November 15, 2005

Printing more efficiently

Save paper ever time you print by better understanding your print options

Printing is one of the most common tasks modern computers are used for, whether it is at home or in the office, making it vital that you understand the capabilities of the printer you are using, and ensure that it is set up correctly before every print.

It only takes a few seconds to save yourself, or your business, hundreds of dollars a year on paper bills.

The print command is located in the file menu, but above it there is usually another command called Page Set-up.

The Page Set-up command (depending on the program) allows you to change the margins of the page, change the paper size and also select the paper source (if you are using a laser printer with multiple paper trays).

For example, if you are printing a letter and using A4 paper size, ensure that A4 is selected as your Paper Size option.

The Print dialogue box has many different options:

1. The first option is called ‘Properties’. Again, depending on the printer the properties allows you to set the print quality (eg. Draft, Normal or Best) and the paper quality (Plain paper or Inkjet).

Additionally, you will be able to find a setting called ‘Multiple Pages per Sheet’. This option lets you print either 2 or 4 sheets to a page. So, if you have a 10 page document to print and it is only a draft, select the 2 pages per sheet option and you will save 5 pieces of paper.

The properties option will also allow you to choose between printing in colour (if your printer supports it) or printing in black and white.

2. Next, under ‘page range’ you can select to print the entire document (All) or select to print either the current page or specific pages. For example, if I want to print pages 3 to 5 and also 7 I would type 3-5,7

3. Lastly, there will also be an ‘Options’ button at the bottom of the Print dialogue box. This will have program specific options. For example, in Microsoft Word you can choose to print comments or document properties if required.

Ensuring your print settings are right shouldn’t take you more than an extra minute, but will save you in the long-term by making sure you print efficiently. You’ll save both time, as you won’t need to waste time waiting for documents to print, and money, as you will fit more onto each page, reducing the amount of paper you use.