Paperless, the enduring dream of computing

I remember writing my first “paper reduction” based business case about 15 years ago, and using the “paperless office” phrase in a business case for the first time about a decade ago, it’s interesting to see how much “progress” we have made.  It seems that the average office worker in the USA now consumes over 12,000 sheets of paper per year!  In cost terms that’s probably well in excess of $500 a year. 

Last year I had the opportunity question my own usage of paper and was staggered by the extent to which I depended on it.  I also came across an interesting article that discussed why no one seems interested in solving the problem which I discussed in my blog last year

However I am now able to say that I live an almost paper free life, and briefly here are the things that have made it possible:

  • I use a Tablet PC for all reading and reviewing
  • I use a 3 screen environment at home which means I have plenty of screen real estate available to have multiple documents open at the same time
  • I have a great scanner, and the even better PaperPort Pro which lets me scan every bit of paper that arrives through the front door that I want to keep, before it goes into the recycling bin
  • I increasingly buy e-Books, otherwise I borrow books from the Library, so I actually don’t use any paper – the library does šŸ™‚
  • The only paper I tend to consume is the Saturday paper and a couple of magazines, which I would subscribe to e versions of if they were available and readable on my Tablet.
  • Because I don’t use my Tablet as my main computer I can have it laying flat on my desk ready to be used to make notes in OneNote

So what needs to happen to get almost completely paper free:

  • eVersions of magazines, getting there slowly – but maybe RSS will eliminate the need for magazines altogether provided I can get a Tablet screen thats visible in sunlight
  • A Tablet PC screen thats a touch bigger than my TC1000, higher resolution and visible in sunlight.  I could buy one of these now but they need to come down a little in price first.
  • eLibraries, which are coming

Not long to wait I suspect!


Steve Richards

I'm retired from work as a business and IT strategist. now I'm travelling, hiking, cycling, swimming, reading, gardening, learning, writing this blog and generally enjoying good times with friends and family

3 Responses

  1. Anonymous says:

    Nobody NEEDS paper. I converted to all-digital subscriptions,from my four IEEE periodicals to Computer Weekly and Computing. I ruthlessly discard all paper mail, including bills (paid by DD). Nothing to scan. I read tech books on line and listen to literary books on CDROM. I carry crosswords booklets and a pen, sometimes and continue to send some paper postcards on which I doodle to enhance the message. I work on an absolutely clean desk – no stationery. I started my ‘paperless office experiment’ many years ago.

  2. Anonymous says:

    It took me a bit longer but I got there in the end. The main difference is that I am very fussy about the way I work, and was not prepared to accept much if any compromise.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Steve, would you write a little more about your scanner and what makes a scanner”great”? We’re in the market for one and I could use some advice. TIA.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

%d bloggers like this: