How to save printer ink

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Here in my area (Clearwater, Florida) the price for a gallon of gas is running around $2.30 to $2.40. That’s less than three dollars to be able to drive my car about 35 miles.

Now let’s compare that to the cost of another expensive liquid: inkjet printer ink. An inkjet printer cartridge holds about 13 ml of ink – that’s less than half an ounce. Do you realize then, that we pay about $5000 to $8000 per gallon for printer ink? Congratulations to the printer companies for making us believe printer ink is that valuable!

Given that information, we should try to conserve ink and make it last as long as possible. One way to do that is to choose to print with different settings.

(The following information applies to my printer, an HP Officejet 5610xi All in One. Yours will have similar settings, just not exactly the same perhaps.)

When you click to print something, you will get what’s called the Print Dialogue box. Before clicking “OK”, click the Properties button.

This will take you to a screen with some tabs. Click on the Paper/Quality tab. Somewhere in that window you will see some options for “Print Quality”.

By default, it is probably set to “Normal”. That’s the middle setting. To save ink, you can set it to Fast Normal (better for ink saving) or Fast Draft (best for ink saving). This means the printer will use less ink to print the page. The final copy will look a little lighter but certainly still readable.

There’s another ink-saving setting you can change. Click the tab that says “Color” and look for Color Options.

By default, it is probably set to print in high-quality color. You can check the box to have it print in grayscale (so you don’t use up any of your color ink).

You may not want to use these economy settings every time you print. If you are turning in a paper for school, or a presentation for work, you probably want the normal quality. But if you are just printing a recipe for tonight’s dinner that will just get thrown away, it’s smart to use as little of that expensive ink as possible!

This week’s video shows some people being polite:

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October 12th, 2009

Did you also know that when your color cartridge says "empty" you can still print using dark blue, and then dark green ink? Once those are gone, it's really empty. I get a lot of extra printing that way.