by December 2, 2003 0 comments

If you think buying a printer is a one-time cost, think again. Spending on hardware maintenance, paper and toner cartridges can, over time, amount to more than five times the cost of the printer itself. Here are some tips to save on some of these costs.

Preview before printing. Remember to preview your document before printing to see if the complete document fits into the page. If it doesn’t, then adjust the margins. Most office suites and graphics software have the print preview feature under File.

Fit to page. In Excel to fit the data to a page, go to File>Page setup>Page. Adjust the page width and preview the page.

Set page range. You may need to print only five pages of a much longer document. You can do that by setting the page range.

Most office suites have this feature under the Print option. 

To avoid getting reams of blank Excel sheets when printing, select the area you want the print of and in the Print menu, click on ‘Print Selection’. 

In PowerPoint, print multiple slides per page. Also, select the ‘Scale to fit’ and ‘Grayscale’ options. 

Print HTML pages’ printable versions. When printing an HTML page, you often end up with a printout in which some text and images have been cut off. To avoid that, take a print of the printable version.

If the page doesn’t have a printable version, the trick is to copy-paste the text into a Word document and then print. While doing so, paste the text in an unformatted format (go to Edit>Save special>Unformatted text). 

Turn off background when printing from IE. You don’t need to waste toner on printing the backgrounds of HTML pages.

You can turn it off by going to Tools>Internet options. In the dialog box that appears, click on the Advanced tab, scroll down to Printing and uncheck the ‘Print background colors and images’. 

Photocopy prints. Do not use your printer as a copier. If you need to take multiple prints of a document, then take one print and get photocopies made. Copying costs much less than printing. An inkjet printout costs about a rupee, while a photocopy costs about 60 paise (bulk rate).

Avoid color prints. Even if you have a color printer, you don’t have to take color printouts when you don’t need them; take black and white or monochrome. And, save up to 10 to 30 percent of your printing costs. You’ll find this feature in the Properties box of any software.

Print at lower resolution. Save on toner or ink and time by printing at a low resolution (documents printed at lower resolution take lesser time to print). Users can do so by adjusting the resolution on their computer by going to Properties from the Print window. A more efficient way would be to adjust it on the printer itself. Also look for other toner saving features on your printer driver. 

Print on both sides of paper. Enable the double-side printing option if you have a duplexer printer. With this, you save 30 to 40 percent on your paper usage. 

Update drivers. Manufacturers regularly update printer drivers to fix bugs. You should visit your printer manufacturer’s site and download and install any new updates that may have been posted. 

Refill cartridges. Printer companies will not be happy with this suggestion of ours as they get a large part of their revenue from selling cartridges. But, take our word for it, refilling your used cartridges can give you great savings–about 30 percent per cartridge. On an average, you can refill a cartridge up to ten times.

Juhi Bhambal

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