The Difference Between Redlining and Blacklining Contracts

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Throughout the centuries, men have created historical moments and built impactful relationships based on blood oaths, handshakes, and promises. While these methods have proven to bind institutions and people together, they have been rendered irrelevant and insufficient as society evolved and technology advanced.

When building relationships and completing business transactions today, contracts are expected to be drafted and signed by all concerned parties. Contracts are crucial—these written documents are often non-negotiables that every business needs to run its operations successfully.

The Importance of Contracts

Contracts are an inevitable part of making business decisions, no matter what they are. Depending on how you use them, contracts can become a company’s primary source of revenue and aid in building relationships for an organization. In this landscape of uncertainties and inconsistencies, contracts provide surety and clarity.

Having a visual relationship in the form of a written legal document ensures that both parties become accountable for their set terms and live up to what they’ve agreed on. With a carefully drafted contract, both sides will get the best deal possible, leading to a mutually beneficial relationship.

As long as the contract has undergone the necessary lifecycle management, both sides are sure to feel confident in the outcome after signing a contract.

Redlining: An Essential Collaboration and Communication Tool

Before you sign a contract, the document will have to go through several stages of the contract lifecycle. Every step of the contract lifecycle is crucial to reaching an agreement that both parties are happy with, but one of the most important of them all is perhaps the contract negotiation.

Negotiating and redlining are never fun, but they are necessary. Redlining or editing a contract by one or more parties occurs before signing the document. Throughout the redline process, the parties can make changes to terms, the order of sections, omitting a section, and grammar edits.

Redlining sounds simple enough, as it seems like all you’ll have to do is read over the contract and make changes you think are necessary, but it can be complex, depending on the number of parties, changes, and versions involved. Even though contract redlining software makes things easier, it can take some time to reach a clean, final copy.

What About Blacklining?

Blacklining and redlining mean the same thing! The only difference between these two terms is whether the contract is the original document with the red marks, or the copied version printed out from a copy machine, which made the red marks turn black, hence the term “blackline.”

People used to refer to a redlined document as blacklined, but as technology became more advanced and sending soft copies of documents online became the norm, people who have experienced redlining before contract redlining software only use the term these days.


No business can thrive and grow without drafting and signing contracts with its employees and partners. With a contract, you can build healthy communication within and outside the company. As long as it goes through the necessary contract lifecycle, your contracts can open up collaboration across departments and signify the start of a business relationship!

Are you having a tough time managing contracts for your business? Then, let Anapact help! Our contract redlining software can help every department involved in any contracting across the enterprise. Your contracts will not only be documented and managed but will also become dynamic, reportable. Get a demo today!

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- About the Author

Picture of Louis Balla
Louis Balla
Louis is the Co-Founder of Anapact and partner at Nuage, a top rated ERP consulting firm based in Venice Beach, California.