Monday, October 23, 2006

Faking It. We have engraved stationary at the office. High grade stuff. Expensive. But increasingly I am finding myself asking my assistant not to mail that letter in the matching, engraved envelope with the 39 cent stamp but to scan it and send me the pdf so that I can attach it to an email.

Here's how it goes, often:

1. I dictate the letter;
2. The assistant transcribes it, hits print to produce a draft copy, walks to the printer and picks up the draft
3. She walks the draft into my office and deposits the draft in my in-box, and I get up and go get it;
4. I mark it up and put it back in my out box
5. She picks it up, goes back to her station, redoes the letter and prints it on a different printer that has bond paper loaded in it.
6. She goes to the printer, picks up the bond product, takes it to my office for the in box
7. I pick it up, sign it, put it in the out box;
8. She picks it up from the out box and makes a file cc, a cc for the reading file, a cc for my tickler and a cc for each person who is to get a cc.
9a. She prints out one or more envelopes, and then stuffs the envelopes, seals them, sends them to the mail clerk
10b. The mail clerk runs them through the meter and then puts them into the mail box.
9b. Or instead of stuffing the envelope, my assistant scans it - requiring her to go the printer with the scan feature. Then she goes back to her station and either she emails the pdf to the client or emails it to me so that I can email it to the client, which eliminates the mail clerk, at least.

No wonder I'm so slow and expensive.

I am trying to jump almost all of these steps. By the time I go back and forth with the dictation and drafts, I can type out the letter. I just need to be able to retrieve the address of the addressee into my WordPerfect file and have that file already formatted in the right way. We were pretty much there when, two weeks ago, we had a network upgrade and lost a bunch of macros. But we'll get back there. I have been able to get to step 8 all by myself, which is the step where I give the secretary the draft ready for final.

I could get to step 9, where the letter is printed on bond, but despite everything, I have never been able to get the bond printer to take my letters. I end up getting so frustrated that, when I try, several people come running and take over printing out the letter on bond, just to cool me down, rather than calling a meeting and determining why in the world we can't get the bond printer to work for me.

So I would like to jump the bond printer issue and simply put my letter directly into the pdf file on something that looks like it had been originally printed on my expensive bond and then hand-scanned.

Here, then, are the steps:

1. I type the letter, using macros to format my page and automatically insert the inside address of the addressee, whose contact information is already in the data base.

2. I go on to some other work.

3. I come back to the letter, the draft having cooled a bit, and then redraft it on the screen.

4. I then email the letter to those who are to get it, without leaving my desk. Those who receive it think that it is my old engraved stationary that was hand-scanned. The pdf has a signature.

5. I save as many ccs of the letter as I need into the client's electronic file, into my electronic tickler system, wherever.

But I don't know how to do the fake hand-scan of the letter on my expensive stationary directly from my work station.

Can someone help me here?

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