Inkjet printer ink is one of the most expensive liquids in the world - it costs more per litre than Chanel No. 5 perfume, for example - so it makes sense to use as little as possible every time you print. Here are six ways to help you do just that.
1. Use third-party inks
Choosing inkjet refills carefully won’t make the cartridges last longer, but you will get more for your money.
Inkjet cartridges are at their most expensive when you buy refills from the same manufacturer who made your printer - the ‘original equipment manufacturer’ or OEM.
Buying cartridges from a third party, or ‘non-OEM’ supplier, is considerably cheaper. A five-pack of Canon cartridges for a Pixma iP4600 inkjet costs around £44 from Amazon, for example, while a non-OEM set costs around £6.
You can buy non-OEM inkjet cartridges from high-street stores and online, but check customer reviews first, since some may be inferior to others. However if you use your inkjet to print photos onto the OEM’s own high-quality photo paper, it’s worth sticking with OEM cartridges since their ink tends to be formulated to match the paper and give the best possible photo prints.
2. Print in draft mode
If you’re printing something for your own reference, switch your inkjet printer to draft or ‘fast’ mode. The print quality won’t be as good, but text and images will still be perfectly legible. More importantly, your printer will use much less ink.
When printing a document, click the Preferences button on the Print dialog box. When it opens, look for a ‘Draft’ or ‘Fast’ option under Print quality. Enable it, then click OK and continue with your printing.
3. Print in monochrome
Printing a page of text that contains a small photo can use colour ink unnecessarily, particularly if you’re not interested in the photo. Get around this by printing pages using just the black ink cartridge. In the same Printing Preference dialog box opened in tip 2, look for a Grayscale or Monochrome option and enable it when you print.
4. Use a different font
Believe it or not, some fonts use up much more ink than others and while significant savings only occur when printing thousands of pages, you can still benefit from a switch. It’s reckoned that Times New Roman and Garamond use the least amount of ink, while chunky fonts like Comic Sans and Verdana use the most.
Better still, Ryman’s Ryman Eco font is a free font that supposedly uses 33% less ink than others while still preserving readability.
5. Use a web page’s own ‘Print’ option
Printing a web page usually prints everything on it - the logo, site menu, advertisements and so on. If all you want is the text in the middle of the page, this is a huge waste of ink.
Many web sites, however, offer a ‘Print’ option that opens a new page with just black text and minimal unwanted content to reduce the amount of ink that’s used.
Look at the top or bottom of a web page for a Print button or check out the Print Preview when you select Print in your browser to see what is likely to appear on the page.
If a web page lacks a ‘Print’ option, you can also use PrintWhatYouLike [link to www.printwhatyoulike.com] to strip unwanted content from a page before printing, although it doesn’t work with every website.
6. Don’t print at all
If you’re just printing something to make a permanent record of it, why print it on paper at all? Instead, print the document as a PDF file to retain all content and formatting, and save it on your hard drive. You can always print the PDF to paper later if you need to — or email it to someone to save on postage costs.
Windows users will need a PDF utility for this and CutePDF Writer is a free download. Once installed, Cute PDF Writer appears as another print option in the Print dialog box — just select it, click Print and select a location to save the file.