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The MacSparky Paperless Field Guide

by David Sparks

Current shipping version: 1.4 (February 2014)







Paperless takes the mystery (and fear) out of going paperless with your Apple technology. The book includes 32 screencasts, 4 movies, over 26,000 words, and other rich-media assets to turn you into a paperless ninja. The material is accessible to beginners and power users alike with a thorough explanation of all the hardware, software, and workflows necessary to finally conquer paper. In December 2012, Apple awarded Paperless  a "Best of 2012" award.

Chapters include:
1. Why Paperless
What is the big deal with paperless and why do so many of us struggle with it?

2. Paperless Overview
Get an idea for the big picture before diving into the nitty-gritty.

3. Capture
Discover how you can capture paper and other digital information with the Mac, iPad, and iPhone. This chapter also demystifies optical character recognition and explains how you can put it to work for you.

4. Process
Learn how to reliably name, index, and store your paperless documents. This chapter also covers your questions about cloud storage and backup.

5. Use
Now that you've created a paperless workflow, learn how to access your paperless documents from anywhere on the Mac, iPad, and iPhone. This chapter also explains how to sign digital documents on the Mac, iPad, and iPhone.

6. David's Paperless Workflow
The author explain his "go-to" applications, hardware, and tricks for managing paperless documents.

7. Appendix
Learn more about Apple Automator, cloud storage, and other helpful resources.

This is the first book in the MacSparky Field Guide Series. This book is a large file (860 MB) and includes over 1.5 hours of video and screencasts. This books runs on all versions of the iPad.

Praise for the MacSparky Paperless Field Guide


"If you or your organization is looking to save money by using less paper, or you just want to reduce your own personal paper workflow, this might be a great way to start."

Cult of Mac, Rob LeFebvre

"This is no glorified PDF: Sparks’ book takes full advantage of iBooks Author, which Sparks used to create it: it contains over 26,000 words, along with 32 screencasts, four movies and other rich media content – over an hour and a half of video"

Peter Cohen, Loop Insight

"Put simply, if you’re planning on removing paper from your life or you’re even slightly interested in this whole idea of digitalizing bits of paper, David’s book is the guide you need to achieve a state-of-the-art system. I have been reading the book, and it’s full of tips and broad recommendations to illustrate how you can capture documents, the apps you can use (both on OS X and iOS), and the best techniques you can rely on to future-proof your PDFs. I have already discovered a couple of new apps thanks to David’s book."


... after reading David Spark’s newest book, Paperless, I realize that while I might be an Efficiency Ninja (an e-Ninja– Haawaaaaaa Yah!), I’m no where close to being a Master. Thankfully, I have access to the training of Master e-Ninja Sparks. 

Wired - GeekDad

"The MacSparky Field Guide to going Paperless is a detailed but easy to read book that explains the electronic document workflow and how to accomplish it. The book is perfect for individuals and organizations looking to reduce the cost of handling paper ... Years ago, I helped a multi-million dollar business become paperless. This book described many of the same solutions and more."

Obama Pacman

"Okay, so it’s 2014, and I’m a bit late to the parade. But seriously, better late than never: This is one you shouldn’t miss. Sparks, a self-proclaimed “Mac zealot,” wrote Paperless primarily for Mac users, so just about anyone with a Mac can use the methods he describes. But the book’s big-picture paperless concepts and workflows are applicable for PC users too — and lawyers would be especially well-served by implementing his ideas."

Heidi Alexander

"This covers lots of relevant tools and methodology through text and diagrams and even demonstrates short bits in the form of screencasts so you can see how exactly things work on a Mac. In fact that book finally got me started on my project. If you think about doing a Paperless project, start with reading Davids book. No better resource that I know of. And no, sadly I’m not affiliated ;-)"

 Chris Holscher

"Maybe you’ve already been attempting paperless. Maybe you’re curious about it. I don’t care—you’ll learn something new. David covers it all, from capture to file management. And all the tools in between. Beyond being extremely informative, Paperless is a beautiful work. And I do mean work. David sweated all the details." 

Eddie Smith, Practically Efficient

"I don't even use a Mac at work (I have a Mac at home but use a PC in my office) but I still learned a ton that has already made me more productive working with files on the PC at my desk and I picked up lots of useful tips on making the most of my iPad."

Jeff Richardson, iPhone JD

"Paperless is a terrific primer on simplifying and strengthening your digital workflow, making it easier to manage information and to be sure that you’ll have access to it when you need it. The book is available for $5, either as an iBook (optimized for iPad reading) or as a PDF. The PDF version includes all the screencasts in a separate folder, so that you can read the document in the most convenient way. It would’ve been cheap at double the price."

Jason Jones, The Chronicle

"Paperless is a brand new iBookstore book from David Sparks. He wrote it in iBooks Author and, in addition to being full of great information and how-tos, it’s jam packed with slideshows, screencasts, and Retina display graphics. I’ve been slowly working towards setting up a paperless office here at my home, and so I bought my copy yesterday."

Shawn Blanc 

"The best review I can give is that it is a work of extraordinary craftsmanship by an expert in the field. It is a how-to guide for keeping digital records ... Paperless is part of the future that Apple promised with iBooks Author. It is more than a book. It is a knowledge application." 

Gabe Weatherhead, Macdrifter

"Even if you have never read MacSparky or listened to Mac Power Users, it will be very clear from reading this that David really knows his stuff. He has spent a lot of time thinking about his tools and workflow, and has tried to make it as efficient as possible."

Brooks Duncan, DocumentSnap

"[T]his is the comprehensive guide to going Paperless. If you had ever tried or considered doing so but just didn’t know how or where to start, this is the place to do so."

Patrick Rhone, Minimal Mac

"No only did I start reading the book immediately, I finished all 27,000 words in a single sitting. It’s a useful, logical and thorough look at every aspect of going from paper laden to paper free. I’ve made great strides in my own paperless workflow, but I still picked up a ton of tips and tactics."

Michael Schechter, A Better Mess

"The book is just so amazingly straightforward, awesome, and educational that I can’t help but pass it on. If you ever wondered how you could possibly go paperless, start here, look no further. David Sparks has written not only something that is beautiful to look at and read, but also entertaining and informative in a way that allows even the most entrenched Luddite to move forward with technology in their life."

Pete Summerill, MacLitigator

"David de-mystifies the process of going paperless, using Apple products as the core tools to doing so ... I picked up some nice tips in this guide."

Stephen Hackett, 512 Pixels

"The book is a deep dive on paperless workflows for the Mac, iPad, and iPhone. The book includes screenshots, interactive images, and short movies. Not only does this book tell you how to go paperless, it also shows you. Trust me, you can do a lot with this book."

PDF for Lawyers

"David’s book covers all the basics of a paperless lifestyle including over 1.5 hours of screencasts with best practices and tutorials lovingly crafted into a beautiful iBooks experience for the iPad. The book is a bargain at only $4.99 and I hope it is the first of many more to come."

Katie Floyd

"As the first in David’s new series of ‘Macsparky Field Guides,’ this is a groundbreaking read for iPad users that lays out a wonderful lifestyle choice and workflow: how to keep your papers and documents digital 100% of the time."

Joseph Darnell, Jiving Jackalope

"That would make it cool enough, but it also has a metric ton of handy tips for, well, going paperless, as the discerning reader has probably figured out. I’ve had a ScanSnap for years and use Evernote and Dropbox like crazy, so I consider myself more knowledgeable than your average person, but I still found a lot of clever new ideas."

Not Nurse Ratched

"As the first in David’s new series of ‘Macsparky Field Guides,’ this is a groundbreaking read for iPad users that lays out a wonderful lifestyle choice and workflow: how to keep your papers and documents digital 100% of the time."

Jiving Jackalope

"There are so many things I like about this. I like David. I like ebooks. I like that an ebook can include other forms of media. The stack, no, pile of papers on the corner of my desk waiting to be de-paperized like the topic."

John Chandler

"Paper has finally met its match."

David Woxberg

"The book is a deep dive on paperless workflows for the Mac, iPad, and iPhone. The book includes screenshots, interactive images, and short movies. Not only does this book tell you how to go paperless, it also shows you. Trust me, you can do a lot with this book. I can't believe it only costs $5."

Ernie the Attorney

"[Paperless] is packed with really useful information on how to go paperless using the various Apple devices. David has done a terrific job of deploying the multimedia capabilities of this format to the maximum effect without going mad with them."

"… the value of Paperless lies in the level of detail covering all aspects of creating and using a paperless system."

Ray Aguillera, TabTimes

"Paperless is so beautiful. Sparks has paid so much attention to every single detail that he has succeeded in setting the bar incredibly high for self-publishing in this new form."


Podcasts About Paperless

Mac Power Users



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