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Saving paper, saving time through PDF

In the short-term, save trees with PDF. Find content with desktop search. Minimize paper by printing only ranges of pages.

I imagine that you’ve thought about trying to reduce the amount of paper you handle.

A good place to start is reducing the amount of paper you generate.

A GREAT place to start that is to quit printing documents for reference, just keep them on your computer.

Saving output to PDF is a great place to start, and you can do it for free. PDF isn’t perfect, but it’s good enough for capturing page images, so it’s a great substitute for paper.

HOW TO, and how it pays off:

On the Mac (OS X only): print your document, and use the PDF link to save a copy.
(Yes, “It just works.”)

On Windows, install CutePDF and use the virtual printer that it creates to save your output to PDF.

In both cases, be sure to check that the information you wanted is in the printout!

If you want to REDUCE the paper you print, but need a few reference pages:

On Mac (OS X): print your document, and use the Preview link to send the PDF to the Preview application. Print the just the pages you need.

On Windows: use the page preview menu item (if supported in the application), and print just the pages you need. If page preview is NOT supported, create a PDF (see above) and print just the pages you need.

Unfortunately, PDF isn’t a good format for re-using content, but it’s a great step in the right direction. Most desktop search engines (Spotlight and Spotlight Server, Google Desktop, etc.) WILL find content in your saved PDFs, even if you compress/archive them.


desktop search for references to this blog [DAKworks]

By Dak

Father, leader, writer, scientist, visionary.

Technical software development leader (CTO, VP). Excels when improving and turning around teams, putting better tools and software architectures in place, and getting better outcomes.

One reply on “Saving paper, saving time through PDF”

Had a great application of this on my personal machine…I did a Spotlight / Google Desktop search for a phone number, and it turned up on the PDF of a phone bill, so I knew exactly when I’d called. Serendipity, thy name is ‘reusable information!’


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