Document marking and identification is one of the primary components of a document management system. While much has and is being made of the “paperless office” and electronic document management (EDM), the fact remains that it is resulting in “less paper” and not to a major degree. Obviously, paper is not going away anytime soon. Likewise, it is safe to say the most text-based PDF files originate from a Microsoft Word document. Couple that with the “compliance” requirements and potential for liability for all businesses and you see why effective paper and PDF document identification and security are a core requirement.
After creation, as in most things, the document lifecycle begins. However, a common practice in the creation process is the printing of copies of the document for review, sharing, editing, finalizing and any number of other reasons that we still generate paper documents. This is the point at which the degree of document risk is determined for the life of that document.
Consideration must be given to the following:
- Who is going to receive the document?
- What is the purpose or intent of the document?
- Can the purpose or intent be misinterpreted?
- How to insure (as much as possible) that the document is used as intended?
- How to ensure that the document’s purpose is not misunderstood?
- How to clearly convey the message with the document?
Historically and presently, custom rubber stamps were used to identify the more complex documents and standard self-inking stamps were used for the more common purposes such as COPY, DRAFT, ORIGINAL, etc. In the last 10 or so years, putting those words into headers/footers become more convenient and offered more space for information.
The problem with header/footer marking is that it usually was (and is) in the same font as the body text and frequently, smaller. This made it easy to overlook and easy to remove with a late-generation copier.
Finally, word processors were able to overlay visible watermarks on documents that were combined with the body-text of the document. These watermarks were frequently applied manually. Printer manufacturers incorporated the function into their printers but accessing and using the feature made it unpopular.
The problem with the watermark was the almost the same problem the header/footer marking created — it was easily removed with a late-generation copy machine.
Which brings us to the most effective method of ensuring the intent and purpose of a document is not misunderstood or misused.
Graphical Marking of Word Documents.
Its no secret that our attention is attracted to images before text and we process images much faster than we process words or text. The object then is to graphically mark text documents in a manner the precludes alteration AND simultaneously conveys the purpose and intent of your document.
Embedding an indicia in the body text of each page of the document provides the greatest degree of document security — PROVIDING that the indicia cannot be removed with a scanner or copier. Microsoft Word has all the components to accomplish this process. It can be done manually and becomes easier as you increase your skill in the application of graphics for document management. Of course, using an automated process makes the task much simpler and more efficient by way of the convenience.
StampIt for Word automates the entire document marking process for small business document management in whatever format meets the user’s requirements — all from within the Word document. Download a free trial of StampIt. It will add a new dimension and image to your documents and make you more efficient.