Long predicted, the paperless office is still a myth. Although paper usage has been reduced in some organizations, it has increased in others. Today's PCs make it easy to churn out documents.As one technology eliminates paper, another comes along to increase usage. While laptops with multi-gigabyte hard disks and wireless connections replace paper when traveling, the Internet offers tons of interesting Web pages that beg to be printed, if only to be read for just a moment. Perhaps the only thing that could ever bring about a paperless office is if paper costs went through the roof.More Electronic, More PaperEach year, a higher percentage of documents are being maintained electronically and not printed. However, the amount of information is doubling every three to four years. Therefore, although the percentage of documents printed goes down, the total number of printed documents goes up. As Keith Davidson of Xplor International so succinctly put it, "the paperless office is as about as realistic as the paperless toilet!" See desktop.
In 1975, Business Week magazine predicted that the office of the future would be entirely paperless due to the impact of computers, in general, and particularly, the personal computer.The thought was that information would be communicated electronically, and that paper would be redundant. During that time, many companies, such as Southwestern Bell Telephone Company, converted paper business records to microfilm or microfiche. Microfilm soon became obsolete, as computer systems, computer networks, and electronic storage technologies began to truly impact business operations in the office of the early 1980s. Paper mail gave way to facsimile and e-mail in the 1980s and 1990s. Many print magazines largely converted to electronic format. In truth, contemporary business and commerce would not exist as we know it (not to mention the forestlands that would have been turned into deserts due to the untold billions of trees that would have been ground into pulp), if we had not advanced beyond the paper office of the 1960s. However, we still print hard copies of electronic documents, and seem to consume more paper with each passing year. So much for the paperless office. See also lead balloon.