How to make ink cartridges last longer

In Printing Tips |

On November 15, 2017

Sometimes, when faced with the price of a new ink cartridge, it feels like it would be cheaper to train a personal scribe to learn a range of fancy fonts and then hire them to remain permanently on standby.

What makes matters worse is that whilst printer cartridges are notoriously expensive they also always seem to be running out. Sometimes it feels like no sooner have you aligned your cartridges, the Out of Ink sign is blinking again – no matter whether you swallowed hard and took the difficult decision to go XL last time you bought.

Never fear, help is at hand. Your printer may seem a touch temperamental from time to time but fundamentally they are a patient and obedient employee. There are also a number of ways that you can make your ink cartridge really earn their keep and work for you.

First and foremost, if you can possibly help it, don’t press print! It’s outrageously obvious to say so but there is still a heck of a lot of printing happening out there which is entirely superfluous. If you need a record of something, are you 100% sure that a plain old digital copy isn’t sufficient? It’s easier to find, it won’t get accidentally recycled and it takes up less space. Quite apart from anything else, think of the rainforests you will be helping to save if you could just persuade yourself to press save instead of print more often than not.

Of course, sometimes you do need a printed copy. So let’s imagine you’ve had a long hard think about it and reached the conclusion that this is definitely one of those occasions. The printer is on, the paper drawer is loaded and the ink cartridge is waiting with baited breath for you to say the word. This is the moment it has been waiting for. It’s up to you not to get carried away with the excitement of the moment. You’ve come this far so it is definitely worth spending just a few more minutes exercising your control over the situation and your command over the life of the ink cartridge.

This is the moment to make sure that if you’re going to print, you are only going to print once. How many times have you printed a document only then to discover – with the paper and precious precious ink still drying in your hand – that there is a simple unbearable oh-so-obvious typo staring up at you? (More than you’re comfortable admitting, if you’re anything like me.)

There are plenty of ways of avoiding this. Triple check on screen. Use all the tools at your disposal. Spellcheck is worth its weight in gold as far as printer ink is concerned. Print Preview will show you the exact layout of your document before it appears – looking entirely different to what you were hoping for – in your print tray. And don’t get me started on Factory Settings. The Factory Settings often seem designed to make you use more ink. But, let’s be honest, unless you are doing something pretty special, it’s probably absolutely fine for you to alter the settings and set the print quality to ‘draft’ and the colour to print in ‘grayscale’. In fact, it’s probably worth setting this as your default so it prints this way without you even having to think about it. Maybe you could even print multiple pages per sheet and halve the ink used on every page!

You’ve read this far and you’re starting to feel richer already but the fun is only just beginning. These are the first basic steps to making your ink cartridge go the distance but if you really want to go head to head and show that cartridge whose boss, it’s time to start getting clever.

Unsurprisingly, we are not the first people to take on the ink-saving challenge. Which means the good news is a lot of smart people have wracked their brains and come up with some pretty handy initiatives to cut down extraneous printing and ink wastage. For example, if you’re printing an online document, what do you want with all those adverts around the side? is the answer to your prayers and will help you quickly edit the webpage down to the section you require in black and white. Ecofont is another godsend. It works on the simple premise that every single character that you print is another tiny drain on your ink cartridge. Ecofont inserts a series of white spaces inside every letter and, in doing so, reduces your ink consumption by 20%! Genius.

And guess what? A typeface like that, filled with tiny white holes, is way beyond even the most talented, highly trained, calligraphy-wielding personal scribe.

If you do need to stock up on ink and toner visit!

Last modified: November 15, 2017

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