It is pretty safe to say that not many people like paperwork, or to be more specific, hardly anyone likes going through the hustle which piling up paperwork makes. But, in the law industry going through papers is a constant, because a single piece of paper can be a game changer when it comes to evidence and court rulings.
Paperwork will probably always be a part of the law industry, but it’s upon us to determine how much time we want to devote to working through it. With the huge growth technology has made in the last 2 decades, there have been signs of cutbacks on the use of paper, however it is pretty apparent that paperwork intends to stick around.
One of the major technology leaps has been accessing files online, as well as making requests, purchases and other actions online for things we had to go to some physical location only a few years ago. The exchange of files over the internet, email and contact forms has multiplied several times over the years. Scanning documents has become easier than ever, additionally contributing to eliminating the need for physical presence and speeding up many different processes. However, while scanning software is certainly considered an important technological invention, one problem keeps resurfacing time after time - the question of how to edit scanned files. Of course, you guessed the solution - there’s specialized software especially for this.
Since scanned documents are often saved in PDF format, there is quite a demand for software that allows editing these types of files. The technology that allows scanned PDF editing and conversion is called OCR (Optical Character Recognition) and it reads and processes information in a file that is basically an image, all the file forwarding this information to the main part of the software for conversion.
What Is OCR?
By Wikipedia’s definition, OCR is the mechanical or electronic conversion of images and typed, handwritten or printed text into machine-encoded text. This means that with a good enough OCR engine you can convert any PDF into easily editable documents of different formats. In order to do so you must choose a perfect OCR app, and if you keep reading through this article, you can also learn how to move a big chunk of your work to the comfort of your home and your iPad. No need for printing files, no need for scanning freshly printed pages, no need for overcomplicating, you just need a piece of software with a strong OCR engine and the aspiration to work from home.
OCR also helps with data management, allowing users to search through scanned data by converting PDFs into text searchable format. The usage of OCR for legal matter management has revolutionized the way in which legal documents are stored and retrieved, and saved thousands of hours that would be spent on storing and filing data.
How to Convert PDFs on iOS
When evaluating technology from the mobile side, it is usually advisable to go with the best and most advanced devices, because settling for an average piece of software can set you back even further than what you originally experienced when working with huge piles of paper. Two of the most popular mobile devices created by Apple are, of course, the iPhone and iPad, and they are now used by around 150-200 million Americans. There’s a good reason for such popularity, and if you want the best mobile devices for work, you should consider using them.
With premium hardware, you will need premium software to go with it, and one of the best apps with the industry-leading OCR technology is surely PDF to Word, a state of the art mobile app converter.
You can easily import all the PDFs you need to convert from one of 5 different services
Coming straight out of the Cometdocs workshop, PDF to Word has many new features to brag about in its third major release. In May 2016, PDF to Word 3.0 was released for the public, and the adaptations and several new services offered were surely more than what most users expected.
One of the newest additions made in the third release was the implementation of integrated importing services such as Gmail, Google Drive, Dropbox, etc. Aside from standard importing system that requires your to add files from your device’s hard disk, you can now convert files from several other clouds services. This change is very important for iOS users for one simple reason: iOS as a system does not have a file browser, but you have to find every file by hand in your device and then select the app you will be opening it with:
Once you select the service, a list of all PDF files inside it will appear sorted one after another, just as you left them. Select a file you want to convert by clicking on it and you will see the selected file shown below the integrated services. Both converted files and ongoing conversions will be shown in that section.
Another advantage of using this app is that it saves your battery while making conversions by shutting down while converting. This has been made possible because the conversion is actually done on the app's servers. If you’re concerned about your file’s safety, it’s good to know that it gets deleted 24h after conversion. The only potential downsides of using PDF to Word is that you have to download your converted file quickly (within 24 hours before it gets deleted) and you must keep your device connected to internet at all times.
Apps to Edit and Reuse
Now that you have your file converted, what are some other pieces of software you could use for work from your couch or lazy bag? Well, many people are advocates of syncing devices and services. Sticking to a certain syncing and cloud storage software brand can be useful, especially if that brand is Google. In the past, Google has inspired millions of tech users, and it keeps coming out with great additions to its community, including world class apps and services. The most popular are without a doubt Gmail and Google Drive. When synced, these two are untouchable. The combination of the world's most popular webmail service, along with one of the best file creation, editing and storage tools is enough to pull huge amounts of interest, and it is definitely something you should look into.
Once you convert your file with PDF to Word, you will have a completely new .docx file which you can edit right away in the app of your choice. Google Drive is one of the best apps that takes care of your editing requirements without much effort.
But if you lean more towards Microsoft, we have good news for you as well! Microsoft has recently released a completely new mobile office pack, so you can use their MS Word mobile app for editing these types of files for free.
If you haven’t yet made a step towards incorporating mobile tech in your legal office, consider starting with the above mentioned apps. Try them out and feel free to let us know what you think!