Monday, February 22, 2010

Tablet PC Software, Installment 1

Let’s talk tablet software.

There are manifold aspects to the automation that I’ve experienced over the past few years in part due to adapting a Tablet PC to my daily workday, that I’ve come to take my tablet for granted. Today I want to take a moment to recount my experience with some PDF annotation software that Grahl introduced some years ago called PDF Annotator.

Prior to my foray into the tablet workstyle, my day was speckled with the occasional paper-to-pen-to-scan-to-print-to-sign-to-scan-to-send cycle, that I had accepted it as the de rigueur behavior for standard forms and paperwork. Receive a form, print it, fill it in, sign it, scan it and send it was just how business was done. And woe be to the hapless intermediary who also has to chop on a work-in-progress. Now it’s his turn to initiate another iteration of the print it, fill it in, sign it, scan it and send it cycle—which only serves to further degrade what was once a pristine electronic version of a form.

Enter Grahl’s PDF Annotator.

The cycle was broken with the ability to fill in a PDF with my TC1100 or Scribbler SC-3100 or Stylistic ST-5112. I can obtain the form electronically, fill it in with a stylus and the tablet pc, and then email it straight away for action. No printing and scanning. No fuss, no mess.

During the course of a normal business day, any number of correspondence requiring my signature and remittance comes and goes electronically, without so much as paper and pen coming between me and its ultimate recipient. This represents a real dollar savings in toner cartridges and paper not bought. But the value I see every day is the time savings I realize by being able to turn around routine paperwork in seconds what takes the conventional manager literally minutes to accomplish. This kind of automation really adds up during the course of a workweek.

So how does it work?

From this side of the tablet, it’s pure magic. The PDF comes in via email or file server, I open it with PDF Annotator and jot and sign away. I then save over the original (or save as a copy) and forward or file a copy of it to its intended recipient.

How many times have I been away from a printer, but tethered to the Internet, when I received a file for signature? This simple but powerful piece of software actually obviates pen and paper for routine forms and remittance. And if I had to rate the bang for the buck when it comes to tablet software, this little package from Grahl takes the cake.

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