Going paperless is a continuing process. Once you’ve got what you need and have developed your workflow, going paperless is about finding the additional tools and implementing tips and tricks to streamline as many processes as possible. So here are a few tips and tricks in Adobe Acrobat I’ve picked up since I’ve gone paperless.
The most important tip? As I’ve said before, don’t try to skimp on your .pdf program. In a paperless office you’ll spend nearly as much time using your .pdf program as you will your word processor. So don’t skimp—Adobe Acrobat Pro will give you more features than you will probably ever use. But the features you do need will be there.
Bates stamping (consecutively numbering documents) can be accomplished quickly and easily with Acrobat. In the “good old days” we kept paralegals and secretary’s busy for hours stamping hundreds or thousands of pages of documents. Now, you literally accomplish the task in minutes. Simply designate the files, indicate the order and initiate. Acrobat may chew on it for a bit, but it will all be accomplished without anymore input from you.
Bates Numbering is found in the Advanced pane. Advanced>Document Processing>Bates Numbering>Add
Once you’ve launched Bates Numbering, you’ll be presented with this screen. You can pick where you want the Bates to appear, either header or footer, right, center or left. You can also insert other information into these sections.
This is an example of what the Bates Numbering will look like:
Headers and footers
Acrobat allows you to add tons of information to documents as headers or footers. Page numbers, dates, designations that it is confidential or work product. The list goes on and on. It’s limited only by what you need and the space available.
Access Headers and Footers from Documents>Header & Footer
An example (shown in red) of some of the information you can add:
Bookmarking can be used for many purposes. It can act as a tab to allow quick navigation through a document. It can be used to create, in effect, an index. With longer, more descriptive bookmarks, it can be used to summarize depositions or medical records.
Bookmarking is accessed via the side panel. Once created, a click on a bookmark will jump directly to the relevant page.
The stamps tool in Acrobat allows you to use a number of pre-loaded stamps, just like you’d use a traditional rubber stamp. Options include received, faxed, sent, confidential and many more.But it’s much more powerful than that. You can download templates for exhibit “stickers.”. You can even create your own stamps. If you can create a .pdf of something, you can turn it into a stamp. For example, I have a stamp of my signature and one of my notary.
Stamps is accessed via the Tools toolbar. Below is an example of a few of the stamps available. The topmost is my signature stamp, followed by my notary stamp and available Exhibit stamps.
Gone are the days of white out. You can easily use Acrobats redaction tools to block out information that can’t be presented to a jury—such as mentions of insurance or payments on medical bills. Redactions can either be set to leave a blacked out appearance, clearly indicating where something was redacted, or whited out, which is less obvious. And, you can present opposing counsel with a copy that shows the redacted material without the actual redactions—so that there is no question regarding what has been redacted.
These are just a few of the tips and tricks I’ve learned over the years of going paperless. What tips and tricks have you learned?