Paper and PDF Document Management for Word

A better way for document identification.

Word Users Don’t Need Rubber Stamps

Ways to save money in these tough economic times aren’t exactly obvious. Old habits are hard to break — like the one of using rubber stamps to mark documents, particularly multiple copies of a document. Hundreds of dollars per year can be saved by just eliminating one trip a day to a copy machine using an automated process. Untold amounts can be saved by preventing a copy from becoming an “original.”

Using a rubber stamp is a very inefficient method of marking paper documents generated from a word processor. Moreover, unless the stamp obliterates part of a document’s content, it can’t keep the document’s use consistent with its intent. If a worker requires multiple copies of a document to be stamped and the document has multiple pages, each page requires identification if the document is to be secure and/or protected. Otherwise, at least the first page of each copy needs to be stamped. If copies of the document are intended for different recipients, the marking should so indicate, e.g. client copy, accounting, privileged, etc. This practice requires a collection of custom rubber stamps which is neither efficient or economic. And, depending on how the stamp is used, only marginally effective, if at all. Rubber stamps in the margin or text in a footer offer little protection.

In 2006, the Department of the Navy determined best practices dictated that documents should be properly marked “. . .before they are distributed. The reason is that not everyone is attuned to how to handle documents they receive… proper marking of documents alerts the recipient to any requirements that are attached to the document.”

Because many documents are more than 1 or 2 pages, the inclination is to mark only the first page of the document, e.g. “privileged.” If that marking (1) exists only on the first page and (2) is only in the margin, the document is one that, in paper form, can have its purpose or intent altered. Once the stamp is removed, the quality of digital copiers make distinction between the true “original” and a duplicate without marking, almost impossible. Rubber stamps, that are usually placed in the margins of paper documents, do not provide protection for the document. Making copies and manual application of stamps to the document wastes time and money. It is worth noting that the average business document is copied 19 times.

While electronic documents provide a partial solution, a PDF cannot protect a paper document. As long as we continue to generate paper, today’s business and legal environments demand paper document integrity. Because a document is most vulnerable at the time of printing, its marking should be done at that time. Graphical marking by the word-processor and the printer is the only efficient method of preserving the integrity of paper documents when they are printed.

Author Info: For more information, go to StampIt® for Word, the Rubber Stamp Alternative and see how to automate document marking). Enhancement Software has been providing process automation software for word processing since 1993. StampIt® provides a complete solution to paper document marking, signatures and printing without the use of rubber stamps.

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