Get More from Your Printer

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Teachers spend gobs of their paycheck on their classrooms, and we want to get all that we can out of the materials—freebies and commercial items—that we have.  One of my larger expenses used to be printer ink, but not anymore.  I found two simple ways to get a lot more from my classroom printers.

1.  Change the Default Print Setting
Every printer that I’ve ever had came with 3-4 different print settings.  You’ll find them in the printer properties.

My Brother printer’s settings are
•    fine,
•    normal,
•    fast normal, and
•    fast.

My art quality, large format Canon printer’s settings are
•    high,
•    standard,
•    fast, and
•    custom.

The factory default setting for many printers is the highest print level, the one that uses the most ink.  You can change the default setting of the printer so that it automatically prints at a lower setting.  Print out a page at each level for comparison purposes, and then choose the lowest setting with an acceptable print quality.  For me, the 3rd level on each of my printers is perfect.  It saves LOTS of ink (and printing time), and the pages are perfectly fine for my purposes.  I never use the 1st level for anything, and I save normal or standard levels for special items like art prints or game boards.

To change the default settings, open the printer through “Devises and Printers”, go to printer properties, and locate the page with the default settings.  Each printer is a little different so you may have to click around a little to find the right page, but it will be there.  Once you’ve changed the default, all your pages will automatically print at the lower setting, unless you change the level at the time you start the print run.

To change the printing level at the print run, select print from the file menu, select properties, find the page with the quality levels, and click the quality you want for that particular item.  Most printers will “remember” the quality settings for each item you print, so when you print that item next time, it will print at the previous level until you change it.

2.  Change the Way you Shop for Printers
The other thing that HUGELY decreased the printing costs for me was to purchase my printer based on the cost of the ink cartridges!  I’ve done this for the last 3 printers I’ve purchased.  First I shopped for ink.  When I found the cheapest ink, I then shopped among the printers that used that cartridge.  My ink costs went down by hundreds of dollars a year.  The Brother printer that I use now costs about $9.00 for 12 cartridges (3 each of black, yellow, cyan, and magenta).  My husband’s printer is a little more expensive—it’s about $12.00 for 12 cartridges.  Still, that’s way less than the $35-$50/cartridge we were paying for our old printers.  We use generic ink cartridges in each of these printers.

My Canon large format art printer ink does cost a fortune.  It takes 8 different cartridges and each one costs $13-$16.  I can’t use generic cartridges because they don’t work in that printer.  Even still, using the “fast” quality setting, I can use it for duplex printing (which I do a lot of) without breaking the bank.  I can print 100 pages without a noticeable decrease in ink.  I spend about $100-$150 dollars a year in ink for that printer, but I’m very satisfied with the expense, considering the things I’m able to do with it.  I only use it to print items that I can’t print on my “little” printer.

Do you have any tips to add to help us all cut down on our printing bills?


Originally posted on March 19, 2012 on another website.

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