For as long as I can remember, pundits have been promising that the digital age would usher in a “paper free” existence. As I look around my office, I would love to know exactly when that is arriving so I can stop having piles of paper.
Luckily, there are some solutions that will let you cut down on the number of printers you have in your life, and even let you skip the task of actually printing. It’s just a matter of what you prefer, and how comfortable you are with certain technologies.
One thing that you can definitely eliminate is the need for a separate printer at home and at work. Thanks to solutions such as HP’s ePrint, you can now send an email to your work printer from home (or anywhere else) that tells it to print whatever you attach. That document will be waiting for you at work when you arrive in the morning. You do need an ePrint-enabled printer, but beyond that, there’s no additional cost.
If you want to eliminate paper from your life, then why not start saving your documents as PDFs? Just grab a PDF converter like doPDF and “print” documents as PDFs. Thanks to the PDF compatibility built into most mobile devices – and when are you ever without some form of mobile device? – you can just send those documents to your phone and read them as you please. Since those are saved files, you don’t even need an Internet connection to access them, so even reading them on a plane won’t be an issue.
What if you want to stay in sync at all times, though? Well, that’s where a service like Evernote comes in handy. Evernote lets you sync your home or office docs with your mobile device. Or try an app like iA Writer (iOS, $1) will let you create a document on one mobile device and have it show as well on another, or even on your desktop. Why should you keep printing out revisions when you can work on a document any time and place you choose?
What about faxing? Well, thanks to services like FaxZero, you can send a document as a fax to any traditional fax line. If you use the free version it will put an ad on the cover sheet, but for $2 a fax you can have that removed. And if the document needs a signature, simply make a digital version of your John Hancock that you can put on documents wherever you need them to appear.
Let’s face it: There’s no reason you can’t break the bonds of your printer – it just takes some work to switch over to new tools and workflows. It is sometimes difficult to say goodbye to an old friend like your printer, but isn’t it about time?
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