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How To Save Ink? Try Grayscale Printing & More - Top Ink Tips
When it comes to purchasing a printer, the price represents only a portion of the cost. You must consider the price you originally pay for the printer itself as well as the expense of buying ink cartridges every time the printer's ink runs out. If you own a business that requires a lot of printing or if you print a lot of photos, ink cartridges may frequently need to be replaced. These extra costs can add up in a hurry, but luckily there are ways you can save money by making your ink cartridges last just a little longer.
Top 10 Tips for Making an Ink Cartridge Last Longer
1. Print only what you absolutely need
Before you start printing any particular portion of text or graphics, decide its relevance and usefulness so that you do not unnecessarily spend time in printing things that may not be of much use. In short, you should print only those things that you may actually need to save consumption of considerable amounts of ink.
Additionally, these days you can find free programs online such as CutePDF that will allow you to turn almost anything into a PDF. Once a document is a PDF, then it can be uploaded to an online cloud storage service such as Dropbox, Box.com (yes, it's different), or Google Drive. All of these have mobile apps, so you will still have access to documents wherever you are.
2. Use Print Preview
Print Preview is a useful function that shows you how the document will look after it has been printed. It can help you adjust spaces and decide which pages to print. Consider turning off the color ink cartridges, selecting only the text you require and only the pages you need - especially that last page with the footer that comes out with each print job. This can significantly reduce your printer ink usage as well as your paper usage.
3. Print text over graphics
If you are printing documents only for later reference, print only the essential text and any related images or graphics that are required. Avoid printing images or colorful graphics if having a hard copy is not essential to the purpose of the document.
4. Print in Draft mode as often as possible
Use draft print quality whenever you can. Go to File - Print to open the box that lists the settings for your printer. Click 'Properties' to bring up the various options available. You'll probably find different choices under the heading 'Paper/Quality' that allow you to select draft quality printing. Your document will print at a lower resolution but that may not matter for reference material that you will likely discard later. You can always switch to a higher resolution for a final version of a document.
5. Grayscale Printing: Print text in black ink only
Print documents that are in black and white with a black ink cartridge. Choose black and white printing over color whenever possible. Depending on your printer, you may have the option to select grayscale printing using the black ink cartridge only. What is grayscale printing? It's simply printing using your black ink cartridge to produce print that is a combination of gray tones between black and white only. If you print black with a color ink cartridge, various colors are mixed to create the black ink. Not using grayscale depletes your color ink cartridge a lot faster than it would deplete a black ink cartridge. If you're not doing presentation quality work, or if you're printing text only, chances are you won't need the other colors.
6. Use color ink only when needed
If you want your refilled ink to run longer, then make use of color printing only when it is required. Otherwise, for general and regular use, it is wiser to use black and white printing that helps in saving your money on buying additional refills.
Modern personal printers can produce high quality photographs, particularly if you use specialty photo paper. But printing high quality digital shots can use a lot of ink, so if you print a large number of photos you might want to outsource your photo printing to a local print center. Many services allow you to order your prints online. You can also have your photos printed on calendars, mouse pads or greeting cards if you wish.
7. Keep your printer nozzles clean
Perhaps the easiest change you can make to your printing habits is to keep an eye on your printer heads. The printer ink nozzles that dispense the actual ink use a spray function to get the ink onto the paper. As such, these nozzles can experience a build-up of dried ink and become clogged. Clean the nozzle heads every few weeks or more often if you're a heavy printer.
If a color cartridge isn't printing all the colors, remove the cartridge and wipe the bottom of it where the ink comes out firmly with a damp paper towel or lint-free cloth to unclog the nozzle. This will help the ink flow more freely from the cartridge.
8. Use all the ink in the cartridge
Continue to print even when your printer light comes on or you get a warning saying that your ink is low. Check the ink level in the cartridge and if it appears that there is some ink left, keep using it instead of changing the cartridge immediately. There is likely quite a bit of ink left in the cartridge; remember that the ink comes out in a spray so it doesn't take much per page. Use it all and then shake the ink cartridge to break up any ink clogs (especially in humid climates). You may get hundreds of extra pages out of a cartridge by doing this. Keep printing until the ink is almost completely gone (but be careful that you don't run the printer with an empty cartridge).
9. Select "Printer-Friendly" Pages when printing from the Web
You would be surprised how much ink is wasted by printing pages directly as they appear from a website. One Web page can have multiple pictures or graphics...not to mention several pages worth of printing because Web pages are typically much longer than a regular document. Opt for the printer-friendly option if you need to print something from the Web. This eliminates all the unnecessary images, and will save your ink cartridges as well as your printing paper.
10. Use the printer regularly
If you don't print very often, you can stretch the life of your inkjet cartridges by keeping the printer moving. Print a page or two at least once a week using both your color and black ink cartridges. You can print something small (even a printer diagnostic test) to prevent the ink from drying up.
Another ink-saving tip is to power down your printer the right way after each use. Don't merely switch it off or unplug it, but allow your printer to power down slowly and shut itself down. The print heads need to be in the right position while the printer is turned off to prevent the ink from drying up prematurely. The printer should also be covered when not in use.
Last updated 2/17/14