If you’ve clicked here, you already know – probably first-hand – how expensive printer ink can be. We get it. So we’ve scoured the web for the best advice out there, and below we outline the best way to make your printer ink last longer.
Use ink-friendly fonts
Charity starts at home, and saving ink starts in your document. Using smaller fonts, sans serif fonts (the ones without the little extra lines on the letters), and less bold text formatting can really cut down on the amount of little extras that your printer has to print. It can also mean you fit more text on the page. You can also download Ecofont, the free font that has been specifically designed to save up to 50% more ink.
Proofread and Print Preview
Mistakes happen, but by double- and triple-checking your work on screen, you cut down on wasted print outs. Proofread and edit your documents before printing. Make all the changes you can there and then. Then check the layout using Print Preview. That way, you don’t have any nasty surprises that mean having to make changes after you’ve printed.
Avoid printing what you don’t want
Once you’ve got the font set and the mistakes out, see if there are other unnecessary elements in your document. You can print in Draft mode from your document program to create low-quality copies without images. Tools like GreenPrint help you minimise printing waste both online and off, cutting out images, white space and other wasteful elements. As a bonus, GreenPrint also tracks how much paper it has saved you, motivating you to make even better choices. Print What You Like optimises websites for printing. Ads, images and white spaces are eliminated, so you only print what, well, what you like.
Check your printer settings
There is a lot you can do from your document program’s printer settings to save ink. Start by selecting the lowest quality printer setting you can. This is often the Draft or Eco option. If you don’t need to worry about high legibility, you can print two document pages on one side of actual paper.
Set your image resolution to around 300 dpi (dots per inch). Many run-of-the-mill printers today actually use higher dpi on their images, which means you can get crisp, professional-quality photo prints. But it also means you waste a lot of ink, especially if photo quality isn’t that important in your printing. At 300 dpi, image quality is good enough to look nice, without wasting precious ink.
Finally, make sure you’re printing in black and white, also sometimes called mono or greyscale. Sometimes, printers using their highest quality print setting will create a dense black by combining all four inks – cyan, magenta, yellow and black – together. Obviously, this can be a big waste of ink. If you select the black and white option, your printer will only use your black ink.
Other things you can do
There are a couple more things you can do to optimise your printer ink usage. First, keep your printer on as much as possible. Inkjet printers are designed to clean their ink heads out if they have been turned off, which prevents the ink in the head nozzles from drying out and clogging everything up. But the ink head cleaning process uses ink and paper, which can be wasteful if not necessary.
Along those same lines, make sure you print regularly. This keeps all the parts working and keeps the ink from drying out, which prevents ink leaks and other, more expensive, problems.
Finally, ignore the empty cartridge warning. Not forever, obviously, but feel free to keep printing for a while. Most printers will set off the empty cartridge warning when up to 25% of the ink is left in the cartridge. So check the ink levels, and keep printing until the ink runs out on the page.
If you follow these tips, you will be able to save much more ink. You’ll save paper as you print fewer mistakes. You’ll even save time, as you won’t have to order and change your ink cartridges as often. And, naturally, you’ll save lots of money. If that’s not reason enough to re-read your document and print in Draft mode, we don’t know what is.
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