Organization is key for large companies, institutions, medical facilities, small businesses and even homes. Many Americans simply shove things into their desk drawer; some have their folders piling up with documents of all sorts stashed inside. What happens when you have to find something of importance in a short amount of time? For many of us, this means shuffling through our overcrowded desk drawers or various overloaded folders. A filing cabinet is a good way of organizing, but how do you go about labeling the folders so you can find that one document in a short amount of time?
A product from The Monticello Corporation called The Paper Tiger Professional ($169) tries to tackle this problem. Once you purchase this product from their Web site and install it into your PC, its main focus is to create a database of all of your folders and filing cabinets where you can index and tag folders and documents inside for easy searching. In a nutshell, you tell the program where your folders are located and which documents reside in each folder. Then you can tag each document so that later when you need to find it, you can just search for it using The Paper Tiger’s built in search.
Installation was pretty easy. Once you download the software from their Web site, it takes about ten minutes or fifteen minutes to install, depending on the speed of your computer. Initially, when I went to download the product I thought it might be a scam based on the look of their site. The site didn’t feel welcoming at all and was very outdated.
Once installed, the Setup Wizard asked me to name my new database, choose an optional password, specify a location, and enter a capacity of folders for this location. I entered "Home" as my location and told it that I wanted it to only take care of ten folders. From here, it created a series of tabs for my ten folders and named them "Home 1-Home 10." It then instructed me to print out the tabs so that I could also place them on physical folders. Once complete, the program shows you every folder in your database and allows you to then edit each folder, so you can specify what documents are in each folder. After you choose the folder you wish to start with, a prompt asks you to enter a name for the folder, enter keywords, choose or enter a category and specify a date. After you tell the application what is in each folder, it brings up the browser- the index of all of your files. It displays the folder names, item names, any keywords you assigned, categories, dates and the status of the folder along with any notes.
I really like how this program gives you the ability to print out an index of all of your folders. This would be very useful to stick on a side of a filing cabinet or to keep in an accessible place as backup. The Paper Tiger also gives users the option to create and archive files and to back up the entire database. Other features I liked were the ability to transfer folders, toss folders, categorize folders and view folders in different ways (location view, category view, reminder view and a search view).
The user interface of this program is excellent! It incorporates the user very well by offering various ways of doing the same task but in a non-cluttered way. I do really like the large buttons at the top for common tasks and the search function makes the program. It will even search the notes section of a folder and the application has a wonderful advance search that allows for you to narrow down search options even more by entering a date range, category or location.
A few drawbacks of The Paper Tiger are that it is only available for Windows, the expensive price and the initial setup could take months depending on how many folders and files you have. For each folder, you must set up keywords, name the folder and tell the program what files are inside for it to be able to index the folders correctly. This could be a very difficult and time-consuming process for a large company or organization. If you have hundreds, thousands or more folders, expect to spend at least a weekend or longer importing all of your folders.
Would I recommend this product? Yes. I feel that it does the job very well and while the initial setup could be difficult depending on how many documents and folders you have, it does do what it advertises. Once everything is indexed within the program, it is a snap to locate even the smallest document. So get rid of that cluttered desk drawer or that piling up folder and try out The Paper Tiger.
The product is available for $169.95 from http://www.thepapertiger.com/