The other day I got a fax from my local bar association asking me to confirm by way of a return fax that I would be attending a committee meeting. It would have been more efficient if they had simply asked me to send a response email, but we’ll get to that later. The workflow process that I used to respond to the fax illustrates a couple of great features in Acrobat. It also shows how most workflow problems can be handled without any paper whatsoever.
The fax from the Louisiana State Bar Association showed up in my email box. That’s because I use a service called eFax, which gives me a local number to which faxes can be sent. But the faxes show up as emails, so I don’t have to have a fax machine and worry about all the things that can go wrong with a machine. I don’t worry about whether if my fax thing has paper, and I don’t worry if my phone line is working. The faxes arrive safely every time at the eFax center, and then they are forwarded to me.
The fax arrives as a PDF attachment to the email. All I have to do is download the attachment and open it in Acrobat. When I opened the fax I saw that it was a notification of a committee meeting. The second page of the fax was a response form that asked me to check off if I was planning to attend and then return the form by fax.
I used Acrobat’s “Extract” feature to make a copy of just the second page, the one with the response form. Then I used the “typewriter” feature to put an X in the box that indicated I would attend the meeting in person. There was a signature line at the bottom. So I clicked the ‘signature’ button on the Acrobat toolbar and went through the steps to ‘digitally sign’ the document. I saved the changes to the file and then logged on to the eFax site where I uploaded the file, directing it to be faxed to the bar association.
I’m sure I was the only committee member to return a response without ever touching a piece of paper (for which will receive some ‘style points,’ at best). Maybe it would have been faster to print out the fax, sign it and send it back in. But I don’t have a physical fax machine. Of course, as I said, it the most efficient method would have been to have the committee members reply by email. Perhaps I’ll mention that at the meeting. It would be sort of ironic because the committee is called the “Practice Assistance and Improvement Committee.”
Oh, and I should mention that I did all of this with my laptop at a coffee shop that has wireless internet. How’s that for paperless workflow?