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How to Remove Censor Bars From a Photo

Updated April 17, 2017

The censor bar probably hasn't seen a busier day since Feb. 1, 2001, when performer Janet Jackson had an exposing "wardrobe malfunction" at the Super Bowl. Digital publications frequently use censor bars on an image or photo to conceal nudity, obscure graphic content and protect a person's identity or private information. Without using quality photo-editing software, drawing a censor bar onto a digital image is tantamount to taking a black marker to the anatomy of Leonardo da Vinci's "Vetruvian Man." The results are almost irreversible. However, you can try one last-resort trick using any version of Adobe Photoshop.

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  1. Open your digital image using Adobe Photoshop.

  2. Guide your cursor to the action menu and select "Edit." Choose "Layers." A palette should appear on the screen.

  3. Scroll through the layers in the palette. There should be at least one layer, which would be the main image. If you're lucky, you'll find multiple layers that create a composite. One of the layers might have a single layer with a black bar -- or even a fuzzy or pixelated white box -- surrounded by nothing.

  4. Select that layer with your cursor and right-click. It should give you a prompt asking if you'd like to delete that layer. Click "Yes." Alternatively, you could also drag the layer into the dustbin at the bottom of the layers palette.

  5. Save the image by pressing the "Control" and "S" key at the same time. Say "Yes" to any prompt that asks your permission.

  6. Tip

    Some mid-grade photo-editing programs, such as Arc Photo Draw or PhotoEdit, also feature a layers palette that works the same way.

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Things You'll Need

  • Adobe Photoshop software

About the Author

Rick Lopez

Rick Lopez is a writer for AOL News and a freelance copy editor. He started reporting for Hearst Newspapers in 1995 and worked at several newspapers including "The New York Sun" and "The New York Blade." He is an alumnus of the Vidal M. Trevino School of Communications and Fine Arts, where he studied mass communications.

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