How to Save on Paper for Your Printer

by Rich on March 26, 2010

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Using too much paper?

Ink cartridges aren’t the only consumable that can cost you. Paper isn’t as expensive, but if you use a lot of it, it can definitely make an impact on your budget. And if you use a lot of it unnecessarily—well, that’s bad for the environment and bad for your bank account. Here are a few tips for cutting down your use of printer paper—whether you’re at home or at the office.

Be selective about what you print. You may not need to keep paper records of everything. Consider saving some important documents electronically instead. If you’re worried about the fallibility of electronic storage, store the documents on several different disks or thumb drives as well as on your computer. That way, you should be able to retrieve the documents from a different source even if your computer catches a virus or your first backup disc gets scratched.

Print on both sides of a piece of paper. This can cut your paper usage by half if you do it every time. Print on both sides of a piece of paper—set your printer to print this way if it has the capability, or take the time to print each page individually and reload the paper manually if it’s a smaller document. This may seem like a lot of work if your printer won’t do it automatically, but if you only do it for small print jobs it can still save you paper and money.

Be careful of what you print online. Sometimes it can be tough to tell how long a page is online until you print it. If you only need a certain section of a web page, copy the section you need into a word document and print that instead. If you need the whole thing but aren’t sure how long it will be, simply cut and paste only the text into a word document. You may find that you don’t need everything if it’s that long—or it’s not worth printing out at that length. Cutting and pasting the text into a word document for printing purposes can also save on printer ink.

Use the Preview feature. You should be able to look at a picture of how each document will look when you print it by clicking on “Print Preview” under “File.” This will keep you from printing a document that doesn’t look the way it should—before you fix the error. You can also check to see if any lines of the document go over into an extra page—you may be able to adjust your margins or edit the document down so that it fits on one page.

Communicate via email. Some traditionalists bemoan the downfall of the hardcopy letter. But it may not be such a bad thing to send your letters primarily via email. Don’t print out letters and send them in envelopes. Instead, use your email account and contact friends, family and others via email—and you’ll save plenty of money in postage as well as in paper. In addition, if you send important graphics and documents as PDF or Word attachments via email, you can save on paper as well.

Don’t copy—scan. If you have a multi-function printer or access to a copier at work, don’t copy every document. Instead, scan the original and make a digital copy. Once you have that, you can email it or store it on your computer—and you won’t need to waste paper or ink making another hard copy of the original. This can also save you plenty of money on paper at the office or at home.

A lot of paper is wasted in the office and even at home—and cutting down on how much you use can reduce costs as well as making your office or home more environmentally friendly. Be careful of how much you print—don’t print unless you absolutely have to, and send most important documents and communications via email. When you do print, use both sides of the page and use the Preview feature first to make sure you’ll only have to print once. With these and other measures, you should be able to reduce your paper waste.

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