6 Ways To Save Money on Printer Ink

Without changing the cartridges you buy

Have you heard what is one of the most expensive liquids you use is?

If you're thinking petrol, champagne, French perfume - you’d be wrong!

Printer ink is considerably more expensive on a volume basis. Bearing in mind of course that a bottle of perfume or champagne does not have the same amount of technology that is built in to some inkjet cartridges, especially cartridges with print heads.
Mils of Ink
Cartridge Cost
Cost per Mil
Cost per Litre
*Canon PG-640XL
*Canon CL-641XL
* HP 60XL Black
* HP 60XL Colour
Brother LC-139 Black
Brother LC-135 Colour
* Cartridge with built in print head - cost more to manufacture, they are not just an ink container!
Prices and Mils of ink are approximate and for illustration purposes only.
1,000 mils = 1 litre

So here are some suggestions to help you minimise the cost of your printing:

1. Tweak your Font

Tweak Your Font
Use Outline

Change from SOLID to Outline which is great for headings.

Highlight the text you want to edit

Select Format > Font > then choose "Outline"

Change Colour to Grey

BLACK to GREY is still very readable.

There are a number of ways to select the font colour. Either from the Format or Home Tab or use the dropdown menu on the Formatting Toolbar.

This varies depending on the program you are using. 

This is Black    This is 90% Grey

This is 80% Grey     This is 70% Grey

 Grey is black ink or toner, just less of it!

Change font colour
Eco Font

   ecofont feature tiny gaps so less ink is used but can still be read.

2. Reduce the amount of ink or toner consumed

Adjust settings in printer properties.
Lighten the density in the colour settings, less ink is used which lightens the image or text.

Lower the resolution - Use the lowest dpi setting your printer has (dpi – dots per inch)

600 dpi instead of 1200 dpi – less dots means less ink or toner consumed. 300 dpi is perfectly suitable for text, I’ll bet you can’t tell the difference.

Use draft or econo mode settings for unimportant prints, much faster too!

Adjust printer settings

3. Your choice of background or fill makes a difference

Just as Grey text uses less ink than black so too can your choice of background or fill colour. Lighter colours are achieved by laying down less ink or toner, so where possible choose lighter colours or lower the density of background images.

You have 3 basic choices

1. Solid 100% colour – this uses the most ink.
2. Less than 100% colour - Light colours or pastels.
3. Fading shaded colour – Colour at the top fading to a lighter colour or white.
Choose your background carefully

4. “Ink low” is not “Ink Out”

The warnings are just that – time to get another cartridge. You should have more ink left in your cartridge and the printer is telling to get another cartridge if you don’t have a spare. I strongly recommend carrying a spare, they always run out at the worst time. You could have as much as 30% more ink left. Keep printing until the printer stops and forces you to replace the cartridge or until you see the print quality drops due to lack of ink.

WARNING: Continuing to print when the ink runs out will damage your printhead, if the print quality is not good at any time, clean the print head or replace the cartridge - more on this in the next article.

Ink low

5. Only print what you need

Have you ever tried to print a webpage off the Internet? You may have wasted tons of ink printing ads, navigation bars, images and more. What if you could printthe parts of a page you wanted to?

CleanPrint and PrintWhatYouLike are two tools that let you do just that.

CleanPrint is an extension for Web browsers that automatically strips out ads and navigation. From there, you can delete images or text, decrease the font size and even add notations.

Download: http://www.formatdynamics.com/cleanprint-4-0/

PrintWhatYouLike is a website that takes another webpage and lets you choose what to print. Just paste in an address and you'll be able to alter or remove any segment of a page.

Visit: http://www.printwhatyoulike.com/ - then paste website link

From this                       to                 This

Reduce the amount of ink used

6. Don't print at all

If you think about it, you might not need to print as much as you do. Online receipts and confirmations can be kept as a PDF (Portable Document Format). You can create your own for free with PrimoPDF, it’s a free PDF printer program. To save document, select PrimoPDF as the printer instead of your normal printer and in seconds you'll have a digital PDF file of your document. PDF’s are easy to store, organise and read, but you don't use any paper or ink unless you decide you need to print at a later date. Take care when saving the document on your computer so you can find again later!

You can create a PDF when using CleanPrint too.

One final consideration

The unavoidable loss of ink, if you don't print very often then you are losing ink to one or both of the following:

Evaporation: Most inkjet cartridges have breather holes to allow air in as the ink get used, it is from here that ink will also evaporate out of the cartridge - use it or lose it.

Printhead cleaning: Your printer performs a certain amount of maintenance on it’s own in the form of printhead cleaning. This requires a small amount of ink to fired into a waste bin and then a wiper blade cleans off any excess or dry ink. Trouble is, if you have too much dry ink due to lack of use several cleans may be required. Cartridges can be emptied whilst attempting to restore print quality – more on this in the next article.

Unfortunately, there isn't much you can do about these, but it’s something to think about next time you're buying a new printer:

Toner cartridges don’t evaporate and if you can do without colour there are plenty of cheap laser printers and the cost per page will likely be lower too. Some inkjet cartridges like Brothers have cartridges that are virtually sealed systems and have been tested as one of the most economical.

The cheapest printer is probably the one that will cost you the most.

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