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How to Run a “(Nearly) Paperless Office”

The absolute best way to save paper and money is to scan and store electronic documents.

Reconsidering a Paper Filing System

Not long ago, every single document that came through our office was copied and filed in hanging folders in filing cabinets. This traditional filing method is so rooted in our offices, it is difficult to examine the process with a critical eye. However, there are some major flaws to this sytem that make it worth revisiting. Paper filing can be time consuming, especially if a document is misfiled. Next, with a copying cost of $0.9 per side, retaining copies of paper documents can make a noticible impact on a departmental budget. Last but not least, traditonal filing is very paper intensive. With a few simple changes to your office’s filing habits, these difficulties can be overcome with the use of technology with which you are probably already familiar.

The Benefit of Electronic Documents

Electronic documents are faster and easier to handle than paper documents.

Before you instinctively print a document, consider this. On this campus, many of our documents start out in an electronic format such as Word, Powerpoint, Excel, Adobe PDF, email, web page etc. Remember, the ultimate way to save paper and money is not printing at all! Keeping your document in an electronic format uses a negligable amount of resources and generates zero waste.

Here are some ways to use electronic documents:.

  • *Organize your My Documents folder to mimic the system in your filing cabinet; save files into these folders
  • *Post class and meeting materials on Blackboard, the
    Web or a Shared Directory
  • *If you are collaboratively editing a document, use Word’s
    comment and change tracking functions instead of printing each draft.
  • *Use an eDocs site to share files with your colleagues

*In use in our office

For specific instructions and more ideas, continue to our Electronic Document Tutorial.