At the rate of speed the world moves these days, the legal profession needs to do all it can to highlight and enhance efficiency. Nowhere is it more of an issue than it is in the process of sharing, and collaborating on documents, whether that might be for proofreading, editing, or searching for information within a document.
Manipulate Your PDF Files
We are all quite familiar with the PDF, or portable document format. The PDF has largely replaced paper and other forms of digital document, due to its ability to hold formatting, preserve fonts, and graphics. So assuming we are all good with the fundamentals of PDFs, let’s look at some tips on how to go beyond the basics:
Convert Documents with Ease
There is a widespread frustration in the legal world about all the time spent converting PDFs back to Word files, for example. PDF document converter allows you to convert the PDF to the document format of your choice so that you don’t have to start over from scratch, helping you get your edits done and get on with it faster than ever before. You can do this through the ‘save as’ or the ‘export’ command under the file menu.
Redact Sensitive Information
In a PDF, there is actually a redaction tool that you can use to cover up confidential information. Tip: always make sure you save a clean, un-redacted copy of the original PDF. In cases where your claim of privilege is deemed improper, you will need an unmarked copy.
PDF forms can significantly reduce your flow of paperwork. Evidence, opinions, statements, and other legal documents can be converted into a fillable, printable form, from which the data received can be exported into other document formats, like Excel, for example. This has the effect of speeding up communication flows, and it reduces the incidence of errors, saving time, money, and frustration in the long run.
Picture this: you are sitting in an airport about to leave the country, and a colleague emails you a document that needs a signature right away. You have no access to a printer, scanner or fax machine, but this is a time-critical matter that nobody else can handle. Within the PDF software lies the ability to sign with a digital signature, basically an ID which corresponds to a signature on a physical document. It is completely secure, too: if any changes are made to the document after you sign, your signature becomes invalid. When creating your signature, you can utilize an existing digital ID, or create a unique one. You can find signature and security options under the ‘advanced’ file menu.
Protection Against Unauthorized Access
PDF files are far more secure than paper documents, but only if you apply a layer of security to them. To this end, you can password-protect your PDF documents so that they don’t fall into the wrong hands. This would be especially helpful if you are sending documents to a client but aren’t sure whether their computer is for their use only. The only trouble you might run into with this is if the form of encryption you are using is not recognized by another’s older version of the software. Fortunately, that is an easy fix – PDF is free for all to download and use.
These are just some of the ways you can venture beyond the PDF basics of viewing and saving, and will hopefully bring you new ways to improve your legal document workflow and security.