We wrote a blog post several years ago about apps for operating a paperless office. As you know, technology changes quickly. We thought it would be a good time to take a look at this topic again and offer new/modern solutions. A paperless office is even more convenient when working remotely, which everyone seems to be doing nowadays. Here are some of our latest picks for apps that can help you go paperless.
The first thing you need is an app to generate PDF files. This avoids the need to print things to begin with. You can generate a PDF from just about anything,… a Word document, an Excel file, a web page, etc. If you can print it, you can PDF it!
If you’re a Mac user, you’re in luck. Mac’s come with a built-in PDF generator. Simply go to print and you’ll see a drop down list for PDF > Save as PDF. If you’re a PC user, you’ll need to download an app. For simple printing, CutePDF is available for free. For more advanced features such as PDF editing, signing, and form creation, Adobe Acrobat is a reliable solution.
For physical documents that you’d like to convert to a PDF, you’ll need a scanner. You can go with a traditional scanner that sits on your desk or use one of many phone apps available. Let’s chat quickly about pros and cons of each.
Physical scanners normally create cleaner PDF files since paper lies flat when scanned, reducing wrinkles and distortions. You also have options for image quality. By selecting pure black and white and reducing the DPI, you can generate smaller file sizes. Additionally, scanners with paper feeders allow you to easily scan multi-page files.
Scanning apps offer the benefit of mobility and convenience. You can pull out your smart phone and scan a document from anywhere. The downside is that most create fairly large file sizes. It can also be time consuming to scan multiple pages.
File Storage & Sharing
Whether you use a PDF writer or scan documents, you must decide where to safely store them. One of the most essential apps for operating a paperless office is a cloud storage system. Using services like DropBox allows you to store files locally, have backups to the cloud, and access documents from multiple devices. This is the ideal solution. It means no more carrying file folders wherever you go. You only need your laptop or smart phone to retrieve any document from anywhere. You can also easily share large files without worrying about email file size limits.
The final component to going paperless is obtaining signatures digitally. Again, there are an abundance of services for this. One of our favorite options is SignNow. Not only does it enable you to send documents for digital signatures, but you can also create a static link for contract templates that can be used over and over again. It’s a big time saver!
Summary of Apps for Operating a Paperless Office
These 4 tools cover the most essential apps for operating a paperless office. Note that any links to third party services above are merely examples of options available. We are neither affiliated with these companies nor do we receive any compensation for linking to them. Before selecting any apps, be sure to perform your own due diligence. Every business is unique and you should evaluate apps based on your particular needs.