Last week, I wore out the the drum unit on my printer. Which is a way of saying, I print a lot. In fact, printing is one of the biggest costs of my home office, and as such, I’ve learned some tricks to cut down and save money as best I can.
And for good reason, too. Inkjet ink is one of the most expensive fluids on earth. No, really. Look at this graph comparing it to other liquids:
So, the number one way to save on printing is to get a laser printer. The toner for a laser printer will often cost less per page than inkjet ink, especially if you use the extended cartridge. For example, the high-yield black toner for my printer prints 5,000 pages per $65 cartridge, which equals $.013 per page. The similar inkjet ink yields 200 pages per $14 cartridge, which is $.07 per page. Therefore, the inkjet ink costs 5 times more than the toner cartridge.
Another tip is to get your cartridges refilled, which means you are only paying for the ink instead of a new cartridge and packaging. You don’t have to do this yourself–many stores will refill your cartridge for you.
Here are 5 Other Ways To Save Money On Printing:
1. “Print” To PDF: If you can, go paperless. Much of my research is printed to .PDF, which means that I save the document as a .PDF on my computer. That way I have a personal copy that I can refer to, but it’s not on paper. This kind of “printing” is free.
2. Print In Draft Mode: Most printers have a draft mode that print a lighter version of the document for you. Using this mode can extend the life of your cartridge, sometimes almost doubling it.
3. Print On Both Sides: Many printers have a duplexing option that allows you to print on both sides of the page. You can also duplex manually by turning each page around (or just reusing old paper), but I hear that it can damage some printers, so look into it before you do it.
4. Copy And Paste Before Printing: If you are printing from the internet, copy and paste the information into a document and spend some time deleting unnecessary graphics, ads, and extra pages at the end. You will be amazed how much the document will shrink.
5. Play With Fonts: Finally, don’t be afraid to change the font style or size. For example, I have a 489-page document that I regularly print in Times New Roman size 12 font. When I knock that down to size 11, the document drops to 420 pages, saving me 69 pages of printing–although it is harder to read. Likewise, changing the font itself can make a difference. That same 489-page document balloons up to 598 pages when I use 12-point Verdana and shrinks to 441 pages when I use 12-point Arial Narrow. So experiment.
A note of caution on this last point–there are document standards that you should respect in professional or academic situations. It’s not a good idea to print a resume using 10-point comic sans font if you want to avoid looking a little nutty. Play around with fonts and sizes only when printing for your own purposes and save the fully toned, properly formatted printing for when you need to show the document to someone else.
How do you save money on printing?