button

  • Added redaction status indicator

Object Redaction Pane
  • Added ability to unredact objects

  • Added redaction status indicator

  • Added unredact status indicator

(New) Sheet Redaction Pane
  • Added sheet redaction pane to Markup Review Panel

  • Added original sheet name

  • Added sheet state indicator (hidden or empty)

  • Added redacted sheet name

  • Added redaction status indicator

Unhide Excel Content Mass Action
  • Documents are now prepared by high resource workers on the Blackout Agent

  • It is now safe to close the mass action pop-up once documents start processing

  • Prepare progress is updated as documents are successfully prepared

  • Documents that fail to prepare are displayed on the Manual Failures tab

  • Failure errors are included in the download manual errors CSV

Convert Spreadsheet Markups
  • Convert spreadsheet markups has been updated to work with markup failures

  • Failed markups are converted to the new type

  • Reapplying failed markups will apply the markup as the converted markup type

External Redactions
  • Documents that are flagged for external redaction and have failed markups are marked on the external redaction tab

  • Uploading a new spreadsheet via external redaction will clear failed markups

(New) Manual Failures Tab
  • Added manual failures tab

  • Added table that displays documents with any markups that failed to apply

  • Added the ability to retry applying all failed markups for documents with failed markups

  • Added the ability to remove all failed markups from the document and reset it

  • Added the ability to download manual failure errors from the workspace

(New) Manual Failure Notifications
  • Added configuration to Blackout Admin > Configuration tab for email notifications

  • Email notifications with error details are sent to the configured email addresses

Security Updates
  • Added additional anti-forgery verification tokens

  • Added additional cookie security

Bug Fixes

  • Improved a performance edge case around reading HOCR information from the database

  • Fixed several minor Excel file support issues based on customer provided documents

  • Fixed an issue preventing redact cell text and view original modals from displaying as a text area

  • Fixed an issue preventing workspaces from being created if the template had Blackout installed on it

  • Updated the Blackout metric recording to account for metrics with ids over max integer size

  • Updated or removed all third party or open source development libraries with high priority vulnerabilities

  • The Clear Markup Set button now only displays on PDFs if there are markups present

  • Fixed an issue that would result in an ambiguous error during an image project if there were no images

  • Fixed an issue where difference between local and server time would result in project time elapsed to be negative

  • Fixed an issue where redacting or clearing out certain chart titles on some XLS documents would result in a corrupted copy

  • Fixed an issue where some charts could not be flattened during the Excel prepare step

  • Fixed an issue where some HOCR line classes were being ignored when checking OCR results for matches

Learn more about 4.2.



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