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Paperless Office Software: 18 Tools To Check Out in 2021

by Tam

You can also read this article in German, Spanish, French and Italian.

Which paperless office solution is best for you? To help you decide, we asked several experts in different industries to weigh in.

If you’re interested in the best paperless office software, we’re assuming 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 digital documents to sign and send to others to sign. But how do you do that? Email those documents to people one by one? While that may work, it’ll also take up a lot of time and make it difficult to track your progress! 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 a software that allows you to run a business without needing to have physical papers is essential. As a life insurance agency owner, there is a ton of paperwork that needs to be signed. Not only by clients but also by myself and my staff. Having a lot of paperwork can become disorganized quickly and can get displaced. iPipeline is a software that many insurance companies utilize for paperless applications. This software securely emails the client and the agent during the application process to obtain needed signatures. This software 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, which is built into the software. This completely eliminates the possibility of missing 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

If you’re not in the insurance business, Smallpdf’s eSign could be a great alternative for you. You can sign your own documents, send documents for 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. That’s why we love PDFs and other digital documents! With the right software, these 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, that 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 our own company for managing 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. Don’t want a PDF? Not a problem! Drop that document in our converter and instantly turn your PDF into a Word, PowerPoint, or Excel file.

Paperless Office Software for Note-Taking

Even if you work paperlessly, 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’ve been searching 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 move directly from your smartphone, by either typing or voice clips. Then it sorts them out neatly arranging them so you can easily access your digital notes and records. You can also export your notes or import 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 though 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

As office workers, we often need to share documents—with our peers and other team members, with our direct reports and with our bosses, or even with prospects and clients. This can be tricky, especially if you’re working with sensitive information such as legal documents.

That’s why 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

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

In order to get the most out of the great tools we’ve been talking about, 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, which 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 is 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 and 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 converts my smartphone into a wireless scanner, making it easy to scan documents and quickly convert them into 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 share 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

A paperless office may not give its employees physical birthday cards—but it’s still important to know when someone on the team is celebrating so you can buy them a cake, right? The best way to stay on top of birthdays and all other pieces of employee information is to use an amazing software solution.

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 for 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 is 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 for 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 to a single, orderly application document, be sure to check out Smallpdf’s Merge PDF tool.

Paperless Office Software for Collaboration

Right now, a lot of office workers aren’t just paperless—they’re distributed, too. But that doesn’t mean they can’t collaborate paperlessly and effortlessly. All they need is 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, 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 a Microsoft Surface, 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 last March. 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 mark up documents, too? 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 that allows us to complete all money transactions online and issue necessary documents virtually. Earlier, 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 it entails.’

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 of the transaction to be able to complete a sale. Buyer, seller, title agents, appraisers, bankers, real estate agents. Everyone can be in a single Loop and the need for printing/scanning/emailing is eliminated. There is an entire paper 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.

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Tam
Sr. Content Manager