We are living in a largely mechanized world whereby it has become impossible to get things done without the use and help of appliances. Technology has provided us with comforts and has largely been a boon to human existence. But there is a cost involved—both on a financial (personal) as well as an environmental level (on a macro level) to keep the machines up and running. Keeping in mind the importance of developing environment friendly practices that are easy on the pocket, I have listed a few ways here that can ensure the your printers expend less ink.
The most common problem faced by people / organizations printing large number of sheets is the extremely high cost that runs up on the ink front. Combine with this the frequent hassles of changing toner cartridges and it becomes clear that it would be prudent to adopt habits that would help to save a cartridge; and consequently a penny or two.
Hence, the following points should be kept in mind to minimize our printer's ink usage-
A. Before buying the printer
Quality of the printer is usually inversely proportional to the printing cost per page: Research your printer extensively before making the decision of settling in on one. High quality printers like laser printers usually have a higher market price as compared to other printers. However, the amount of ink used and the printing cost per page is considerably lower, therefore making it a profitable purchase in the long run. I have seen large corporations like EY and Google invest huge up-front amounts in top of the range printers and comfortably recover the premium through savings within two or three months.
- Buy printers with two-sided printing options: Two sided printing is not only quicker, it also saves paper along with ink. When out looking for a printer, try finding one that grants a two-sided print option. These printers also have the option of tinkering with the print settings, in case you need those one-sided prints for specific assignments, thus providing versatility in use.
B. After you have purchased the printer:
Use smaller font type: The font being used can play a huge role in determining the amount of ink used in a print operation. Use of new-age fonts like Ecofont (may be freely downloaded from the web) which punches holes in your fonts can lead to savings of 20-25% in the amount of ink used. Also, thinner and smaller fonts should be preferred in place of large, bold text forms.
Scan documents for mistakes: The most common cause for wastage during printing are mistakes that creep in. It is imperative to quickly scan the document in preview mode to examine formatting and layout. It is also advisable to equip spell and grammar checks. Spending a few seconds on such checks can possibly save minutes of manual re-printing operations later on, along with pages and ink that go with it.
Use the low quality / econo-settings: In cases where it is possible to compromise on the print quality, it would be the wiser to select a printer setting like fast draft or econo-printing that uses less ink. These settings can avoid printing of pictures in cases where a draft of the text needs to be reviewed in pages containing both text and images. The printer settings may also be altered to select a low density or a low resolution print.
Print in black and white: Black toner cartridges are much cheaper than colour cartridges. The option of black and white printing should be chosen whenever it is available over taking colour prints.
Use software that allows for selecting print areas: There are often two or more software available to perform the same job (example Microsoft Word, Pages etc may be used for word processing). In the presence of such multiple options, it is always better to go with the software that allows for users to manually decide the extent of area to be printed. This can lead to a huge amount of savings by not having to print unwanted portions of the file.
Don't rush into replacing cartridges on receiving low toner-warning: Printers start giving warnings stating that toner cartridges are running low long before there is any actual problem with the toner level. These warnings should not be dealt with panic as it could lead into early replacement of ink cartridges. Users should let experience and time guide them into what is an ideal time to replace the toner cartridge after the flashing of the warning signs. This usually depends on the printer type, model etc.
Manually switch the printer on/off: Manually switching off the printer after pressing the off switch results in the capping of cartridges by the printer. This helps in preventing drying of the uncapped ink cartridges and hence can potentially lead to huge savings in ink.
- Use re-manufactured ink. It is of the same quality as the original, but much cheaper. 4inkjets and 123inkjets are among the top suppliers of re-manufactured ink.
Following the simple steps mentioned above can help to avoid exorbitant toner / ink costs while printing those sheets for the office presentation or for your children's school projects.