You’ve all seen them — those e-mail shirttail pleas to “Please consider the environment before printing this e-mail,” sometimes added in green font with an image of a leaf at the end for good measure. If you’re the type of e-mailer who has added that tagline to your e-missives, I’ve got good news. Now, you don’t even have to rely on your e-mail recipient to be considerate. You can actually mandate eco-considerateness by preventing printing altogether!

How? With a little help from World Wildlife Federation’s WWF file format. According to WWF’s Save as WWF website, the WWF format is pretty much like the PDF format, except WWF documents can’t be printed.

To be clear, the WWF will only prevent people from printing the WWF attachments, not the e-mail you sent the attachment with, so you may want to keep your “Please consider the environment before printing this e-mail” signature. And practically speaking, the WWF format isn’t going to be a viable option for, say, documents that require a real pen-to-paper signature.

But if you plan to share a file that you really believe no one should be printing — whether for naughty or nice reasons — perhaps the WWF could work for you! I would give WWF a try, except the WWF software is currently only available for Mac OS X 10.4+. A Windows version is supposed to be coming soon.

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