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Tips for paper reduction-part 2

interne Papierflut

Tips for paper reduction-part 2

Posted by Andrea Kaden in Continous improvement, Paperless office, Software, Tips and tricks 17 Okt 2011

Tips for paper reduction – part 2

On the way to a paperless office, you must also ask yourself how these mountains of paper ? The paperwork which flows to us from the outside we’ve already dealt with. In fairness, it must be said that most people in offices also produce a lot of paper themselves, however. How can you change that? A little self-reflection, good office organization and changes in some work habits can significantly and permanently reduce internal sources of office paperwork. I want to remind you that everything which is printed also needs to be deposited somewhere. And that takes time, a lot of time, from the search for information when required not to speak. After you have stopped the external paper sources the next step should follow.

Detect internal paper sources

To this end, it helps to look at your daily office life in more detail, and so to answer three questions:

1. In what situations do you print out documents?

This reminds me that certain situations happen again and again in practice:

  • printing of emails and email attachments
  • doing a search on the internet, the internet pages are printed
  • self created files and documents are printed out countless times for proofreading
  • documents are printed, to edit on the go or to submit to customers

2. What is the reason for that?

People respond to this question often:

  • they can not read well or for too long on the screen
  • for researching they can order the information thematically better on paper
  • paper is more suitable for notes and presentations on the road
    they are concerned about not being able to find files again

3. The third and most important question is, what can you do about these arguments and experiences in order to avoid future unnecessary printouts?

a) Comfortable working on computer

First of all you should ensure that you can read and work well on screen. A relatively large screen (from about 21 inches) helps many people, on which two application windows can be open simultaneously. Or work with two monitors. This allows very comfortable working and will make many prints superfluous.

b) Structuring Information

To „remember“ and order systematically your internet search results there are some very good programs such as Evernote, Simplenote, DEVONthink or Zotero. No matter which you choose, all these programs are easy to install.


Evernote is browser-based and system-independent. This means you can use it with your PC or Mac Evernote. In addition, apps for mobile devices with different operating systems are offered. Since the stored data is available on the internet, you can access your data from any device. Evernote allows you to save complete web page content, or just the URL, and create different notebooks. You can download the individual entries with keywords provided and recover them quickly. It is also possible to save searches.


Zotero uses the same data model. You can store the items in a tree structure and the nodes are marked as a library. Zotero’s strength lies with appropriate templates for book and magazine entries in the bibliography. Research data can be excellently structured with Zotero.


Simplenote can be download for iPhone, iPad, iPod from the App Store. With Simplenote you can easily create notes, save web notices, work with tags and sharing lists and work instructions. Compared to DEVONthink Simplenote is very easy to handle.


DEVONthink, which is at home on the Mac, is somewhat more complex. It is possible to maintain several databases and to have them open simultaneously. In each database, you can create different folders. The software provides a number of templates that help you retain information. With DEVONthink you can store simple text notes notes in RTF, Office and PDF document format, and capture web pages and links.


All programs will help you bring order to your research results and information and to avoid many printouts.

c) Folder and file structure in your system

Often people do not know when on the move where a particular piece of information or a document should be allocated to, and from a concern for not being able to find it again on the computer, it is first printed out. Once you take the time to think about your file and folder structure, and develop a logic for the file plan for you and your team, it is easier for you and your employees to return quickly to your stored information.


Is it really still professional today to be dealing with a stack of papers? Is it efficient to make corrections on paper, to then re-enter in the system? It is now much more professional in almost every sector if you work with a notebook, Macbook an iPad or some other tablet. You do not need to print anything any more while on the move, and the information you collect while travelling can also be input comfortably directly into your system without any duplicated work. Get started with your paper reduction!

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