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Chapter 29. Developing an Effective File... > Electronic Filing vs. Paper Files

Electronic Filing vs. Paper Files

Technological advances have added to the paper influx. As more information becomes available electronically, people find themselves printing out Web content, e-mails, and documents attached to e-mails. Whether they intend to read them later or they simply feel more comfortable with paper copies in their files, the simple fact is that electronic-source paper piles are on the rise. Here are some tips for managing paper of electronic origin:

Rather than automatically printing electronic content, set up an electronic filing system. Perhaps set up two files: one in your e-mail program for messages you need to save (refer to Part IV, Managing Messaging Systems) and one in your word processing program for Web content you download for reference.

Do not duplicate. Do not file documents both electronically and in paper files. Decide which is the more effective way to file each document so that it is most easily accessible.

Print, then toss. If you must print an electronic file to read—for example, “on the road”—toss it when you are done. If you have made notes on the paper version, add the notes to the electronic file at the first opportunity.

Schedule electronic file maintenance. Computer files can get out of hand as quickly as paper. Do not trade paper pile-ups for overstuffed electronic files. (Hint: Set the “Reminder” function in your e-mail program to tell you when it is time to do electronic file maintenance.)


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