Recently, I found myself with some technical difficulties when my printer and scanner both stopped working – a nightmare in any office. But this got me thinking, with the amount of cloud storage available to us today, do we really need to print our business documents at all?

This all started when my HP printer failed to recognise both remanufactured and genuine HP ink cartridges, and then the scanner stopped working too. Luckily, I found an old Cannon Scanner that is used to scan any letters or paper documents, and I have been dramatically reducing the amount of paper I print as I convert most of my paperwork, emails and document to PDF.

Creating PDFs is very easy to do, and very handy when stored on cloud services. I use my iPad and a program from a company called Readdle; they created an App called PDF Expert and this program is really good for generating and annotating PDFs you wish to read and/or amend. These can then be saved in cloud storage; personally, I use Google Drive, iCloud, Dropbox and a couple of others, which totals several terabytes of online storage.

So, after not being able to print for a couple of months and at times wishing I could, I decided to change my point of view; why do I print at all? What do I really need to print these days? What is the benefit in printing anything? No benefit at all was my conclusion.

Here’s why I am sticking to digital storage:

  • Every type of electronic file that you need to read can be converted to PDF
  • PDF documents can be read by any computer, smart phone, tablet or iPad whether you’re at home, at the office or out and about
  • For documents that require comments or notes, apps such as PDF Expert, allow you to annotate easily
  • Less printing costs – no more £25 ink cartridges!
  • No papers to clutter your in tray or hide your desk, and no leaver arch folders full of papers you may never go back to

Although I tried to get my printer up and running, I’m grateful to HP for making me stop and consider why I need to print. The truth is, with today’s electronic society and software, it isn’t necessary; you may like to hold a sheet of paper, but do you really need to print it at all? With an organised system of collecting emails, web pages and other documents, storing your business documents online is easy and convenient.
At the bottom of most emails you receive is a small notice asking you to consider, do you need to print this email. Perhaps we should all reconsider, do we need to print at all?