The Paperless Office The Future is Here:Your Guide to Living Paperless Today The Future is Here, Your Guide to Living Paperless Today Paperless – a term that is thrown around quite often these days. But what does it mean? And to what extent is it applied? Certainly, we are all still using paper to some degree despite the advances… It seems that Read More is finally catching up. In part, this may be due to the even more popular idea of minimalism. How To Be An Effective Minimalist In Your Everyday Life How To Be An Effective Minimalist In Your Everyday Life More and more people are choosing to embrace minimalism. In certain situations, this can wreak frustrating havoc on your everyday life. With minimal planning you don't have to come to that. Read more . But is it all tree saving nirvana or an A4 nightmare?
We investigate the pros and cons, along with practical advice, so you can make up your mind and move on right away.
Let's first see the advantages of saying goodbye to paper.
Even though the fax machine has become an archaic device, there are still some who insist on hanging on to it with their fingernails. These are the people who have their fax machine number highlighted on their business card. These are the people who cannot accept that something called. “email” was invented, and as a result, they are drowning under a sea of fax paper.
If someone like that insists something MUST be faxed to you, then there are ways to accommodate them, without having to deal with paper jams and downed trees on your conscience. Many online services can assign you a "virtual fax number" and the other person can send a fax to that number. The fax is then converted into an email attachment and sent to you over the networks.
The downside is that the free plans for these sites are incredibly limiting. To get decent service, you'll need to pay a monthly plan.
Some to consider are Maxemail, MyFax, RingCentral, Faxburner, eFax, and FreeFaxtoEmail.
Right now, I have several boxes full of documents going back 15 years. They are sitting in my office waiting to be scanned so that I can finally shred the paper originals. Meanwhile, while my best friend, Procrastinate, stays with me, I'm constantly bumping into the boxes, bumping my hips against them, and generally cursing at them.
When I finally start scanning paper, I'm going to have a huge shredding party and drink every time a document goes through the shredder (by the end, I won't have any legs). But what I'm really dreaming of is having a lot of space in my office. I can use that space to start dancing, or fight the dog. And remind me what color my floor is..
If you're a business that spends a lot of money on storage space for your documents, just think how much you'll save by scanning those documents and burning the whole batch. Employee morale will go through the roof.
The most obvious advantage is, of course, the environment. Too many trees are being cut down and the Amazon rainforest is partly disappearing to feed the pulp and paper industry. Anything we can do to stop that is obviously good news for the planet we live on. We print too much and too much paper is being wasted. By going paperless, you can do your part for Mother Nature.
If you MUST print something Top tips and tools to help with web page printing Helpful tips and tools to help with web page printing No matter how hard you try to go paperless, sometimes you just need to print that one web page. It can be for directions, an article for the class, a handout for a meeting at work, etc. As... Read More Services like PrintWhatYouLike, PrintFriendly, Aardvark, and The Printliminator will help you remove any unnecessary elements from a page before printing, such as ads. But whenever possible, scan and email.
It's a fact of life that paper doesn't last forever. The Magna Carta probably doesn't look as fresh as it did when it was first written. Anne Frank's diary is starting to brown and curl around the edges. The paper just starts to tear, given enough time.
In other words, it's a terrible way to store information long-term. You can never be sure when it will brown, rip, fade, warp, or just get a cup of coffee all over it. But a digital file? As long as you save it in a popular format like PDF or TXT and take regular backups 5 Backup Basics Every Windows User Should Know 5 Backup Basics Every Windows User Should Know We never tire of reminding you to do Backups and keep your data safe. If you're wondering what, how often, and where you should back up your files, we've got straight answers. Read More In twenty or thirty years, it will still look the same as when you first made it.
The problem with paper is that in an office setting, if you want colleagues in other geographic locations to have a copy, you have to mail it. That takes time (even more so if the post office loses it). Time in many cases means lost money, delayed opportunities and growing frustration.
However, if the files are digitized, they can be put online on the company intranet. Quickly set up your own home intranet with ocPortal. Quickly set up your own home intranet with ocPortal. "for your family, like many companies offer to employees? Wouldn't it be convenient to have a central web-based repository? ... Read more or wiki 4 of the Best Personal Wikis to Keep You Organized 4 of the Best Personal Wikis to Keep You Organized What if there was wiki software designed to help you on a personal level You could use it for anything from outlining your novel, keeping track of home improvement projects, or planning... . Read More. Or they can be emailed or put in a cloud storage folder. This allows colleagues in the other office to get their copy immediately, without the need to wait. If the document is uploaded to a collaboration 10+ No-Log Collaboration Tools You Can Use in 10 Seconds 10+ No-Log Collaboration Tools You Can Use in 10 Seconds Collaborating online can save you and your team time. po and money Collaborating quickly can save a little more. These tools are ready to go when you are. No registration required. Read More
But going paperless isn't always the paradise it's made out to be. Technology to the rescue.!
From the beginning, this is the most annoying thing in the whole company. Finding the energy and inclination to sit down and scan each sheet of paper. It's tedious, time consuming, and frankly, I'd rather be watching Baywatch reruns. on TV.
But there are some things you can do to make the job easier. First, go through each sheet of paper and place it in one of the three stacks - definitely scan, maybe scan , and tear . them tear stuff...well...break it and get rid of it.
You can probably get rid of paid bills, receipts for things that have expired warranty, instruction manuals (the manufacturer may have uploaded a PDF version of it. Can't find a user manual for your equipment? These Specialized Websites I Can't Find A User's Manual For Your Equipment? Search These Specialized Websites The meticulous expert with foresight will scan a user's manual and keep a copy on your computer, or search for a copy on software that is commonly available as a PDF on the manufacturer's site (there is a third ... Read More information on their website), bank deposit slips (but NOT account statements), etc. Just take a critical look at it and decide “Do I really need to keep this? “.
Maybe scan it's for things you're not sure about yet and don't want to rush into a decision. Keep them aside.
You will then find that the Definitely scan the stack is probably more manageable. Now create folders on your computer (Taxes, Insurance, Payroll , etc), and when you scan a document, immediately move it to the appropriate folder and add a descriptive name.
There are apps that claim to speed up the process for you (results are mixed in my opinion). Evernote has Scannable, which detects the edges of the document when you point your smartphone camera at it. There's also Photomyne, if you're scanning photos. AlternativeTo has some good alternatives to Scannable if you're looking for something more. I particularly like ScanBot 6 of the Best Apps to Scan, Track and Manage Receipts 6 of the Best Apps to Scan, Track and Manage Receipts These receipt scanner apps will help you scan, save and organize every receipt for your personal or business needs. . Read more.
The more you scan, the more important it becomes to back up everything. The Windows Backup and Restore Guide The Windows Backup and Restore Guide Disasters happen. Unless you're willing to lose your data, you need a good Windows backup routine. We'll show you how to prepare backups and restore them. Read more . Because if your computer decides to kill itself or self-destruct, no backup means no files at all. And in many cases, that can be an unmitigated disaster (especially if you've lost your tax paperwork). In my experience, many companies offer replacement copies of documents for a price, and you can choose to do so. But you can sleep better at night if you have a backup solution nearby or remotely (or both).
At a minimum, you should have a portable hard drive (get at least 1 terabyte of space). If you have a Windows PC The Ultimate Windows 10 Data Backup Guide The Ultimate Windows 10 Data Backup Guide We have summarized each of the backup, restore, recovery and repair options that we can find in Windows 10. Use our simple tips and never despair of loss. data again! Read More of security. Plain and simple. Many of us are familiar with backups and there are many methods and programs to use. Another aspect that… Read More Mac Users The Ultimate Triple Backup Solution For Your Mac [Mac OSX] The Ultimate Triple Backup Solution For Your Mac [Mac OSX] As a developer here at MakeUseOf and as someone who earns all of his income from working online, it's fair to say my computer and the data is quite important. They're perfectly set up for productivity with... Read More your Time Machine's hard drive is large, it might be worth using the drive for both backup and storage purposes. Read more . Regardless of what you decide to use, you should set up some kind of automated system to back up your files at the same time every day, without fail.
Ideally, you should also have a remote backup, in case your place floods or catches fire. But before sending your valuable files to the cloud, make sure to encrypt them in a special folder. 5 Effective Tools to Encrypt Your Secret Files 5 Effective Tools to Encrypt Your Secret Files We need to pay more attention than ever to encryption tools and everything Designed to protect our privacy. With the right tools, keeping our data safe is easy. Read more first. WinRAR and WinZip can encrypt files, just like Veracrypt, and its obsolete predecessor, TrueCrypt TrueCrypt Is Dead:4 Disk Encryption Alternatives for Windows TrueCrypt Is Dead:4 Disk Encryption Alternatives for Windows TrueCrypt is no more, but luckily there are other useful encryption programs . While they may not be exact replacements, they should fit your needs. Read more . Cloud capabilities include Dropbox, Google Drive, Box, and SkyDrive.
Once you've scanned everything, you can go the route of having folders and sub-folders sorted into the date and month category (and even day folders, if you really want precise information). Or door number two is to find some kind of database with OCR-type technology. 4 Free Online OCR Tools Put to the Ultimate Test. 4 Free Online OCR Tools. Put to the ultimate test. With advances in OCR technology, conversion of text and images from your scanned PDF document. in editable text formats it is easier. We tested some free online OCR tools so you don't have to. Read more.
OCR stands for Optical Character Recognition, and it's the technology that reads the printed text on a page and can convert that text to text that can be copied, or can return results to you, based on keywords you give it. This is the technology that powers Evernote How to Use Evernote:The Unofficial Manual How to Use Evernote:The Unofficial Manual Learning to use Evernote on your own takes a lot of time. That's why we've put together this guide to show you how to get the most out of Evernote's most important features. Read More , they will ensure that The book will not always disappear. Discovering obscure works of literature is now easier than ever. Read More Text in Both Documents and Images Top 5 OCR Tools to Extract Text from Images Top 5 OCR Tools to Extract Text from Images When you have reams of paper, how can you turn all your printed text into something a digital program will be? able to recognize and index? Keep good OCR software close by. Read More
In order to search your scanned documents, you clearly need to find a way to easily get what you need right away. So if you go the OCR route, you have to decide. Will you pay Evernote an annual fee and trust them with your sensitive documents? Or are you going to download something and keep it all on your computer?
There are always pros and cons to everything, but some people can tolerate a scam more than others. So it all comes down to what you are willing to accept.
Now, is scanning everything useless and a waste of time? Or is digitization the way of the future? What do you readers say?