Tips To Going Paperless On AIIM’s World Paper Free Day

Shredding Paper Documents

It’s no mystery that we’re all about making your paperless transition easier. Regardless of your usual paper-based habits, businesses are increasingly adopting the practice. This slow acceptance and office-changing trend is making a nearly completely digital office more realistic.

Every small step towards a paperless workplace counts, and people are going about it at their own pace. Yet with today being World Paper Free Day, an AIIM initiative that tries to get people and businesses to go paperless for one day, there’s no time like the present to practice one full day without paper!

So we’re taking a quick, light hearted look at where you stand as a paper free advocate, and offering up a few strategies to help you take it one step further to working smarter, more efficiently in the workplace today.

Here’s what you can do if….

You Still Use Scratchpads, Notebooks & Agendas

Most of you may still using notepads, notebooks and agendas, and that’s understandable. You’re more comfortable with pen and paper. It feels more natural to you than typing on a screen. We get it.  But keep in mind that comfort zones can be a disadvantage, and investing over 75% of your work in hard copy ways can make it difficult to go paper free.

For today, take baby steps. For example, to get into the habit of digitizing your schedule, start small by scheduling certain things, like face-to-face meetings or meals in Google Calendar. Or try integrating a few tools into your brainstorming sessions like mind mapping tools. Even project management tools like Trello is simple yet powerful enought to keep your task lists organized and up to date with your team or meeting objectives.

You’re Using Sticky Notes And Loving It

If you’re using sticky notes, you’re on the path towards being paperless—you don’t use entire sheets of paper or spend too much time in notebooks. A scant piece of paper is all that’s needed.  While you’re on your way, there’s still the issue of getting you to do it digitally.

An easy way to turn this into a paperless habit? If you’re on a computer, you may as well use your browser. Try quick tricks like turning Chrome into a notepad or creating a Google Doc from your browser toolbar and give yourself access to a digital note with a single click. Also, consider using Sticky Notes on Windows 10 or Notes on Mac straight from the desktop itself.  Now’s the time to use those apps, if you haven’t been doing so already.

You Take Pictures When You Don’t Have A Pen

A picture says a thousand words, and over time a quick digital snap can save you just as many pieces of paper. We wouldn’t be surprised if you’re already taking pictures of information and documents with your phone when there’s no pen or paper to be had. And that’s great! It’s an effective, yet simple method for jotting things down.

Quite obviously, this also comes in handy at the office.  For instance, if you want a few hard copy documents on file and don’t have access to a scanner, get a scanning app on your phone. Evernote Scannable, for instance, is convenient and works on your iPhone and iPad. For Android, try CamScanner. Both have great features to work with any type of document you scan into digital form.

You Work At A Desktop Computer

You practically have no paper to work with whatsoever. Your work is all within MS Word, MS Excel or some digital file format, which are primarily on your computer. You have everything at your disposal, yet there are times when printing up a document is tempting.  Trust us. We’ve been there before.

As a digital worker, you can come across PDF documents that require either conversion, editing or minor modifications.  So consider the tools you use.  For instance, you may want to set up a document management system complete with an all-around PDF converter tool to keep your work going smoothly no matter what the task.

You’re Mobile, Work Remotely And Completely In The Cloud  

You’re more paper-free friendly than you realize! Almost all your work is stored online, shared digitally, and being mobile, well, that means gadgets are your main tool for working with documents.  The one obstacle that may draw you back to paper is the limited tasks you can perform with light weight tools. If you’re working on a netbook or tablet, web-based tools and apps are your best bet to getting things done.

For this, try curating a good list of online go-to tools. For example, when you have a PDF, there are a few that let you perform PDF tasks in a web browser, no software needed.  Also, ensure that you have a way to work with and access your cloud accounts effectively. They’re your main document hubs, so they’re essential to your work.

One last trick? Use the speech-to-text feature on both Android and iPhones for dictations. It’s a convenient mobile alternative to pulling out a notepad. Your keyboard, when activated in any app, will usually have a microphone icon. Tap on that, start talking and you’re good to go.

How are you going paper free today?


Speed Up Your PDF to Excel Conversion With Custom Excel Templates

Excel Spreadsheet Diagram

When working to convert PDF data into Excel, you can be swamped with the repetitive task of converting the same data everyday.

For handling large groups of PDFs, there’s the batch conversion feature in Able2Extract. Yet, this option is only ideal for full and automatic conversions.

What about multiple PDF to Excel conversions that need a bit of customization or scanned PDFs that can’t be converted in batch mode, but have the same layout per page?

You can use the Custom PDF to Excel feature to tailor your conversion. But as you can guess, it will get tedious to set up the same row and column structure each time.

Fortunately, in the Able2Extract universe, there’s a feature that makes the process easier: Able2Extract’s Custom Excel Templates. How?

Say you receive a PDF document with the same table structure on the same pages every week. Think invoices, inventory lists, regular data reports, and ledgers. These PDFs are always formatted in the same way. If you only ever work with data from one column in a weekly PDF inventory list, for example, you can use a Custom Excel Template to quickly pull out only that one column of data each time.

To show you, we’re taking a closer look. You can conquer the repetitive PDF to Excel conversions that need to be customized with this feature. Here’s what you should know.

1. Templates Are Easy to Set Up

A Custom Excel Template is simple to create. In fact, you can create your template as you set up your custom PDF to Excel conversion.  To start:

a) Open your PDF file in Able2Extract.

b) Select your content to convert.

c) Click on the Excel button on the toolbar.

d) In the Convert to Excel dialog that appears, select Define under the Custom option.

Selecting Custom Excel Conversion Option

e) Customize your PDF to Excel conversion by using different options from the Custom Excel panel. Don’t forget to preview your conversion results!

f) Once everything is set, go to File> Save Custom Excel Template As ….

Saving Custom Excel Templates

g) Name your template file and select the location to save your Excel template in.

And that’s it. You just created a Custom Excel Template you can use.  From there, you can continue with your conversion by clicking on Convert.

2. Templates Are Easy to Use

When you have a template saved, you simply load it in the application. The template can be applied to a PDF that is similar to the file for which the template was originally created. This means a PDF that has the same layout on the same pages as that first PDF.

a) In Able2Extract, open the PDF on which you’d like to apply your Custom Excel template.

b) Go to File > Load Custom Excel Template…

Loading Custom Excel Templates

c) Browse for and click on the template you saved. It will have a .pcvt file extension. Click on Open.

Selecting Able2Extract Excel Template

 3. Templates Let You Selectively Convert Data Instantly

When converting with Custom Excel Templates, you can selectively extract the data you need across tables or across pages. From multiple sections of a table to a few lines in a ledger, a Custom Excel template will let you skip any unnecessary pages or tables you don’t need.

Creating Custom Excel Templates

4. Templates Aren’t Automatic

One thing to note about this features is that you can’t automatically create or load templates. But all this means is that you gain control over the content and templates you want to convert and use at any given time as you just saw above.

5. You Can Modify your Template Conversion on the Spot

If a PDF file you wish to convert has more pages than the template you’ve created for it and all those pages have the same layout per page as the previous pages, you can use the “Extend” option to add more pages to the table structure.

a) When your template is uploaded and the Custom Excel panel appears, click on Extend…

Extending Custom Excel Page Range

b) In the dialog that appears, enter the desired page number in the To field.

Extending Page Range In Able2Extract

c) Click on Convert.

d) In the Save As dialog, select a location where the resulting Excel file be saved and give it a name. Click on OK.

As you can see, there’s always a way to speed things up. Next time you’re stuck with transferring the same PDF data into Excel all day, give this feature a try.

How To Insert A Title Block?

Part 13 of 13 in our How To Use AutoCAD series

Because AutoCAD projects are highly detailed and require accuracy, being organized with how you work is important. Imagine dealing with a dozen CAD design files with detailed information outlining a single part. If you aren’t organized in how you label each drawing for printing, then recipients won’t have the necessary information for them.

This is why inserting a Title Block in your AutoCAD drawing is essential for plotting (printing) your drawings, especially in a production environment. A Title Block is used to name the drawing part, time and author. Essentially, it provides important information for when the document is printed.

Creating AutoCAD Title Block

In AutoCAD, you can create your own Title Block template or import a premade template.  To insert a title block, follow these steps:

1. First, locate or download a Title Block template. There are some basic templates that are already included in the AutoCAD. As the good folks at AutoDesk Knowledge note, the Title Block templates are usually the template files starting with “Tutorial-”.

2. Open up a blank drawing and click on the “Layout” tab on the bottom left corner. As you can see by the looks of it, the Layout tab is used for the plotting stage of the production. Right click on the Layout 1 and select Page Setup Manager.

AutoCAD Layout Tabs

3. Click “Modify” and you will be presented with a pop up window. The most important thing you should pay attention to is the paper size. By default, this is set at (8.5 x 11 inches), so be sure to set it up so that it matches the size of the Title Block template.  Select “Landscape” on the Drawing Orientation panel and hit “OK”. We’re now ready to import the template.

4. Click on the “Insert” tab and then on the “Insert” button on the far left side.

AutoCAD Insert Block Option

From the pop up menu, click on Browse and select your template. Leave the check boxes as they are – only check the “Specify on screen” box. Hit “OK”.

AutoCAD Title Block Dialog

5. Position the Title Block and left-click to put it in place. Note that the dashed line represents the print border, so keep in mind to position the Title Block within it.

From here you can further edit the individual Title Block elements by entering the “Block Editor” on the Insert tab. This can be extremely useful for repurposing existing title block templates and even customizing your own.

5 PDF Tasks You Didn’t Know Could Be Done Through A Web Browser

Web browsers have come a long way. There was a time when finally being able to view a PDF natively inside Firefox or Chrome got everyone excited. Now, viewing PDFs is the most basic PDF task you can perform.

Aside from viewing PDFs in your browser, you now know more than a handful of PDF tasks you can accomplish online. But we’ll bet that there are still a few PDF web tricks you didn’t know about. Here are 5 you probably didn’t know about.

1. Translate PDF Text

Because you know that PDFs are hard to edit, it’s natural that you wouldn’t peg the format as one you could translate into different languages. However, it is possible to do so without converting your file and manually translating it word for word with Google Translate.

The online translator  is a popular tool for anyone who needs a quick reference. But in case you didn’t notice, it also has an option where you can upload a document to be translated–PDFs included! Obviously, just as the translations for manual text entries may not be 100%, the translations for documents can be slightly inaccurate, as well. So use this tool with that caveat in mind.

2. Convert PDF to JPEG, Excel and PowerPoint

You’re strapped for time. You need to make some final analysis on tabular data. You need to prep approved images for publication.  You need to make some tweaks to a presentation you’re giving in a few hours. Any of these sound familiar? These scenarios are all too common, and in each case, a PDF file can be involved, making that single PDF task even tougher.

Convert PDF To JPG Online

In cases like these, online conversion tools can be a lifesaver. We know the constraints of time, money and resources. That’s why we’ve made it easy for you to get that PDF to JPEG, PDF to Excel and PDF to PowerPoint conversion done. No installation needed. No registration required. Just upload your file, enter your email and click on Convert. Your file will be emailed to you, free of charge.

3. Read a PDF File Out Loud 

Anyone who needs to review, research or do some reading can especially hate the task if it involves doing so with a PDF document and a busy schedule. Not only does it mean having to read a screen, but, if you’re on the go, it also means having to do it on a mobile device. Something a bit cumbersome for a 5-7 inch gadget. And that’s why SpokenText  makes this list.

This tool is an online text to audio converter that comes with the ability to convert text in documents to audio files (.mp3, .m4b) you can take with you. You literally turn your reading task into a listening one. It can convert Word documents, plain text files and PDF documents, just to name a few. This online tool has paid and trial accounts with a few customizable features that makes it worth checking out.

4. Bookmark Your Page In A PDF

Reading lengthy PDF files in Chrome is common and it can be pretty frustrating at times.  You close your PDF, lose your page and then open the file later on, only to scroll through the entire PDF  to find the one place where you left off.

The Chrome extension, PDF Bookmarker, eliminates this hassle if you’re reading a PDF in Google Docs. Once the extension is installed, you can bookmark the PDF page you’re reading. Just click on the bookmark button on the thumbnail icon. The extension will open up to the page you bookmarked the next time you open the file.

5. Sign PDF Documents

Signing PDFs is one of those tasks that you don’t want to do. It sounds tedious and difficult. So it may surprise you that it can accomplished online and with Chrome, no less. Of course, this capability is done through a Chrome extension: HelloSign.

Selecting Signature Type

HelloSign will let you add form fields and signatures to PDFs that are uploaded to Google Drive. Signed documents come with an audit trail to keep track of them, email notifications to all parties, and the ability to share the signed form. Read our tutorial on how to sign PDF documents. We feature a step by step look at how to use this extension to add a signature to your PDF documents.

With just a few of these tips, you can further enhance how you work with PDF files online. Give them a try and let us know how they work out for you.

How To Trim Objects Quickly?

Part 12 of 13 in our How To Use AutoCAD series

Along with the many object manipulation features AutoCAD provides,  the Trim command is another common feature you’ll need to be familiar with as you modify your CAD drawings.

Trimming objects in AutoCAD is useful for merging objects at the place of their intersection.  The easiest way to trim objects in AutoCAD 2016 is to use the “Trim” command located on the Modify panel.

1.First, select the objects you want to trim. You can click on them individually or you can left click and drag to group the objects.

Trimming AutoCAD Objects

2.Right click on the blank space to finalize the selection.

3.Left click on the lines to trim them. Right click or enter to finalize the trimming.

Trimming AutoCAD Objects

Note that you can only trim the lines that intersect. The best tip for deleting unwanted lines would be to use the “Erase” command, which is also located on the Modify panel.