How to go (even more) paperless at work with Dropbox

Overhead view of several people working on computers, tablets, and phones with their hands.


In some offices, it’s rare to see stacks of printed papers these days. But in others, the need for paper is hard to fully escape. For many workers, the use of actual pieces of paper for things like contracts and reports is so embedded in our processes, it’s hard to imagine life any other way. But going paperless—as much as possible, at least—has a lot of benefits. It cuts down on costs for paper itself—as well as other printing supplies—and can help you make better use of office space by getting rid of filing cabinets. And when you use less paper, there’s less risk of your information being lost or damaged. So here are three times when you might still be using paper, and how Dropbox can help you accomplish the same thing faster and more safely.

When you hear the dreaded, “Can you fax that to me?”

A few years ago, the traditional fax was partially displaced by online fax technologies. And while many of them worked well, ultimately it was just another tool for you to learn, and a username to keep track of. Nevertheless, faxes are still around because not everyone has scanners. But if you’re a Dropbox user, there’s a better way to get paperwork to people: your phone.

Any document you’re working with can be added to your Dropbox with document scanning in the iOS app. It doesn’t matter if it’s a tax form, a rental agreement, or an invoice. With a few clicks, it can be safe and sound in your Dropbox, which means you can easily share it with anyone in the world. With any luck, they’ll store your file in their own Dropbox, and together you’ll have saved a few pieces of paper from the fax machine.

An animated image showing how you can use your smartphone's camera to scan documents using the Dropbox mobile app.

When everyone needs to review your work

Have you ever printed out your work and handed it over to someone to mark up with their red pen? It can be an effective way to get feedback from one person. But if you’re getting feedback from a larger group, this approach presents a few problems. It’s hard to keep track of everyone’s copies, and get their edits back quickly. Plus, aggregating several peoples’ edits and notes—from several printouts—can be a headache. And of course, it’s a big waste of paper.

Instead, gather the feedback you need with Dropbox. You can share your file with several people at once, and they can all leave comments on specific areas of your work—giving you all your feedback in one confusion-free place. For your written work—like reports, blog posts, or project plans—try using a different kind of paper. Dropbox Paper, which is now in open beta, is designed to help you and your team capture ideas and iterate on them quickly.


The commenting feature in Dropbox Paper

When people just won’t stop sending you mail

We won’t be a truly paperless society until we stop sending each other mail—the postal kind, not electronic. So while we’re all waiting for that to happen, you’ll probably get a lot of paper in the mail from vendors and clients. It’s tempting to throw it all away, but the truth is that a lot of what comes in your mail is important, and should be treated carefully.

This is yet another place where Dropbox document scanning comes in handy. On your iOS device, you can quickly scan your important mail into your Dropbox for safe keeping, and then send the paper right to the shredder. And the best part is that if you’re a Dropbox Business user, you can search the contents of those scans, and always find what you need—without thumbing through dozens of file folders.

Switching to new ways of doing things always takes time, and going paperless is no exception. While you might not be able to get rid of all the paper at your office, Dropbox can help you take a few more steps in the right direction. For more tips on ways to get work done quickly, securely, and collaboratively, check out our newest features:

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