How to Increase Productivity Working with Electronic Documents

A question during a presentation last week reminded me of how small critical tools can maximize your productivity.

3 monitor portate setup

Most agencies have moved to electronic document management and multiple monitors for processing. However, the comment during my presentation was about the difficulty of working with electronic documents on a screen. I have two recommendations:

Portrait Mode for Viewing Electronic Documents

My first suggestion is to take one of your monitors (preferably the third or fourth) and put it in Portrait mode.

For a more detailed description, you can read my earlier article: An Update on the Optimum Setup for Multiple Monitors in Your Office.

The normal position for a monitor is “landscape mode.” The long part of the monitor is horizontal. Positioning a monitor in portrait mode means you shift it, so the short side is horizontal.

The Portrait mode allows a full page in a document to be displayed without having to scroll up and down the page. Depending on the size of your monitor, this also likely means the document page is larger than life-size, making it much easier to see and work on the page.

On-Screen Ruler

My second recommendation is to use an on-screen ruler to help you stay focused on the section of the page you are working with.

In the past, when agency staff worked on a document, they used a vertical paper holder with a ruler that slid up and down to mark their place. Today, you can use an electronic Desktop Ruler, which acts as a virtual ruler, sliding smoothly with the mouse and supporting a multiple monitor configuration. The ruler can be configured to be transparent, or you can change its color.

One of my original TechTips discussed using a ruler and suggested you take a look at Desktop Ruler. A single copy of Desktop Ruler costs $14.95. There is also a bundle price of $19.95, which includes Desktop Ruler, Desktop Magnifier, and Anniversaries Reminder.

I also have discovered a free version of a ruler for Windows called — appropriately – A Ruler for Windows.

What other tools and tricks do you use to maximize your productivity when working with electronic documents?





Steve Anderson provides information to insurance agents about how they can use technology to increase revenue and/or reduce expenses. He speaks professionally to hundreds of agents each year on the future of technology, the social web, and how insurance agencies can establish their Internet presence.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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4 thoughts on “How to Increase Productivity Working with Electronic Documents

  1. Most monitors can simply be changed to portrait mode. 4 screws on the back are standard and allow you to change the monitor to portrait. Then, on your Windows desktop, right click and select graphics settings to change the orientation to portrait.

  2. Of course, if people keep using maximized windows on all their applications regardless of the window size the only solution *is* more and more monitors.

  3. Funny that you mentioned the Ruler… we just 2 weeks ago hosted our New England NetVU Fall Conference and one of our attendees made the Ruler suggestion.. I sent it to about 5 of my “accounting junkies” and they love it!!! BTW: it was the free version you mentioned…

    The other thing I’m finding is people want to create PDF’s vs sending Word Documents. I have used PDFfactory for many years and love the ability to print and print to one PDF file vs page by page. The version I have is not an Editing tool but creation is simple, slick and quick. The FREE alternative many agencies have used is CutePDF and it’s simple as well but we did have an instance that we printed some 1000 pages of Certs and it blew up… guess it can’t handle the heavy stuff…
    Editing PDF’s is a must today… Soda does a good job as well as a few others I have tried but would be open to your suggestion(s).
    Again thanks for providing agents some “techy stuff” they/we all need!!!