Mobile devices are finally helping to realise a promise that PCs failed to fulfill for 40 years -- the lurch towards a near-paperless world
By Anand Parthasarathy
Bangalore, July 26 2015: Forty years ago this week, an article in BusinessWeek magazine titled "The Office of the Future", proposed a radical shift : to the paperless office. It suggested boldly, that in 20 years, most records in offices would have gone digital. They got it wrong. Even after twice the predicted time span, we are only lurching towards a less-paper world. But the tipping point has come -- and it is the humble mobile phone that has done it.
Millions of phone and phablet owners are asking: I can get the books I read as e-books; the movies I view as e-movies. Then why am I forced to fill forms often in triplicate!) for registering at the clinics, to deposit a cheque, to buy or sell a property, to do the umpteen things that needed to get a service from government? We can't clear the paper jam in a day-- but we can reduce the burden of filling and often changing, all those mandatory forms. Recent editions to some popular document management solutions , promise to let you create, review, approve, sign and track documents whether on a desktop or mobile device. The leader here has been Adobe's Acrobat, the most widely used tool to create and read the PDF or Portable Document Format. Adobe has totally reimagined Acrobat and made it part of what it now calls the Document Cloud.
Since Adobe is the author of the industry-standard photo editing tool, Photoshop , it has cannily morphed its functions with the new DocumentCloud or DC version of Acrobat. I have been trying it out for a few weeks and it is truly uncanny how swiftly you can snap a photo of any document, save it to the cloud as a PDF, edit it, match font to the original or change it or replace the photo -- even sign it and password-protect it - all from a mobile device. The signature part is a new addition to Acrobat, because DC now includes another Adobe tool called eSign.
I can assure you the photo editing features are nowhere as intimidating as the standalone and notoriously dummy-user-unfriendly Photoshop. A feature of DC is Mobile Link which lets you access the same documents as you move from desktop to laptop to phone. The other new addition to the DCavatar of Acrobat is 'Fill and Sign' which makes form filling very easy.
The full versions of Acrobat DC are priced -- from around Rs 800 per month to a perpetual licence that can set you back Rs 30,000 and more. As before the Acrobat reader alone is free. But you can also download for free, a combo of three Android or iOS apps:
- Adobe Acrobat DC Mobile: which allows you to open and view PDFs, add comments, organize pages, and create PDFs from Word, Excel, and PowerPoint files.
- Adobe Fill & Sign allows you to turn digital files or paper documents into forms you can fill, sign, and send electronically
- Adobe eSign Manager DC, lets you e-sign documents and forms.
Get this trishul of doc apps on your phone and you are all set to wage war on paper and reduce your pulp friction!