PaperLess is a document format / system developed by Nine to Five Software, of Boulder, Colorado. It is likely to have been released prior to PDF to PDF (version 2.0.1 was released in 1992) and had similar aims: providing a way to view electronic documents across multiple different machines. Unlike PDF it is application and vendor specific.
There were two main components to the system:
- PaperLess Printer, an authoring application that created a PaperLess document.
- PaperLess MicroView, an application that was bundled with a PaperLess document to provide a single application runtime that, when opened, would display the document.
Given the very limited number of example documents, it is not yet known whether PaperLess documents could be distributed independently of the MicroView runtime.
Extracting / Converting PaperLess Documents
Although the file format for PaperLess documents has not been reverse-engineered (yet!), it is still possible to extract a document from the PaperLess MicroViewer application. TO do this, open the PaperLess MicroViewer document/application in an emulator that supports printing (such as Basilisk II), and choose the 'Print' option. This will give a PostScript output, which can be interpreted by modern tools and, for example, turned into a PDF.
Although the document is contained entirely within the Data Fork of the PaperLess MicroViewer application, since it is an application it will not open without it's accompanying Resource Fork. This is a problem because unless preserved in an archive format that preserves resource forks (such as Stuffit's .sit or MacBinary's .bin), the resource fork will be lost. It may(?) be possible to get around this issue by copying the resource fork from another PaperLess MicroViewer application, but at the time of writing, the number of available samples of such files is one, so this cannot be tested.
- The LaserWriter / LaserWriter Plus Take Apart instructions, provided by Apple on the December 1997 Apple Service Source CD were published in the PaperLess MicroViewer format. This document has been extracted from the CD and uploaded to the Internet Archive.