Who wants to pay more than needed for printing? NOT US! Follow these tips for more efficient and costly printing solutions!
1. Print More than One Page Per Sheet
What simpler way is there to save paper than to print more than one page on each sheet? This works out especially well for PowerPoint presentations, where the bullet points can usually be easily read even with the smaller view. In the print dialog, just choose Handouts from the “Print what” drop-down, and then choose the number of slides per page you want. You can also save some ink by printing only in Grayscale.
You’ll find a similar setting in Microsoft Word’s print dialog as well, where you can choose the number of pages per sheet. I find that printing 2 pages per sheet keeps the document fairly readable.
Many laser printers also provide a simple duplex option that will print on both sides of the paper.
2. Use Print Preview and Shrink to Fit
How many times have you printed off what you thought was a single page document and ended up with an almost empty page at the end? If you always blindly click the print button without previewing first, you’re going to end up wasting a ton of ink and paper when your document ends on a single line, or ends up being unreadable. By using Print Preview you can avoid this from happening and print exactly what you want, at the expense of a couple of seconds of your time.
Firefox and Internet Explorer have an option called “Shrink to Fit” in their Print Preview dialogs which will often shrink the content down enough to fit on less pages, or you can choose a custom zoom level to fit even more on a single page.
3. Only Print the Selection You Need
Instead of printing information by the page, almost every application has a feature you might not have even noticed: the ability to print just a selection of text. This is especially helpful for printing a paragraph from a web page, or just a small section of a very long document or spreadsheet instead of throwing away the pages you don’t need. This technique works in most major applications like Internet Explorer, Firefox, Microsoft Excel & Word… simply select the portion of the document you want to print, and then choose the “Selection” option in the print dialog.
I’ve found this works especially well when printing off a blog article, since unfortunately very few blogs hide the comments from the print view, so you end up with half a dozen pages of comments. Note that you can also choose to print just certain pages, very useful when you can’t easily make a selection but know you just need a particular page.
4. Print Multiple Selections on a Single Page
Instead of printing a single selection at a time, you can select multiple areas on the page and “clip” them for later printing on a single page with the HP Smart Web Printing application for Internet Explorer and Firefox 2.0. (Note that even though it’s made by HP, it will still work on any printer). This application can save a serious amount of paper if you often need to print addresses or contact information from a number of places at once.
5. Use Draft Mode as the Default Setting
If you are using an inkjet printer, there’s really no need to print in high or even medium quality for simple things like driving directions or articles you want to read offline. You’ll save a ton of ink (and time) by setting Fast Draft as the default option in the printer properties, so you won’t ever forget and send a long document to the printer in regular mode. Simply open up the Printers folder (in Windows, at least), and right-click on your printer, choosing Printing Preferences. You can save your color ink by also choosing to only print in grayscale by default.
Many printers like my HP will let you save different sets of settings as defaults you can quickly choose when printing, as you can see I named mine Cheap/Fast and set that as the default print mode.
Did you know Hewlitt Packard is one of the Top 50 Best Global Green Brands of 2011? When you shop for HP printers, toners, ink cartridges, and paper you’ll not only get quality products, but be helping the environment too!