PDF In-Depth

The best move you can make toward being paperless

April 22, 2010



Being paperless mostly means not keeping things in paper. You might print things out to read them or work with them, but the 'original' is not a paper original. That's the key.

The trick is to move away from relying on paper. There is one thing that you can do that will probably accelerate your retreat from paper more than anything else. It's a silly little thing, but it encompasses so many aspects of going paperless that if you pull off this one thing it will propel you forward in a quantum leap.

Use digital signatures! That's the key.

Being adept at using digital signatures will carry you farther than anything else and here's why: First, it seems like a monumental problem (it's not but you have to work through it to realize that) so when you tackle it you'll feel a great sense of accomplishment. Second, it will push you into realizing how much of 'being paperless' is overcoming a paper-based mindset. And nothing is more sacrosanct to a 'paper-based mind' than the idea of scrawling ink on a document as a form of 'authentication.'

The truth is signing a paper document is mostly an empty ritual. The digital world offers far better security, but you'll never know that as long as you cling to the paper signing ritual. So, if you really want to make a bold move away from paper this is the thing you should set as your goal.

This piece originally appeared on PDFforLawyers.com, and has been reproduced with permission.

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