How to save money when printing!

by techtiptom

Originally posted on on 04/08/2009:

Printer ink isn’t cheap, and there’s nothing worse than getting stuck without paper or a new cartridge when you absolutely need to print a document. As with most tech tools, modern printers have more bells and whistles than most people bother to learn about. But a little knowledge can go a long way. Today I’ve got a few tips for saving on ink, paper, money and time while you print.

Current Selection

Why waste toner printing online ads, navigation elements, or other extraneous junk? Or what if you just need to print a phone number or graphic, rather than an entire page? You may already use page range printing, but most programs allow you to print even smaller portions of a document.
Use your mouse to highlight just the area you need. Select File -> Print, then under the “Print range” options, choose “Selection.” Only the area you selected will be printed.

Print Preview

Printouts don’t always come out looking like you’d expect, especially when printing from the Web. For instance, when printing directions from Google Maps, I often get a page at the end of the printout with nothing but a header and footer. In cases like these, it pays to use your browser’s Print Preview function to make sure what you see really is what you’ll get.
Adding the print preview button to your browser’s toolbar will make it even easier to use. In Internet Explorer, select View -> Toolbars -> Customize. In the “Available toolbar buttons” box, select the “Print Preview” line, click on “Add,” then “Close.”

Duplex Printing

Many larger printers offer an automatic duplexing option, allowing you to easily print on both sides of a sheet of paper. Unfortunately, the option is not always enabled by default. If you’re not sure whether your printer is capable of duplex printing, look in the driver settings or on the printer’s configuration page for information on duplex or double-sided printing.

N-Up Printing

Some programs and printers allow users to shrink documents so that multiple pages can be printed onto a single sheet of paper. So called “n-up” printing can be convenient for reference documents, especially if you don’t want them taking up a lot of space. You may not want to read an entire book at 16 pages per sheet, but it can be convenient to have your address book crammed onto just a few sheets of paper to carry in a notebook or wallet.
Microsoft Word offers a “Pages per sheet” option when printing that allows up to 16 pages to be printed onto a single sheet of paper. Similarly, PowerPoint handouts can be printed with up to 9 slides per page.

Keep It Simple

Many ink jet printers offer a draft or fast mode. If you aren’t too concerned with print quality, draft mode may not only save you time, but ink too. Switching from color mode to black and white can also add to your savings.

All that switching may sound like too much hassle; however, you can simplify things by installing multiple instances of your printer driver. Set a driver for each configuration you use regularly and assign it a name that reflects its function. Then each time you print, just select the driver associated with the settings you need.