We all know that using less office paper is good for the earth, but if you’ve tried eliminating it altogether, you know that it’s not as simple to do as it sounds. One challenge for me has been signing contracts. I’ve tried various ways of creating a digital image of my signature and pasting it into a Word version of such documents, but sometimes it doesn’t line up correctly–making the process far more time consuming than simply printing out the contract, signing and scanning it and then emailing it back.
In reporting a story recently, I came across one program that is finally helping me break free of paper almost completely: the free Nitro Reader, a pdf software. As I mentioned in this short item for Fortune, it lets you turn other types of documents into pdf files and type text into them to make edits. I wasn’t expecting to use it much, but I’ve found it’s actually quite handy. When I recently used a legal site, Rocket Lawyer, to create a document that required input from several members of a team, it was really easy to enter their changes using Nitro Reader. And the QuickSign function lets you cleanly insert your signature into a contract in a single step, so you can avoid scanning it altogether.
If you’re not a frequent pdf user, it may take you 20 minutes or so to figure out exactly how the tool works, or at least it did for me, even with the help of a colleague who specializes in technology editing. But I found that once I played around with it a bit, it was easy to use.
What tools are helping you go paperless? Please share your tips in the comment area.