Computers, we have been told, will end the need for paper in the office and at home. But for most of us we seem to be generating as much paper or much more that we did with typewriters and mimeograph machines and photo-copiers. Sometimes we print because we need a copy of what is on the screen of our computer or we feel better reading it on paper. Sometimes we print to keep a safe printed copy thinking it is better for some reason.
I am guilty as charged and I print too many things to "paper"! But what if there was a different way? What if we could "print" digitally and not create that physical artifact that we may not need? How about converting that artifact we already have into a digital equivalent?
Today is the day you can start! Welcome to the digital age... The current standard file format for our digital storage system is the PDF file and even our federal court system is standardizing on the PDF/A (archive) standard for going digital. You can view a PDF file on almost any digital device out there. You can simply produce PDF files from any application on a Mac by just printing to PDF. On Windows the newer versions of Microsoft Office have export to PDF. Our smartphones can take pictures and turn them into PDFs and can even convert the pictures of printed pages into text.
Where to begin? Below are a couple of links that should help you start down the road to your own accessible digital archive.
One of my favorite books on the subject is Paperless By David Sparks. David has produced a wonderful ebook on the subject of going paperless. It is a good read and his process is very accessible.
What has brought this whole subject to mind of late are two items I found on the Internet recently and a couple of requests from my clients and friends. One of the podcasts that I listen to is from MacPowerUsers.com. This podcast is a lot about using the MAC and while that may not be of interest to the Windows users if you are at all interested in digital documents you need to listen to Episode 230: The Power of PDFs Yes this is three Lawyers talking about going Paperless. Yes they are Mac users; AND YES it applies to any one on any computer type! They discuss mobile scanning with your iPhone and more
Want the bottom line. Get on the internet or go to a store that sells the Fujitsu ScanSnap scanners and buy one on this years $$$. I just installed an iX500 wireless 25ppm duplex scanner in an accounting office and they are thrilled! There are smaller versions that meet mobile needs but for a office that has a lot of paper the iX500 is among the best. You can scan everything from pictures to business cards, the scanner comes with OCR abilities and a whole lot more.
Make 2015 the year you go digital!