To Print or Not to Print?

Scanning documents and such seems like a great way of going green, but the issue remains that many people still need to print a copy of their work to paper in order to get credit for it. This goes for people in the workplace as well as those in school. There is a very interesting feature that both Windows and Mac users have access to, although each has a slightly different process. Instead of printing onto several pages of paper which will be placed either in your boss’s or your professor’s mailbox or desk, you can “print” a document to a .pdf file. This will allow you to save time searching for it on your computer (or massive stack of files what need tending) and also increase the ease with which the document in question is received. It is like document imaging before the document even reaches the point where it will need imaging. Sending documents via email is so much faster and easier on everyone involved, both on the person who would be doing the footwork and on the person who would have to find something to do with yet another document they may or may not be able to get to right away.

To perform this handy little trick, Windows users simply use the “save as” option, and under the filename field, there is a field where one may select the filetype the document will become as soon as it is saved. Choose to save it as a .pdf file and voila! A .pdf with the same name as the word document you were just working on is now residing in your documents folder. Mac users have a slightly different process to go through, but the end result is the same. Macs have the option built into their printer prompt window. When selecting the device that will print the document, simply choose to “Save as PDF” instead of a printer device.

An added bonus to having your documents digitized into .pdf format is that most desktop-based search tools like Google Desktop or Mac’s Spotlight have the ability to search for keywords or phrases within the .pdf without having to even open the file. Yet another benefit of digital documentation. People no longer have to read through a page to find a certain paragraph of information. Now people do not even need to turn the figurative front page in order to find a specific