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Take Control of Your Paperless Office
Price
$15.00
Pages
149
Formats
PDF EPUB Mobi
Version
3.0
Published
Mar 22, 2017
The Author

Joe Kissell has written more than 60 books about technology, including many popular Take Control ebooks. He runs Joe On Tech and is also a contributing editor of TidBITS and a senior contributor to Macworld.

Take Control of Your Paperless Office, Third Edition

Digitize your documents while reducing incoming and outgoing paper!

Join Joe Kissell as he helps you clear the chaos of an office overflowing with paper. With Joe’s guidance you can develop a personal clean-up strategy and choose your Mac-compatible tools—a scanner and the software you need to perform OCR (optical character recognition)—plus devices and services for storing your digitized documents and tools to categorize, locate, and view your digital document collections.

Once you have your gear in hand, Joe shows you how to convert your paper documents to digitized files and gives you ideas for how to organize your office workflow, explaining how to develop day-to-day techniques that reduce the amount of time you spend pressing buttons, launching software, and managing documents.

Bonus! The book also comes with downloadable “folder action” AppleScripts that simplify the process of OCR-ing PDFs in Adobe Acrobat, ABBYY FineReader Express, PDFpen/PDFpenPro, and Readiris. Save or move a PDF in the appropriate folder, and the script does the rest!

More Info

You’ll master these paper-reducing skills:

  • Scanning or photographing documents you find while out and about—business cards, receipts, menus, flyers, and more—so you keep only digitized versions. Joe discusses a variety of mobile scanning options, with an emphasis on using a camera-equipped iOS device, but with mention of a few options for Android smartphones.

  • Creating a digitized image of your signature so you can sign and share documents digitally, rather than printing them for the sole purpose of signing them with a pen.

  • Setting up your computer to send and receive faxes so you can avoid using a physical fax machine with paper input and output. Joe describes online fax services and using a fax modem (note that fax modem support is not available in macOS 10.12 Sierra).

Joe also discusses standard techniques for reducing paper—paperless billing, online bank statements, reducing unwanted catalogs and junk mail, and more, as well as less common practices, such as paperless postal mail services and check depositing services.

You’ll find answers to numerous questions, including:

  • What is a “searchable PDF,” and why is it key to a paperless office?
  • What differentiates “document scanners” from other types of scanners?
  • What’s a book scanner?
  • What if I need a mobile, portable scanner?
  • What does TWAIN stand for, and should my scanner support it?
  • Why do I need OCR software, and what features should I look for?
  • What scanners and OCR products does Joe recommend?
  • How can I automate my workflow for scanning documents?
  • How should I name and file my digitized documents?
  • What paper documents should I keep in physical form?
  • How do I use common tools to add a signature to a PDF?
  • How can I access my digital documents remotely?
  • How should I back up my important digital documents?
What's New

What’s New in the Third Edition

Since the previous version of this book was published, quite a few things have changed with regard to the hardware, software, and ser­vices used in paperless offices. This edition brings the book up to date with the latest technologies and advice. The most significant changes I made are as follows:

  • Revised What’s New in the Paperless Office to cover changes in scanners, OCR software (including Acrobat Pro DC), cloud services, and more

  • Added a Privacy and Scanned Documents in the Cloud sidebar about security and privacy considerations for scanned documents, including encryption

  • Expanded and updated descriptions of desktop, convertible, and portable scanners in Pick a Mac-compatible Scanner, and added a new category: Book Scanners

  • Updated Pick a Mac OCR Package to cover Acrobat Pro DC and Vuescan, as well as newer versions of Evernote, Neat, and Readiris

  • Added a Scan to Notes sidebar about automatically adding scanned documents to Apple’s Notes app

  • Included a topic that outlines my own process for naming and saving scanned documents; see How I Name and File Scans

  • Updated Automate OCR, and the various AppleScripts it refers to, to cover Acrobat Pro DC, ABBYY FineReader Express, and newer versions of Readiris

  • Added a sidebar, Using Hazel in Place of Folder Action Scripts, about an alternative automation approach

  • Offered additional workflow guidance in Choose a Naming and Filing Strategy and Scan All Incoming Paper Immediately, and added a suggestion in the sidebar What If You Can’t Scan Something?

  • Updated recommendations for various categories of mobile apps in Pick an iOS Scanning App, and removed coverage of BlackBerry and Windows Phone

  • Updated the instructions in Always Print to PDF When Possible to cover more recent versions of iOS

  • Completely overhauled the instructions to Add a Signature with Acrobat Pro to support Acrobat Pro DC

  • Modified Use a Modem for Incoming Faxes and Use a Modem for Outgoing Faxes to address the fact that macOS 10.12 Sierra no longer directly supports fax modems

  • Added several references to relevant Take Control books, including Take Control of Your Digital Legacy (which discusses scanning photos and other documents, as well as long-term archival storage strategies)

FAQ

Is this book useful to me if I want to work with a Windows computer?

The book assumes that you are using a Mac, so some topics are Mac-centric, especially those that describe scanning software, OCR software, PDF-manipulation software, and other tools that you’d be using on a desktop computer. However, the discussions of scanner hardware, features to look for in scanning/OCR/PDF software, overall workflow, online storage options, and integration with handheld devices would be (nearly entirely) equally applicable.

The paperless office is a myth. Why did you bother publishing this book? And, why should I bother to read it?

Honestly, I (Tonya) wondered the same thing until I started editing the manuscript. However, while editing, I learned that there is such a thing as a document scanner. Unlike the flatbed scanner built into my printer, a document scanner whips through piles of paper in almost no time at all. I am planning to purchase one, and I am excited about digitizing about 25% of my filing cabinet—papers that I want to keep but it wouldn’t be a crisis if my backup system ate them. And, that will save me from instead having to buy a new filing cabinet! By editing the manuscript, I also finally learned how to digitize my handwritten signature and use it on PDFs so that I can sign and fax documents without paper.

2014 update: I bought a Fujitsu ScanSnap S1300 document scanner. I wrote about how much I like it in a TidBITS article, Dragging School Papers into the 21st Century with a ScanSnap. Although I still don’t have a paperless office in the sense of no paper, I do have a paper-less office with far less paper than I would otherwise. And, I find that the firms and contractors who I work with are becoming increasingly comfortable with sending me PDFs from the get-go, so more of my “paper” arrives digitally.

Is this book agnostic about filing software? I ask because I know that you’ve published a book about DEVONthink, and I am a committed EagleFiler user.

The book mentions EagleFiler, but because it doesn’t do OCR, it’s not discussed at any length. However, DEVONthink isn’t discussed at any significant length either because of Take Control of Getting Started with DEVONthink 2—DEVONthink gets more mentions because of the OCR aspect of things, but I don’t think you’d have trouble applying the recommendations to EagleFiler.

Should I buy Take Control of Getting Started with DEVONthink 2 because I will need DEVONthink 2 in order to use the “Paperless Office” book?

Take Control of Your Paperless Office is broad—it talks about choosing a scanner, setting up an office workflow, capturing documents with an iOS device or digital camera, backing up and sharing digital documents, cutting down on incoming and outgoing paper—lots of topics. It says a few things about DEVONthink, but really only enough to help you decide if that’s a tool you’d like to use for OCR and/or document management. If you already use DEVONthink, or suspect that you are DEVONthink kind of person, then you’ll probably want both books.

The DEVONthink book, on the other hand, is deep—it tells you everything you need to know to use that particular tool effectively. But it doesn’t say much about all the other paperless office topics.

Update Plans

March 22, 2017 — We are so pleased to have updated this book! It’s quite possible that we’ll update it again, but for now we have no particular plans for creating an update. Please tell your friends about this title… the more this book sells, the more likely we’ll be able to keep it current.

Posted by Tonya Engst