Paper is such a huge part of our everyday lives that we hardly think about it or the impact it has on us and our world.
Consider paper for a moment. Thereâs little we can do where paper is not involved in some way. Your first cup of morning joe was likely filtered by paper, the cereal boxes, egg cartons, milk containers, even that can of vegetable shortening (or if youâre like my parentâs family, that block of lard) all could be contained or served in or on paper. Businesses run on paper, ideas are often launched on paper, and as we all all know, when relieving ourselves the job isnât finished until the paperwork is done.
Thatâs a lot of paper!
Even so, consumers have reduced the amount of paper they use. In fact, people in North America consumed 20% less paper in 2009 than they did in 2005. A lot of factors could contribute to that decrease including the increased use of plastic, a non-renewable resource. Still, it can be reasoned that going paperless can have an effect.
Personally, I would love to reduce the size of the mountain of paper I use, store, or throw away daily. Just dealing with receipts is enough to drive me batty. Then thereâs business cards, snail mail, handwritten notes, napkins, paper bags (to hide my beer), contracts, agreements, and on and on.
Going completely paperless is tough to do, maybe even impossible, but every un-needed sheet of new paper is a bit of an old tree saved, and here are three iOS apps that might make saving whole trees a tad easier.
Let me say up front that I havenât had a chance to play with these apps fully so I canât say how good they are after long term use, so Iâll only speak to the apparent usefulness (or lack thereof) and offer what little opinion I have based on my limited playing.
You need a will! Yes, you! You may be young or in the best health of your life, but you really could use a will. Not to get morbid on you, but if youâre reading this while walking your next step could be your last. And there youâd be without that piece of paper that everyone gathers around after youâre gone to see how much you liked them while you were alive.
Iâm kidding, of course, youâll likely live a long a happy life, but, just like taxes, your eventual quietus is the only other sure thing. A will can make sure that your wishes for the disposition of the stuff you own and for what you owe gets taken care of according toâ¦, well, your will. Itâs a legal document that youâd think youâd have to visit a lawyer to create. Not so. And as many iOS users are wont to say, âthereâs an app for that!â
myWill is a simple iOS app that walks you through the process of creating a basic last will and testament that, if executed correctly, is recognized by most municipalities. You fire up the app and answer some rather pointed questions, and after a bit you have a document that describes how you want things done in the even of your timely or untimely demise.
Iâve played with it a bit and it looks super easy to use. Be warned that the app canât create more than a very basic will, and it explains that, so be sure to read everything before you start creating.
Itâs ad free, easy to use and free. Whatâs not to like about myWill?
Steno Lite 
There are many occasions when I need to push out a form email or message, one thatâs contains similar information, but the variables, such as recipients, times, dates, and places are different. I keep a short list of note templates and update the variables, then mail them when I need to. That may well change with Steno Lite.
This app handles the heavy lifting when sending form messages, all you have to do is provide the details. The Lite version gives you four note templates to play with, and a bunch of variable, they call placeholders, to get you going.
Where would you use Steno Lite? If you routinely send a specific type of email, like reminders to clients, direction or instructions, queries, and such then Steno Lite could be what youâre looking for.
Be warned that the Lite version only allows you to send 20 messages. That should be adequate to see if itâs useful to you. It is also ad supported. Presumably buying the full version gets rid of the ads.
Lets say youâve got a PDF or other document in you inbox and it requires your signature. What youâd normally have to do is print it out to sign it, then scan it back in to send it back via email. There are others ways around this, but they tend to be just as kludgy. What you need is a simple, elegant way to sign your documents electronically. What you may need is SignNow.
As the name implies, SignNow lets you sign virtual documents â¦, um,â¦ virtually. No muss or fuss. Pop open a PDF or other doc type in SignNow, tap where you want to sign, position and size your hen scratching, hit âOKâ and there ya go. The app lets you create the perfect sig then stores it for future use. You can also insert text anyplace you need to.
The result is a PDF file that you can send via email or save to a free SignNow account that looks professionally typed and manually signed. While I like the idea of being able to save my signed document to a cloud I donât like that I have to use SignNowâs cloud. I canât even save it locally, I have to send it to SignNow or email it to myself to save it. Not cool.
Still, Itâs simple and works great and thatâs one less tree that needs to be harvested.
Thatâs a wrap for this week. More free paper saving apps below with direct links.
Vern Seward is a writer who currently lives in Orlando, FL. Heâs been a Mac fan since Atari Computers folded, but has worked with computers of nearly every type for 20 years.