Few things are more aggravating than running out of printer ink in the middle of a project. Buying new ink is the last thing anyone wants to do with their money, yet it’s an unavoidable part of life. Fortunately, there are ways to get the most prints out of each milliliter of ink, as HP’s Chief Inkologist (yep, that’s his real job title), Thom Brown, recently shared with Digital Trends in the following suggestions – which are relevant to any printer, not just HP’s. Some of these may be familiar to you, but many are certainly new to you and can help you save time and money.
- Change the typeface in your document or reduce the font size. This makes logic when you think about it, yet most people have never realized that some fonts require more ink than others. Brown suggests using Century Gothic, Ecofont, or Times New Roman to keep your ink cartridges fuller for longer. Arial, it appears, is a particularly poor one.
- Reduce the amount of paper and ink you use by changing your settings. Print double-sided papers wherever possible, and broaden your margins to fit more text on the page. This may not save ink directly, but it does save reports – especially for items that aren’t needed for a long time, such as memos and notes.
- Make use of the print preview. Have you ever printed a web page only to discover that the advertising at the bottom of the page has squandered your ink? To avoid wasting pages, always open your work in print preview mode.
- Only print parts of a web page. The free HP Smart Print app might help if the print preview shows a lot of ads or other undesirable items. It saves paper and ink by removing the headers, footers, and advertisements from web pages, leaving only the text you want to print. The app is not only for HP printers.
- Make a black-and-white printout. Using color ink on documents that don’t require it will only cause problems in the future. Change your default setting to print in black and white only to ensure that you only print in color when essential. Your color ink cartridges will last longer as a result of this.
- Print in draught mode when the highest quality isn’t required. This setting not only uses less ink than the “standard” setting, but it also prints faster. The text will be slightly lighter, and the results will be lower in quality, but there are many instances where this is a fair tradeoff.
- Only replace ink cartridges when they are empty. When the ink runs low, your printer will notify you, but Brown advises that this is only a warning; there’s no need to panic (yet). Keep using those cartridges until they are empty because your printer may continue to run correctly for some time.
- In the printer driver, select “N-up” printing. This option will allow you to print numerous pages on a single sheet of paper, saving both ink and paper if you don’t need to print each page on different pieces of paper and don’t mind potentially squinting at small writing.
HP makes money by selling printers and ink — a lot of it. As a result, it may come as a surprise that the company wants to ensure that customers get the most out of their cartridges, but we appreciate it. In recent years, printer manufacturers have been increasingly moving toward more consumer-friendly ink policies, including the development of tank-based (rather than cartridge-based) printers, but knowing how to push your current printer to its limits is important regardless of the type of printer you have.