Cut the cost of printing by saving ink

That $25 printer you bought at a discount store may seem like a good deal until you go to buy a replacement cartridge. That's when you learn printers are cheap but ink is outrageous. Small adjustments can greatly cut down on ink costs and make for a greener printer. Try these 12 techniques to reduce your outlay on printer ink. Kate Forgach, www.freeshipping.org/blog/

Change fonts: Times New Roman and Arial tend to be the default fonts. Switch to a lighter font, like Century Gothic, to reduce how much ink is required for each letter. On Microsoft Word, change default font by going to Format, Font, select a font, and save as "default."

Use smaller font sizes: Reduce the font size to 10 or less, but don't sacrifice legibility. If you can easily read the smaller font on your screen, you'll likely be able to read it on paper.

Print at the copy shop: Take a break from your desk and use an in-house or nearby print shop or copy center for major print jobs. The price per page is substantially less than printing on most standard printers.

Draft setting: Choose the "draft" or "econo" print setting in the "advanced" settings of your print screen popup. The overall print will be lighter, so you might want to use the standard setting for important documents.

Refilled cartridges: Refills cost less than buying new, particularly if you take advantage of Staples or Walgreen ink refill sales. Cut your costs even further with Walgreens free shipping codes or Staples online coupons.

Run it until empty: Continue printing on nearly empty cartridges until you've drained all the ink. On color printers you can change the print color to one that still has ink in the cartridge.

Print only what you need: Print only the information you need by using PrintWhatYouLike (www.printwhatyoulike.com) or software programs like GreenPrint or EcoPrint2.

Upgrade your printer: Before you buy, research the cost of replacement cartridges and whether the printer offers economical print settings. You'll often find replacing ink is cheaper on more expensive models. If you calculate the cost savings over a printer's projected lifespan you'll likely find the original cash outlay is worth it.

DIY refills: Refilling cartridges is messy work until you get the hang of it, but the savings may be worth it. Look for refill kits at warehouse clubs or on eBay.

Use Ecofont: Ecofont (www.ecofont.com) reduces ink usage by "shooting holes" into the font you're using. There's no loss of legibility or impact on layout. With a couple of mouse clicks, you can choose familiar fonts like Arial, Verdana or an Eco variant of your own house-style font (Enterprise Edition).

Recycle cartridges: Sell empty cartridges to printer stores, on eBay or for credit at some office-supply stores.

Don't print: Use the "Document Image Writer" or similar device to create electronic files, rather than printing out a hard copy. Alternately, you can scan documents or use a program like CutePDF (www.cutepdf.com) to create PDF files.

Cut the cost of printing by saving ink 07/07/10 [Last modified: Wednesday, July 7, 2010 5:30am]

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