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Time Saver Savvy – Going Paperless with Your iPad!

Women's Initiative Newsletter
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We'd all like to use less, carry less and store less paper. So here are some tips for going paperless with iPad.

1. Notetaking

Do you type or handwrite your notes? If you want to type, all you need is a Bluetooth keyboard and a good word processing app, such as Docs to Go or Pages.

If you're not a strong typist or think typing notes would be rude or distracting, you still have a few good options:

  • First, with a notetaking app such as Notability, you can handwrite directly on the screen with your finger or a stylus. By the way, you can type into Notability, but that app saves as PDF, rather than text, so it's harder to turn your notes into a Word document or email later. So reserve Notability for when you want to include handwriting, illustrations (doodles) or a simultaneous audio recording (!).
  • Second, you can write on paper and then use a "scanner" app (see "Scanning" below) to save your notes. This doesn't save paper, but it does reduce lugging.
  • Third, for a more substantial investment, you can buy a "smart pen," which lets you write on paper while capturing your notes in an app. I have not tried this and don't plan to, but some people swear by it.

2. Scanning

They say the best camera is the one you have with you. The same can be said of scanners. iPhone and iPad scanner apps will never take as good a picture as a desktop scanner, and they don't have automatic sheet feeders. But if you scan documents, notes and travel receipts while you're away, you won't have to carry them back with you.

There are many good scanner apps. They take a picture, square and crop it, and then create a PDF, which you can store or email. If you don't already have a scanner app, take a look at Scanbot. For a few extra dollars, you can upgrade to the Pro version, which offers OCR to convert scanned documents (if they're typed, not handwritten) to searchable and editable text.

If you get a lot of business cards, you'll also want CamCard, which will scan a business card, read it and then turn it into a Contact.

3. Annotating

A PDF annotator will let you add highlighting, editing marks, margin notes, "Draft" stamps, signatures and more to a PDF version of a document. PDF Expert (by Readdle) is the best of this breed, and it offers many other functions, such as rearranging pages, combining PDFs and completing fill-in-the-blank PDFs. It's also a great app for storing documents (not just PDFs) and organizing them into folders.

Notability (see "Notetaking" above) also offers basic PDF annotation, and that may be all you need. If you're getting Notability to take notes, try it for PDF annotation, too, before investing time and money in yet another app.

What if the document you want to annotate was sent to you in Word format instead of PDF? If you can't or don't want to ask your sender to convert it from Word to PDF and resend, you can convert it yourself. PDF Converter (by Readdle) does a good job of converting most Word documents and is also great for saving web content in PDF. Note that PDF Converter and other converter apps sometimes struggle with formatting, so your PDF may not look the same as the original Word document.

4. Reading

Don't forget to change your newspaper and magazine subscriptions to digital. Also check out Flipboard, which will deliver a lot of free news content, as well as blogs and feeds from your social media accounts. And then there's the Kindle app with "Whispersync," so you can switch from iPhone to iPad without losing your place.

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