Five cost-cutting tips to help you – and your clients – reduce printing costs

Sometimes, in the hectic daily struggle to become more successful and keep your loyal customers, you’ve likely dispensed sound advice to clients on how to reduce their printing and ink costs (while retaining your phenomenal services, of course). So why do so many commercial printers and quick printers today not take their own advice? Here are five tips (more like reminders) from Xerox on how to save money on paper and ink. And while they many sound obvious and even frivolous, you might want to add up the amount of paper and ink you waste on a yearly (not just daily) basis. The final total may surprise you. Finally, if you still think paper and ink use is not that big of a deal, consider that the world’s leading software companies spend literally millions of dollars every year creating programs that maximize paper use – for example, the best ganging options for any particular print job. There are also sophisticated ink-dispensing devices and software that optimize ink usage. Every year, for example, millions of dollars is wasted simply because original cans still containing small amounts if ink are disgarded. And let’s not forget about Landa Nanography – which promises to disrupt our industry by drastically reducing the cost per page through its groundbreaking ink-laydown (i.e. ink-saving) technology. With all this in mind, please consider the following:

Print multiple pages per sheet. This is especially useful when printing Microsoft PowerPoint presentations, MS Word documents, PDFs, and even web pages. In the printing dialogue box, look for an option to print multiple pages on one sheet. Also check to see if your print driver allows “N-up” printing, which lets you manually set the number of pages you’d like to print on a single page.

Use Print Preview and Shrink to Fit options. One way to eliminate unnecessary pages at the end of a document, and avoid wasting valuable ink as well, is to use the Print Preview option. Look for inefficient gaps in the document, misplaced page breaks, and too many spaces. Then modify your document to get the most out of your printing. If a document is 11″ x 17″ or even legal size (8.5″ x 14″), ask youself if you really need to print it full-size. Shrink it to fit on an 8.5″ x 11″ sheet. Nine times out of 10, it’ll still be quite readable.

Duplex print. This simple idea – printing on both sides of the page – is one of the easiest ways to print more efficiently and cut down on paper use. Make sure your default print setting enables two-sided printing – and start saving money!

Print a draft copy. If you’re using Microsoft Word or other word-processing software, save ink as well as print time by printing draft copies of your documents as you edit them. In “Draft Output,” not all formatting, graphics and other features are printed. This feature is also useful when you simply need to check grammar, spelling and content in a hard copy. Check to see if your printer supports this feature. Click “Options” in the print dialogue box and check “Draft Output,” then click “OK.” Note that these steps may vary slightly based on which software version you’re using.

Print greener. Some free software can actually help you to print greener. For example, Xerox’s GreenPrint software (for Xerox Phaser 8560 or 8860 solid ink colour printers or multifunction printers) automatically highlights and removes unwanted pages prior to printing by analyzing each page sent to the printer, and looking for typical waste characteristics (such the last page with just a URL, a banner ad, a logo or legal jargon).


Tony Curcio is the editor of Graphic Arts Magazine.