Byte Me Article 285 – Printing Tips

Top Tips for Printing Properly

Making sure that this column also looks at the technical aspect of IT this week we will look at some printing tips that may save you time and money.  At the top of the money saving list is the often overlooked option of not printing at all.  This is rarely achieved and from what we have seen the so called ‘paperless’ office does not yet exist – however, not everything needs to be printed onto paper.

We often see strange office habits develop over time and one of the strangest is printing a document onto paper so that it can be scanned and then sent on email.  This stems for a number of reasons and mostly because you may be using a software package that the recipient does not have.  An example would be an Excel spread sheet.  Many print this out, only to scan it into the same PC to email it as a picture file or and Adobe PDF file.

The best idea for full page printing is to have a simple Adobe printing program like the free CutePDF writer installed.  It will show up in your list of available printers and anything that is able to be printed to paper can also be printed to a PDF file.  It is this PDF file that you can then email to any computer, tablet or smart phone in the world giving the recipient the choice of viewing it on their screen, forwarding it to another person or printing it on their own printer.

We install CutePDF onto every computer that leaves our shop and it is one of the most useful tools for reducing not only your printing costs but also saving time.  All of our quotes and invoices also get emailed out after being printed to a PDF file by this software which retains the original colours, formatting and fonts.

Next up we look at another free bit of software for printing or ‘capturing’ part of a page.  In this case it is the ‘Snipping Tool’ that is built into Windows which can capture a section of your screen and save it as a JPEG file.   Again this is a universally accepted file format which can be emailed to and viewed on any PC, tablet or smart phone in the world.

The Snipping Tool is very useful when you just need a picture or section of text from a website – where printing the entire page would be a waste or would distract from the focus of your intent.  Using this tool is a bit like taking an accurate photo of just a section of your screen and again this can save the need to print to a piece of paper.

Finally if you do need to print to a piece of paper and have a colour printer then consider printing in ‘greyscale’ if you don’t need colours as this can be literally a quarter of the cost of the same print using full colour.  Greyscale is useful if you need a draft copy or a quick copy for proof reading before you print a final version.  This option is available in the properties section of every colour printer.

Also if you want to print to paper from a website then consider the ‘print selection’ option which can save printing out 3 or 4 pages of rubbish when you are just after one picture or one small section of text.  To achieve this you simply highlight the section that you want with your mouse and then go to the print command.  You will now have the choice of only printing the ‘highlighted’ selection without all the rest of the adverts and junk.

When it comes to printing, standard computer procedures have changed greatly in the last few years and have tended to drastically reduce the need to print onto a piece of paper.  Documents and photos are both stored on a PC or thumb drive as data files and are most often sent to others as email attachments.

Consider not only the environment but also your own wallet before you hit that print button next time. 

Future Byte Me topics can be emailed to [email protected] and Bruce is contactable at Kerr Solutions, 205 Musgrave Street or on 49 222 400.

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