Printer manufacturers justify the high price of ink cartridges on the cost of their research and development studies, which are necessary to improve the technology and functionality of the items they sell to their customers. In other words, a printer manufacturer is more interested in doing research to be able to create better machines than in doing so in order to obtain cheaper ink.
On the other hand, manufacturers generally use the so-called razor business model, in which an object is sold at a low price (the razor itself or a printer) to then increase sales of a complementary good (razor blades or ink cartridges), which have a proportionally higher cost.
In any case, there are some tricks that can be applied when printing in order to save as much as possible on ink and paper, either by paying attention to the printer’s configuration options or by using applications specially designed for this purpose.
1. Check the text to avoid reprints
Before sending a document to print, the first step is to make sure that everything is correct. This avoids having to print again (with the consequent extra cost of paper and ink) because there was an error in the text or the layout is not correct.
The “Preview” function, present in word processors and other office applications, allows you to review the text, design, layout, etc. before sending it to print, to check that everything is correct.
2. Use draft quality
A very interesting function that can be found in the printer’s configuration options is the possibility of printing in “draft” or “low” quality. If it is something important (such as a class work or a professional document), it may not be the most appropriate, but many other things that are printed can be done in draft quality without problems, with the consequent saving in ink.
3. How to make the best use of paper
The printer’s configuration menu also hides interesting tricks with which you can save paper. In the print menu it is possible to find options to print on a single sheet on both sides or, if the font size allows it, to adjust the text to include two pages on a single sheet.
4. Adjusting the text in the editor
Some word processors, such as Microsoft Word, allow you to reduce the text in those cases where there are only a few lines on a page, in order to fit them on the previous page. This saves paper, without losing print quality or having to make major changes to the document or the text itself.
5. Changing the font can save ink
Not all text fonts use the same amount of ink. Some fonts save ink because they have a more stylized design. In 2014, an American student demonstrated that changing the font of his school’s writings from Times New Roman to Garamond could reduce ink consumption by 24%, resulting in a saving of $21,000 (about 18,600 euros) per year.
6. How to print only what is needed in a document
Most word processors and other office applications let you print only certain pages of a document or even only the lines that have been selected beforehand. Why print a text with dozens of pages when only some of them are of interest?
7. How to print only what you need from a website
If you want to print an article from a web page, there are many things that are not relevant and that would only contribute to increase ink costs: menus, advertisements, graphics, etc. Luckily, there are pages like PrintFriendly or PrintWhatYouLike with which you can remove all those elements that are not interesting to print. The Chrome extension CleanPrint also serves this purpose.
8. Use software to control ink consumption
In addition to the solutions to save ink when printing items from the Internet by deleting items that do not interest you, there are other programs that can help reduce ink consumption. One of them is InkSaver, which monitors the printer’s ink usage more precisely than the standard driver, which helps to get the most out of the cartridges.