You may be leery of the "paperless office," but the fact is, it costs less to manage documents electronically than to keep buying filing cabinets (and a place to put them). Here are three easy, low-cost ways to cut the paper clutter. Fax-to-File. Everyone knows how to use a fax machine. Subscribe to eFax Plus and fax paper documents from your fax machine to your own eFax number. They'll show up attached to an e-mail message in a format you can save on your computer or network. ($9.95/month, www.efax.com)
Simple Scanning. ScanSoft's PaperPort Deluxe software makes converting documents a snap. It has an ingenious drag-and-drop interface that even a computer newbie will find easy to use, and it works with almost any inexpensive scanner. ($99 from www.scansoft.com)
On-Screen Documents. Avoid using paper in the first place. Adobe Acrobat "prints" your documents electronically in PDF format, which is easy to view on any PC or Mac, though it isn't easily modified. That's ideal for contracts, drawings, and other project-specific documents. ($249 at www.adobe.com/acrobat.) --Joe Stoddard is a technology consultant to the construction industry. firstname.lastname@example.org.