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US-based software solutions developer Nitro's state of paperless office survey says 99% of respondents still rely on traditional pen-and-paper review

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US-based software solutions developer Nitro's state of paperless office survey says 99% of respondents still rely on traditional pen-and-paper review

December 16, 2012 - 19:59

SAN FRANCISCO, CA, Dec. 11, 2012 (Market Wire) -Nitro, the company behind award-winning products like Nitro Pro and Nitro Reader, today announced the results of its 'State of the Paperless Office' survey. To gain a better understanding of where the paperless movement stands today, Nitro polled 500 American office workers on their paper usage habits, behavioral trends, overall consumer sentiment toward the paperless movement, and how workers are collaborating in the modern office.

Paperless Challenges

Although advancements have been made, progress has been slowed by the limitations of current technology and an overall reluctance to modify or relinquish traditional paper practices. The reticence of some offices to adopt electronic document workflows is driven in part by workers' allegiance to the almost 50-year old fax machine. For example, 42.3 percent of those surveyed still send faxes 'most of the time' or 'always,' while only 3.9 percent 'never' send faxes. Similarly, 99.0 percent of respondents still rely traditional 'pen-and-paper' review, with a mere 1.0 percent choosing to adopt fully electronic review cycles, stating that they 'never' review printed documents.

Respondents were asked a number of questions pertaining to electronic and traditional document sharing and reviewing, use of productivity and collaboration software, prioritization of "paperless," recycling habits, and challenges faced with shared document workflows. Overall sentiment towards the paperless office remains divided, and the increased adoption of and access to easy-to-use tools will be the key driver for the growth of the movement.

"Through this survey, we're seeing that while a majority of office workers are sharing documents electronically, almost half are still relying on physical paper to get work done," said Sam Chandler, Nitro Founder & CEO. "The so-called 'paperless revolution' was supposed to make our working lives easier, but tools for working with digital documents have not evolved quickly enough to make that a reality. At Nitro, we're committed to making the paperless office a real possibility through intuitive technology -- our vision is to change the way the world works with documents."

Results are summarized below; for a full account of the survey results, please visit:

Highlighted Findings:

  • One-third (33.0) percent of respondents state that the biggest barrier to their office going paperless at this time is that it is simply 'not a priority'
  • 42.3 percent of people still send faxes 'most of the time' or 'always,' while only 3.9 percent 'never' send faxes
  • 41.9 percent claim to review printed documents 'all the time,' 28.8 percent 'most of the time,' 28.4 percent 'some of the time,' and a mere 1.0 percent 'never'
  • 64.6 percent of respondents share more than half (50-100 percent) of their documents electronically
  • 63.5 percent use less paper now than they did five years ago, 28.4 percent use the same amount, and 2.7 percent claim to use more

Use of Collaboration Tools

  • Three-quarters (74.6 percent) of respondents use PDF as one of their primary collaboration tools
  • Microsoft® WordTMis used every day by 65.0 percent of respondents, while 59.3 percent use PDF every day

Workplace Collaboration

  • 60.0 percent of office workers said their use of collaboration technology in the workplace has increased over the last five years
  • 78.0 percent of workers aged 18-35 share documents electronically more than half of the time, compared to only 60.0 percent of workers aged 55+

Regional Findings

  • People who live in the West recycle more than all other regions, with 63 percent of respondents stating that they 'always' recycle
  • Southerners use the most paper compared to other regions, defined by the 51.3 percent who identified with the statement: "I always use paper/use paper most of the time"


From August 9th to August 16th 2012, Vision Critical ( conducted an online survey was conducted among a sample of 511 American American office workers, who are also Springboard America panel members. The margin of error -- which measures sampling variability -- is +/- 4.3%, 19 times out of 20. The sample was balanced by gender and region according to the most recent census data. Discrepancies in or between totals are due to rounding.

About Nitro

Nitro is changing the way the world works with documents. Australian-founded and headquartered in San Francisco, California, Nitro develops intuitive software solutions -- like the award-winning Nitro Pro and Nitro Reader -- that enable more than 400,000 businesses to work smarter, including 50% of the Fortune 100.