Due to their simplicity, triangle meshes are used to represent geometric objects in many applications. Since the number of triangles often goes beyond the capabilities of computer graphics hardware and the transmission time of such data is often inappropriately high, a large variety of mesh simplification algorithms has been proposed in the last years. In this paper we identify major requirements for the practical usability of general purpose mesh reduction algorithms to enable the integration of triangle meshes into digital documents. The driving idea is to understand mesh reduction algorithms as a software extension to make more complex meshes accessible with limited hardware resources (regarding both transmission and display). We show how these requirements can be efficiently satisfied and discuss implementation aspects in detail. We present a mesh decimation scheme that fulfills these design goals and which has already been evaluated by several users from different application areas. We apply this algorithm to typical mesh data sets to demonstrate its performance.