A new year is upon us, and with that comes all the things we wish we had done last year (oops). New year, new me, right? Well, whether you have been, erm ~taking your time~ to set up your dream document management workflow or you just started thinking about it, here are some tips that might help you make your dream a reality:
1.) Envision your dream document workflow & assess your situation
What does your ideal workflow look like? Do you want to be able to access documents remotely? Fill and sign documents digitally? Do you need to batch print and watermark hundreds (or maybe thousands!) of documents? Aim as high as you can – this is an important first step. Some of your ideal goals may seem unattainable at first, but everything can be figured out, provided you know what your needs are, and just as importantly, what they aren’t. Maybe you don’t need to include that one really cute photo of your pet on every customer’s invoice (or maybe you do, I’m not here to judge).
Once you have outlined what you want to accomplish, assess your situation. Do you have 1 document or 1 million? Do you need to distribute it to one person or one thousand people? Your needs will dictate what tools will work best for what you’re trying to accomplish.
2.) Save some time and trees by going digital (if possible)
This might be a no-brainer to many in 2021, but we often still have to use a lot of paper forms and documents everyday. Keeping everything digital, however, makes your workflow a lot simpler. From searching and signing documents to sending and archiving them, there are many reasons why digital documents are a lot easier to deal with, especially in the long run. Of course, there are scenarios where using paper is absolutely necessary – and that’s just fine. If you deal with a lot of paper every day, digitizing paper forms can be a part of your workflow – just make sure to include that in your plan.
3.) Extraction and OCR are powerful allies!
If you’re in the “lots of printed/scanned documents” category, text and image extraction can save you a lot of time. Many tools allow you to convert the words in scanned images and pictures to an actually editable Word document or PDF – even if they’re in different languages. This feature could be the difference in spending many nights awake manually copying and pasting words from a night of a sweet, sound, peaceful and quiet beauty sleep. Hooray for automation!
4.) Lock it before you lose it
In 2021, data security should be top of mind for all your files. Protecting, encrypting or restricting access to files is necessary, especially when dealing with confidential, sensitive or otherwise protected information. You really don’t want employees or co-workers’ names, addresses and SSNs falling into the wrong hands. This could be as simple as setting up a password restriction for certain documents or folders. If your documents often contain sensitive records, you could also consider redacting them. Redacted documents usually have black bars marking off sensitive information that could be used maliciously by others. Redaction can be done manually by going over the information you want removed with a black marker and then scanning the document, or digitally through any software that offers a redaction feature. The software option can be a life saver as it often auto-identifies SSNs, addresses and other sensitive information and crosses them off automatically. If you do choose to go down this route, make sure whatever software you’re using actually redacts your documents and doesn’t just put an easily removable black bar on it. Yikes!
5.) You might need to use other formats beside PDF (and that’s okay)
Sometimes PDF is just not the best file format for what you need. That’s right, despite us here at Datalogics loving PDFs, we have to admit: they aren’t the only file format you need in your workflow. BUT THAT’S OKAY! There are many other file formats that you can convert your PDFs to so that they actually do what you need them to do. You might often find yourself trying to display that very cool looking PDF you spent a lot of time designing on a web page and it just looks…wrong. Convert it to HTML! It’s 2021, no one cares about labels anymore. And hey, if you really miss your PDFs you can always convert them back (FLIP2PDF is your friend – seriously, we use it all the time).
No matter what your situation looks like, we hope these tips were helpful in finding your path to document management peace of mind! If you’re still feeling lost, or need more information on our suite of tools, you can always email firstname.lastname@example.org and speak to one of our PDF gurus.