Print Utilities

by Kevin Salter on 10.03.2012 14:25

In our last blog we looked at how survey software might be used effectively. We now consider print utilities. These utilities generally sit alongside the physical printer icons on your computer and can be chosen as an output device in the same way as you choose a printer.


Output from working have historically always been printed, hole punched and placed on a file. In recent years, the move to the paperless office has gathered pace. Another recent blog saw a picture of 25 filing cabinets leaving our office, with around a million sheets of physical paper now electronically stored away. http://www.ion.icaew.com/itcounts/23999


There are many ways in which this paper reduction has been achieved but we are going to consider only one method here - printing to a PDF file. PDF - portable document format - has been around for some time, and there are now many PDF creator tools available, many of them free, or just a few pounds to buy.  CutePDF is one such free PDF creator tool that can be used.


Our document management software has a PDF creator built into the product. We can print to a PDF from any software and it automatically opens up the input screen into the document management software for filing away.


In other circumstances a PDF may be created and saved to a working papers folder e.g. a trial balance and detailed nominal reports from accounting software. These printouts can often run to dozens of pages; do they really need to be on physical paper? This is especially relevant when the whole job is converted back into electronic format and filed away to document management software at the end of the job.


PDF X-change viewer is a utility that allows working with a PDF file already created. For instance, it is possible to use a typewriter mode to enter text onto a PDF, enter sticky notes, insert or delete pages, affix rubber stamps e.g. Approved, Draft etc. to name but a few of the features.


Finally, another print utility which is incredibly useful - so much so that it is set as the default printer for everyone in my office. PriPrinter allows you to combine output from various programs into one, and then print to a physical printer or to a PDF. So, for instance, you may have accounts coming out of the final accounts software, graphs coming out of Excel and a report coming out of Word. All these can be sent to PriPrinter and just one PDF created.


It also has the ability to insert watermarks and to create forms. These forms could be as simple as a simple logo on the side of a sheet of paper, or could be as complex as your headed paper with logos, partners names, office addresses etc. This can then be used with any letters or other documents.


An effective way of reducing physical output and file sizes of electronic output is to make use of the facility to print 2 to a page, or perhaps 4 to a page.


There are other utilities out there that perform these functions and more...what are your favourite print utilities and how do you use them?