Today’s printers have really amazing capabilities. You can print high quality family photos, or make stunning brochures and posters for your home business. Your kids can download adorable craft projects and print on cardstock, fabric, vellum, and other specialty papers.
But all those projects use ink, and ink is expensive. Here are some simple ways to get the most out of your printer cartridge—minimizing waste, and still getting the print results you want.
1. Print only what you really intend to keep
Want to try out a recipe? Bring your laptop the kitchen and read it from there; print a copy only if you really like the results, see yourself cooking it again, and want to include it in your recipe box.
Got an important email? You’ll actually find it faster if you archive it in email folders. This saves you ink, plus the trouble of shuffling through a stack of papers on your desk.
2. When to print photos at home or at a store
It’s still cheaper to have photos professionally printed, especially if you take advantage of coupons or promos for large orders. So if you plan to print more than 10, send them to a photo developer instead. Use your home printer for convenience (you need a photo right now!) or for creative freedom (like printing in various sizes for scrapbooking).
3. Generic inks cost more than brand inks
Generic inks may be priced lower, but brand inks tend to last longer since they don’t dry out. They also don’t stain or dry the heads of the printer, which can eat up ink or affect the printing quality. Brand inks also have more consistent ink quality, which is very important if you’re spending on high quality photo paper or specialty paper. You could end up throwing away an expensive sheet because the browns look murky or the reds tends to smear.
4. Choose a ‘print’ format for web pages
If you want to print out a web page, look for the ‘print’ icon which will reformat the page to make it more printer-friendly. It will remove ads and banners and reduce the number or size of the images. If you can’t find the button and only need the text, copy and paste the taste on a word document and print. Select ‘keep text only’ so you get rid of any stray images. Save even more on ink and paper by deleting unwanted text (like links at the bottom of the article) or reformatting the text in a thinner and smaller font.
5. Adjust the printer settings
If you don’t really need the photos or text to be high-quality, go to printer settings and select ‘gray scale’ (which will make it black and white) or ‘draft quality.’
6. Always get a print preview
The print preview lets you check the document for any photos you may have forgotten to delete, or any formatting mistakes. For example, you may realize that the recipe document is 3 pages long and you’d rather limit it to 1 page. This gives you a chance to change fonts and spaces, etc. before you print—an crumple—an unwanted page.
7. Store ink properly
Keep extra cartridges in a cool, dark place. Don’t open the packaging; you can also store them in Ziploc bags.
8. Use a different font
Certain fonts use 25% less ink because they have thinner lines or small holes. You can download some at ecofont.com or use Calibri, found in both Mac and Windows.
Photo from inkcartridgesblog.com