The Complete Real Paperless Office

How To Eliminate Paper Completely From Your Life and Embrace the Digital Age
End the document “paper trail” by digitizing, organizing, filling out, faxing and performing everything in between on your Mac!

There is no doubt that over the last few years, paper has become a great concern for me in my personal and professional life.

With all of the important documents that are recommended or required to be retained, it can quickly become very challenging to organize, sort, file, retrieve and eventually discard or recycle the enormous amount of paper that is accumulated.

A few weeks ago, I came across an article on Macworld titled “The real paperless office”. It was actually an update to an article written the year before by the same author.

The two articles were very informative and well written. If you want an electronic file cabinet then the solutions put forth in the Macworld articles should suffice.

However, in a real office or even home environment, digitizing and filing important documents is only part of the picture. Oftentimes documents that are sent to you via mail or fax require you to review, complete, annotate or sign them.

After the appropriate actions are taken, one copy of the completed document should be “filed” with you and one copy returned or forwarded to the receiving party through whatever process is recommended or requested.

As an example, let’s say a client or patient requested that you sign and date an emailed document and that the completed form be faxed to a third party.

You could print the document, complete the form, sign and date it, scan and file it into your system, fax it through your fax machine, shred the paper document then buy more ink and paper for your all-in-one scanner-fax-printer. 

This process doesn’t seem very efficient and it increases your overhead by using paper and ink. It is also not that environmentally friendly, even if you choose to recycle.

So what is a better solution? Read on…..

A more streamlined workflow would look something like this:

The email attachment is received from your client or patient, it is digitally filled out with your signature and faxed directly to the desired recipient, all this is performed on your Mac, digitally.

No need to consume any additional natural resources such as paper or ink.

What hardware and software is required to achieve this level of “digital and paperless” Zen?

In my office, I use the Fujitsu ScanSnap S500M Scanner (Currently discontinued and replaced by the newer model S510M).

It is an exceptional compact sheet-fed scanner for home or small business. It can scan 18 pages per minute and captures 36 images when scanning both sides of the paper simultaneously.

DEVONthink Pro Office: A robust information management application. It works well with the Fujitsu scansnap and can instantly create searchable PDF documents.

It can import and export, organize, group and search important documents. Data can be accessed locally, via the web and on the iPhone.

PDFpen: A powerful PDF editing application. In truly paperless fashion, fill out and make corrections to original PDF documents, sign documents with your actual signature to send via email or electronic fax.

PageSender: A very capable software for an electronic paperless fax solution that integrates nicely with Mac OS X and all the applications mentioned above.  I’ve reviewed this application in more detail here.

The scanner and software just mentioned will be reviewed in more detail over the next few weeks, if they have not been already.

I will elaborate further on how to utilize these products and more, to create an efficient, progressive, environmentally sensitive, cutting edge, paperless and digital office.*

Stay tuned……..

*Can be applied to home use as well.

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