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paperless office
Last modified: Saturday, May 16, 1998 

The idealized office in which paper is absent because all information is stored and transferred electronically. With the ever-expanding application of computers into business areas as diverse as accounting, desktop publishing, billing, mail, and scheduling, it seemed in the early 80s that the real paperless office was just around the corner. Ironically, just the opposite has transpired. The ease with which computers enable people to print all sorts of documents has created a flood of new paper. Indeed, perhaps the most widespread computer application is the fax machine, which uses paper by the ream.

Some analysts believe that the paperless office is still an achievable and laudable goal, but that certain key technologies such as optical character recognition (OCR) must be improved. Others, however, argue that the tangibleness of paper documents yields certain benefits that will never disappear.

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