Print less, save more

From using draft mode, to using genuine and recycled cartridges, to knowing how to print effectively from the web; we show you how to save your hard-earned cash

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By  Gareth Van Zyl Published  July 1, 2010

Windows runs you through nine things you can do today to reduce your printing costs. From using draft mode, to using genuine and recycled cartridges and to knowing how to print effectively from the web; we show you how to save your hard-earned cash. The likes of HP have many useful tips to offer consumers when it comes to saving money and we touch on some of them in this feature.

Spell-check before you print

Before you rush off and printing something, be sure to have your spelling in order so that you don’t end up endlessly printing stuff over and over again. It's a quick and easy way to save yourself on both paper and ink. It’s also a good idea to ask yourself as to whether you really need to print something or not.

Print what you need

We all know that Microsoft Word has a feature that allows you to preview documents prior to printing them. It's a good idea to then use this tool to see if you have all the information you need. Also, when you click on the print dialog box you can then select the desired page range and avoid wasting paper and ink on pages that you don’t need.

Using print properties effectively

Just by clicking on the properties button when you print something, you can control a wide range of factors that can dramatically improve your printing savings. You can choose the print quality mode, as to whether it will be draft, normal or best. You can then also choose as to whether you want to print in colour or black and white. You can then go about setting the print quality, choosing the paper size and type and so on. A simple but effective means on saving on print.

Draft mode

Draft mode requires less ink for printing, and for this reason, it’s motivation enough to use it. It’s also quicker to use. To use this feature, Click "Start", then "Printers and Faxes". When the "Printers and Faxes" window appears, right-click on a printer and choose "Properties". When the "Properties" multi-tabbed dialog box appears, click the button "Printing Preferences". From here, your printer's preference multi-tabbed dialog box should appear. Look through the various tabs, such as General or Main for a "Draft Mode" option. This may involve moving a Printer Quality slider towards "Speed" or "Fast Printing". When done, press "OK" to close the dialog boxes.

Controlling print head cleaning

You might not know this, but your printer can run out of ink without you even printing a single page. This is because your print cartridges can run routine tasks whilst your printer is just switched on thus getting rid of your ink quite rapidly. Your best bet in terms of controlling this is to print regularly (at least once a week) or to just switch your printer off altogether. By printing regularly, this keeps your print-heads clean. The danger of keeping your printer switched off though means that your print heads can then accumulate a lot of dust.

Print in black and white

With colour ink being much more expensive than black ink, it’s a good idea to save on your ink where you can, and rather print in black and white. To do this is quite simple in so far as you merely click on properties and then choose grayscale. Black and white is also referred to as Grayscale, economode or monochrome, depending on the printer you have.

Buying supplies in bulk

Buying your paper and ink cartridges in bulk will definitely save you a lot of money in the long run when it comes to printing. A number of vendors out there offer combo packs that combine both black and white and colour printer cartridges.

Using genuine printer cartridges

Buying genuine printer cartridges might be much more expensive than getting cartridges that are not genuine. But the fact is that buying fake cartridges is against the law, and it can in fact cost you more money in the long term in case something goes wrong and if it's not really compatible with your printer.

Printing effectively from the web

When printing web pages there are a number of ways in which you can save money. You can print web pages by clicking what will be a link that offers you a print-friendly version of a page. This allows you skip out all the ads and other elements that can take up too much space on a web page, and just print exactly what you need.

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