I read an article a while back that indicated paper production has not been impacted by the quest for a "paperless society" and it fact sales are better than ever. I'm not surprised, and now I can't run the printer until the ribbon is so faint that folks fight for the first carbon copy instead of the original. It's not only the cost of paper, the ink cartridges "ain't cheap either", but I am!
There is an alternative! Not only does it reduce paper and ink costs; it makes providing more frequent and varied reports to your Reps a virtually no-cost option. The PDF-file!
What is a PDF.file
A "PDF.file" is a computer file, the format of which has been "standardized" and is used by a "PDF Reader" program to present the content on your computer screen for review without printing to paper. Since it is a "file", it can be distributed as an email "attachment".
Each of WeLoop.SAMS report-writing windows includes the option "Enable Print to PDF.file". This allows you to create the report as a paper document or as an "electronic" document, or both.
- Click on the "Enable Print to PDF.file" option.
- The "Place PDF.file in Folder" entry is enabled. Use the LookUp button to the right of the entry to select a folder in which the file is to be placed when created. Use a location that will be easy to find later such as the DeskTop or MyDocuments. Once the option has been used, this entry will be carried forward from the previous report. -- NOTE: The Get Organized discussion includes suggestions for holding PDF.files and other email attachments on your computer.
- The "Name for PDF.file" entry is enabled. A file name is created, when the report option is selected, which includes: your Company Name, date on which the report is being prepared (Year-Month-Day), time the report is being prepared using a 24-hour clock (Hour-Minute-Second), an abbreviation of the report name, the report "Id.Number", and the suffix ".PDF" which indicates the file is to be processed by a PDF Reader program. -- NOTE: You may change the file name to be used, however you should be sure to use the ".PDF" suffix so the PDF Reader program will be utilized by the recipient's computer.
- When the OK button is clicked for the report to be prepared a small window entitled "Select an Output" is presented.
- If you click on Print, you will have the option of either printing the report to paper or saving it as a PDF.file, or both
- If you click on PDF, the report will be "printed" as a PDF.file and may NOT printed to paper.
- If the "PreView before Print" option is checked (ON), the report is prepared and displayed for review.
- The Report Preview window menu.option "File" presents an option to "Save as PDF" which creates the report as a PDF.file named with the "Name for PDF.file" entry and placed in the "Place PDF.file Folder" entry. Once the file has been created, or "saved", the Report Preview is re-presented.
- If the "Select an Output" option "Print" was specified, the report may be "printed" in which case it will "go to paper".
- If the "Select an Output" option "PDF" was specified, "printing" the report will create it as a PDF.file as outlined in Item.3 above and it will NOT "go to paper"
- If the "PreView before Print" option is unchecked (OFF), the report is not presented for review and your "Select an Output" option is acted upon immediately
What are the Benefits
- Print - will "go to paper" and will NOT create a PDF.file
- PDF - will create the PDF.file and will NOT "go to paper"
There are several.
What's the catch
- Reports need not be printed and mailed. Print the report to a PDF.file and send it to the recipient as an email attachment. This not only reduces the cost of report preparation; it also reduces the time delay between report preparation and delivery.
- Reduced cost of report preparation and distribution makes it reasonable to provide additional reports, or more frequent report distribution, at very little cost.
- Copies of the report may be retained, on the computer, for reference as needed, by the both the preparer and the recipient.
- The PDF Reader program allows review of the report without printing, printing only a portion of the report to paper, or printing the entire report to paper.
- The PDF Reader program allows the report to be "searched" for a specific word or combination of words, providing a list of the pages on which it/they are found so none are missed in a visual scan.
- The PDF Reader program allows a portion of the report to be selected as a "snapshot" which may then be added to a document, in Microsoft Word for example, and forwarded via email. This is a function of the PDF Reader program and is therefore available to both the report recipient and the preparer.
Oh, you know there is one, in fact there are a couple but they are pretty insignificant:
- A PDF Reader program is needed to review the report.
- A no-cost PDF Reader program may be downloaded from www.adobe.com
- At www.google.com, keying "PDF Reader free download" will present a BUNCH of options. Since the PDF.file format is a "standard" format, virtually any of the PDF Reader programs will work and the functional capabilities vary.
- PDF.files tend to be "fat", so your email attachment may be larger than you'd like.
- If you create several reports for the same recipient, attaching multiple PDF.files to the same email will typically combine them into a single "ZIP-file" attachment by the email program, to reduce the size of the attachment.
- The WeLoop.SAMS Main.Window menu Reports includes a "Create an eMail Package" option which allows several files to be combined and compressed into a single "ZIP-file" which may then be attached to the email
- The recipient will need a "compress/decompress program" if the email attachment is delivered as a ZIP-file.
So, even if you're as cheap as I am, there is no excuse for not providing information to everyone in your organization on a regular and frequent basis. Information is not just important, it's a POWER TOOL!
- There are several alternatives noted on the WeLoop website Utilities page (http://www.weloop.com/USERutil.html)
- Go to www.google.com and key "free zip download" which will yield a BUNCH of options
Lessons from the School of Hard Knocks
These notes are the result of telephone conversations and email exchanges over the years. The purpose here is twofold:
- Share the information resulting from those exchanges with everyone so it may be applied where it makes sense to you.
- Point out capabilities you have with WeLoop.SAMS that you may not be taking full advantage of.