Paperless Office Software: 18 Tools To Check Out in 2024
Which paperless office solution is best for you? To help you decide, we asked several experts in different industries to weigh in.
Which paperless office solution is best for you? To help you decide, we asked several experts in different industries to weigh in.
Going paperless is not just a good idea when it comes to the environment; it can also have a major impact on your company’s efficiency and business spending. But going from physical files to a paperless office involves more than making a decision to do so. Having found your way to this article, we’re sure you’ve already researched how to go paperless in the office. The question now is: Which paperless office solution is best for signing documents, storing and organizing documents, sharing documents, and more? To help you decide, we asked several experts in different industries to weigh in.
Paperless Office Software for Signing Documents
Just because you’ve gone paperless doesn’t mean you don’t have documents to sign and get signatures from others for. They’re just not printed out any more—they’re digital documents. But how do you sign digital documents and get others to sign them? Email them to people one by one? Sure, that works. But it’ll also take up a lot of time and be a pain to keep track of! That’s why a lot of paperless offices use special e-signing software.
Jake Irving, owner of Willamette Life Insurance in Beaverton, Oregon, for example, uses iPipeline: “In the paperless and remote climate that we all find ourselves in, finding software that allows you to run a business without needing to have physical papers is essential. As a life insurance agency we have a ton of paperwork that needs to be signed. Not only by clients but also by myself and my staff. A lot of paperwork means a high risk of the office becoming disorganized quickly. Individual documents are also more likely to be displaced. iPipeline is software that many insurance companies use for paperless applications. This software securely emails the client and the agent during the application process to obtain signatures. It also works on the backend with the underwriting of policies. Since there is a lot of highly sensitive information contained in these applications, security is also of high importance and is built into the software. This completely eliminates the possibility of losing paperwork with personal client information. This software has allowed my team to work remotely with minimal paper use since we are no longer meeting clients face-to-face.”
Free Paperless Office Software for Signing Documents
Each and every business has its own needs and wants. You may not need all of the features an insurance business does. Have a look at Smallpdf’s eSign—it may be a great alternative for your business. You can sign your own documents, send documents to others for their signature in a specific order, and track your progress. Plus, it’s free to use twice a day, every day.
Paperless Office Software for Storing and Organizing Documents
Storing and organizing paper documents can be a pain. You have to be meticulous in your process of filing them away neatly and have a good system in place in order to find individual documents at a later point in time. After all, there is no search bar you can consult when searching through a physical archive room. That’s why we love PDFs and other digital documents! With the right software, documents are very easy to label so that anyone can search for and find what they’re looking for in a snap. A lot of paperless offices use Notion.
For example, Flywheel Digital, an agency based in Vancouver, BC, provides technical marketing services for digital-first businesses. CEO Michael Steele tells us: “As a remote-first company, Notion is a key paperless tool for our team. Beyond being a digital hub for project and task management, it allows us to organize client notes and documents all in one place for easy reference for all team members. It’s especially helpful for creating wikis for each individual client as well as for our own company to manage processes and staff onboarding. Notion takes away the need for physical files, binders, and handbooks to allow convenient access and comprehensive documentation for everything our team needs to know about a client’s context, goals, and past work, as well as our own internal operations, regardless of where they are in the world.”
At Smallpdf, we particularly love that Notion lets users download pages as PDFs. We’re kind of fans of the format. You don’t want a PDF? Not a problem! Drop that document into our converter and instantly turn your PDF into a Word, PowerPoint, or Excel file.
Paperless Office Software for Note-Taking
Even if you work completely without paper, you’ll need to take notes of some kind. Fortunately, there’s software out there that not only lets you take written and spoken notes but even organizes those notes for you. Now there’s a trick your post-its can’t do!
Stefan Smulders, founder of Expandi and a big supporter of green and paperless offices, recommends Evernote: “I searched for a paperless form of note-taking for a very long time since I’m old-fashioned and have always preferred pen-and-paper for keeping organized. There may be a psychological explanation as to why pen to paper is so effective, but Evernote is the perfect digital and paperless substitute, in my opinion. It lets you create daily to-do lists on-the-go directly from your smartphone by either typing or recording clips. Then it sorts them out neatly, arranging them so you can easily access your digital notes and records. You can also export or import your notes in various digital formats, including audio and video. Evernote can also “read” written text and create editable text out of it that you can open in any text editing software. This is incredibly useful since it allows you to combine photos with useful information in text and audio to create multimedia notes. My favorite feature is the quick-access voice recorder feature for brainstorming and creating notes in a hurry. Whether you use Evernote personally or for your business, I think it does a very good job as a standalone tool for a paperless office.”
Paperless Office Software for Sharing Documents
There’s hardly any business that doesn’t need to share documents. Working in any kind of office, you need to share documents with your colleagues, superiors, subordinates, clients, and prospects on a daily basis. The more sensitive the information in your documents, the more difficult it is to share them. That’s why legal documents in particular have high demands for the sharing platform used.
For this reason, Justin Neiman of Stouffer Legal LLC in Towson, Maryland, loves Zapa Client Portals: “At Stouffer Legal LLC, we utilize Zapa Client Portals, which provides us with a fast and secure way to send and receive files with our clients. Electronically accepting files makes it a million times easier for our customers to submit documentation we require.”
Free Paperless Office Software for Sharing Documents
Sharing documents securely doesn’t have to have a price tag, though. If you’re looking for a free solution, you can also try sharing documents with Smallpdf’s Share Document tool. It’s free to use up to twice a day, every day.
Paperless Office Scanners
Any and all of the great tools we’ve talked about are rendered pointless without digital documents. Your first priority may be to turn your paper office into a digital office. To do so, you may need to digitize some paper documents first. But you don’t necessarily need to buy a big scanner that’ll take up a bunch of office space. Just whip out your smartphone!
Rolf Bax, Chief Human Resources Officer at the leading resume-builder Resume.io, tells us: “We have instituted a ‘scan only’ policy on our team. That means if you need to make a copy of something, you scan it, and one piece of paperless office software that has helped us dramatically cut down on the amount of paper we use is Scanbot Pro. This allows us to use our company phones as scanners and then send PDFs to one another. Scanbot is quite sophisticated. It’s able to not only detect the edges of your document, but can determine the type of document being scanned, whether it’s an 8-by-11 sheet of paper or a piece of ID. It also has surprisingly accurate optical character recognition capabilities which allow you to select and copy text from the document. Furthermore, it can compile multiple scanned pages into a single document. We use this to scan, send and save things like invoices, monthly bills on our physical office space, and benefits and tax documentation.”
In contrast, Helene Berkowitz, Founder and CEO of the digital-receipts platform ReceetMe, says: “My favorite piece of software and/or tool that helps me work paperlessly is a mobile application called CamScanner. This app turns my smartphone into a wireless scanner, making it easy to scan documents and quickly convert them into a digital format. I use CamScanner to scan things like medical papers, legal documents, my children’s school notes and permission slips, and more. It has a sharing feature that lets me easily share my scanned files via WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, email, or direct URL. I can also convert the files to PDF, JPG, Word, or text files. This is a really helpful feature, so if I need to send a document to my husband, for example, I can quickly scan and send it to him on WhatsApp in mere seconds.”
Did you know that you can use Smallpdf’s Scanner App for iOS and Android to digitize paper documents, too? Go ahead and give it a try!
Paperless Office Software for HR Purposes
Paperless offices can go as far as not even giving their employees physical birthday cards—but that doesn’t mean birthdays aren’t celebrated at all! For one thing, there’s always cake. And with the right software, you can be sure to stay on top of birthdays and all other pieces of employee information.
Dan Bailey, President of WikiLawn Los Angeles Lawn Care, can attest to BambooHR’s paper-saving qualities: “I would say BambooHR has reduced our paper use by a huge amount. Prior to using the software, we were constantly printing HR forms for new hires, performance reviews, departures, and, of course, code of conduct handbooks and any other relevant paperwork. Now we can handle all of that digitally. and it’s made us so much more efficient. Even signatures are being handled digitally, so there’s no need for us to waste paper or costly ink. Obviously, the cost savings and environmental impact are significant, but I think the biggest thing it’s saved us is time. It used to take us so long to give out forms and get them back. With new hires, the process of getting them onboarded sometimes took a full month. Now it takes a week or two at the absolute most.”
Speaking of HR: If you’ve got a resume, cover letter, references, and other files you’d like to combine into a single, orderly application document, be sure to check out Smallpdf’s Merge PDF tool.
Paperless Office Software for Collaboration
Another great benefit of a paperless office is its flexibility. Without the anchor of physical documents, it’s much easier to create a work environment that allows for remote employees and home office days. To facilitate collaboration, you just need the right software.
Roberta Morris, Founder and Creative Director at Leave it to ‘Berta, likes to collaborate using Google: “Whatever your opinion of Google is, you can’t deny that their G Suite of collaborative products is great for business. I work with a lot of collaborators who create copy and manuscripts that I then use to lay out various pieces of collateral. It’s really helpful to be able to collaborate on a Google Doc, for example, and be able to ask questions and make comments. Along with Docs, we also use Sheets to track schedules and progress. Basically, G Suite is an all-in-one online office communication tool!”
In contrast, CEO of Test Prep Insight John Ross uses Drawboard PDF: “To help save trees and work efficiently while being remote, we use Drawboard PDF and love it. Rather than printing out full Word documents and PDF files on paper and then marking them up the old-school way with red pens, highlighters, and pencils, we use Drawboard PDF. This tool allows us to markup PDFs on our computer with digital pens, highlighters, shapes, and comments. We do this for all of our written files, marketing content, infographics, and any other materials that need revision. Our whole team uses Microsoft Surfaces, and Drawboard allows us to take any PDF file and mark it up just like it was on paper. This has been a godsend since going remote in 2021. I don’t know how we could share hardcopy markups, short of scanning them and attaching massive files to emails. Drawboard saves us that massive inefficiency and also allows the team to collaborate simultaneously on one file, which is awesome. This adds one more layer of productivity and efficiency, which I love.”
Did you know that you can use Smallpdf’s Edit PDF tool to markup documents, too? It’s got a ton of editing features for your team to process files at every stage from draft to final version. Better still, it’s completely free to use up to twice a day, every day. So go ahead and give it a try!
Paperless Office Software for Financial Purposes
A proper paperless office should be able to handle payments and receipts in a tree-friendly, digital way.
CEO and Co-Founder of Airfocus, Malte Scholz, has nothing but praise for Ebanq: “Our favorite tool that saves a lot of paper is EBANQ. It allows us to complete all money transactions online and issue necessary documents virtually. Before, we would print out everything and use lots of paper, but EBANQ has allowed us to move the entire process online and store all confirmations and reports in one place. The software is quite intuitive, and you can easily download the app to your phone. Apart from saving paper, we saved a lot of time as well, since EBANQ is available 24/7 to all of its clients. Most importantly, EBANQ is safe to use thanks to a number of safety measures.”
Another great tip comes from The Surf Expert’s Flo Farmer: “In the QuickBooks app, I can snap a picture of a receipt. Switching to QuickBooks online for our business has literally saved a forest’s worth of paper already.”
Paperless Real Estate Office Software
Finally, if you’re in real estate, your paperless office might just benefit from the real estate transaction management solution Dotloop. Serial entrepreneur Brooks Conkle explains: “We use Dotloop to run and operate our real estate brokerage. It is a full-service solution that brings in all parties to the transaction to be able to complete a sale. Buyers, sellers, title agents, appraisers, bankers, and real estate agents. Everyone can be in a single loop, and the need for printing,scanning,emailing is eliminated. There is an entire paperless trail for the entire transaction that can be stored indefinitely. Tools like Dotloop have revolutionized the real estate industry.”
We hope you enjoyed reading about these 18 tools to help you do all of your work with little to no paper. For more paperless office tips and paperless office ideas, check out our related blog articles. Whichever solution your office may opt for the go paperless, we wish you all the best and applaud you for becoming part of a greener future!