There are countless software solutions that are available on the market today for creating a paperless office. Now, bear in mind the fact that there are lots of paper documents in an office, and these are filed and used in different ways, too. The paperless office software solutions on the market today may be classified into the different functions they perform. Here are just some of them:
- Document Imaging. Document imaging software basically takes an image of a document for storing as an electronic file. You may think that you can do this just by using a scanner alone and filing your electronic documents according to your own style. However, document imaging software does so much more than that. Electronic documents are often needed to be accessed by different staff members. Document imaging software provides easier access to the other members of the organization. Some software, in fact, is browser-based, meaning the electronic documents are uploaded online. Therefore, staff members who are allowed access to the file may view the electronic document anywhere as long as they have an Internet connection.
- Document Management. Document management software does more than take an image of a paper document and store it as an electronic file. Stored electronic documents will be in existence as long as the company is up and running. Without document management software, proper archiving and indexing of these files will be impossible. This will only mean great losses attributed to the time and energy spent in locating electronic documents. Document management software answers these problems.
- Paperless Fax. Remember that fax machines also generate paper that often just ends up in the trash bin. Paperless fax software manages inbound and outbound fax messages. The software synchronizes the office fax machine to an assigned computer or server. Inbound messages are received electronically just like receiving an email. It will then depend on the recipient whether there is a need to print the message or not at all.
For smaller businesses, the task of creating a paperless office may just involve having software for scanning the document and converting it into a file that can be read and edited upon demand. Scanning software usually come bundled when you buy a scanner. Having OCR software to convert your scanned documents is also needed. OCR means Optical Character Recognition. OCR software converts an image file into machine editable text. Most OCR software converts image files into user-friendly formats like Microsoft Word and PDF. Upload these electronic documents into your office computer's hard drive for storage and management. Make it a point to have back-up files just in case your computer crashes. You may also try uploading them online.
A paperless office is regarded as the office of the future. Environmentalists support it because cutting down on paper use means saving more trees. Company owners buy the idea because it will ultimately bring down operational costs. With the advent of new technology, achieving a paperless office is not a dream anymore.