Sunday, 7 November 2010

Getting the Best Out of Your Computer Inks

Here are some simple ideas for getting the best out of your computer inks.
  • Use the On/Off switch on the front of your printer and keep it off unless you are using it.  Not only is the power cost less but the ink is less likely to dry out.  However, do not turn the power to your printer off as that will result in it going through a cleaning exercise every time it is turned on, which increases power and ink costs. 
  • Unless you really want colour and good quality prints for some reason set your printer to default print in black and printing draft quality instead of high quality.  Black ink is usually cheaper and draft quality uses only about half the ink. 
  • To achieve these two things you have to go into your printer settings to change the default settings as otherwise you have to do it every time you print.  Go to (Windows) >Start >Printers, right-click on your printer and select >printer settings. Now the exact options you’ll see here depend on your printer.  You’ll have to figure out the details yourself.  I’ll use the usual settings for an HP printer as an example.   In the Printer Settings box click on Printer Settings.  There are two changes to make. First, click on the Paper/Quality tab.  On the right hand side under Print Quality open the selection menu and click on Fast Draft.  [On some printers it will be Draft you are aiming for and in others you change the graphic resolution. This option is usually found under >advanced settings.  300 dpi (dots per inch) are usually sufficient for most purposes.]  Secondly, click on the Colour tab. Under Colour Options click on Greyscale and Black Only.  [Whatever your printer those are the choices you want to aim for.]  Click on OK and you're done.  The quality isn't quite as good but it’s not only acceptable but much faster in printing.
  • If you want a first class print job you don't have to reverse the default settings.  Instead when you come to the document or photo you want a colour/first class print from just change the settings for that print job.  To do that when you click on print and the selection panel appears click on Properties next to the name of your printer. Then you’ll again have to figure out the details for yourself.  For an HP printer click on the Paper/Quality tab.  On the right hand side under Print Quality open the selection menu and click on Automatic. Then click on the Colour tab. Under Colour Options deselect Greyscale and click on High Quality. Click on OK and you're done.  
  • There are other changes you might be able to make to your default settings.  You may be able to print several pages on a single piece of paper or you may be able to print on both sides of a page.  Both options can save a lot of ink and even paper.  You can reverse any such changes for any particular print job using the Printer’s Properties as mentioned above.
  • Please remember that if you change your default settings, every print job will be printed that way unless you undo it under your Printer Properties for a particular print job.  If you don’t want that hassle do not change your printer’s default settings.
  • If you want to print just a portion of a page, only print a portion of the page.  Highlight what you wish to print and then on the print selection panel under Page Range click on Selection.  Similarly if you only want one or several page(s) out of a range use the choices available in the Page Range.
  • Sometimes it pays to copy your selection and paste it into a Word document and get rid of bold type headings and the like and even select a font that uses less ink like Arial Narrow, Century Gothic, Garamond or Courier.  Each of those has ranked first in various tests that haven't included the others!
  • Use the print preview function that lets you see just what you are going to be printing before you print it. 
  • Ignore any irritating messages about the ink level or expiry dates for your inks until they show empty but make sure you have a replacement ink on hand.

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