Going Paperless? Don’t Forget the Tablet PC

nopaperLifehacker has posted “The Complete Guide to Going Paperless,” which is kind of a big claim for such a concise write-up. Still, I think it hits all the key points. I’ve implemented all of them to some degree in the office and to a lesser degree at home (I am to screen as my wife is to paper). One tool I’ve used to help implement the move to being paper-free is my Tablet PC.

#2 on their list is printing and scanning to PDF. Have that covered at work thanks to Acrobat Standard and the scanning functionality of our photocopier. But what happens if you need to add to those PDFs? Inserting comments is good enough for some of that, but sometimes you need to take a red pen to a document or mark up a diagram. A mouse can do it, but it’s clumsy – really clumsy. No, those are jobs for a pen, so it’s best to keep it that way with a pen input device, like a Wacom tablet or a Tablet PC.

Next is advice to keep an image of your signature on file. Convenient, but I don’t think that’s any different than using a stamp. My preference is to sign fresh via a tablet and give each document a unique mark.

Their fifth bit of advice is to capture information electronically, and the Tablet PC definitely has this covered. Taking notes on-screen is the obvious way to get this done, but with a built-in microphone and/or webcam, it has other ways to capture information without touching the pen.

Of course, how well it works for you depends on how you use it. A Tablet PC is not a magic tool that eliminates paper, but used properly, it can help remedy some of the drawbacks of going paperless.