Make your ink cartridges last longer

Make your ink cartridges last longer

Fancy spending a little less money on printer ink? Follow these tips to maximise the life of your cartridges

One of the biggest ongoing computing costs is the ink you (almost literally) pour into your printer. In fact, drop for drop this precious liquid is one of the costliest substances you can buy. Thankfully you can stretch your ink out to its maximum, cutting your cartridge habit and keeping more pounds in your pocket. To find out how, check out our top 10 tips.

This clever site enables you to delete unwanted sections of websites, so you only print the important stuff

1.) Print no more than you need
It sounds obvious, but it’s easy to waste ink on unnecessary printing. If you’re running off a document, make sure you select only the necessary pages to print. With web pages, look for the ‘printer friendly’ option to avoid squandering ink on adverts and other web clutter. Handy sites such as Print Friendly will enable you to select only the essential parts of the page.

2.) Use Print Preview
Don’t print without checking first! A quick peek at your program’s ‘Print Preview’ feature will help you ensure your document is going to print out properly, saving you both ink and paper.

Print your documents in black and white to save your colour ink for more interesting things, such as your family photos.

3.) Go black and white
Black ink is cheaper than colour ink, so it makes sense to print in black and white where possible. Find the document you want to print, press Ctrl + P and then click on the Properties button. Tick the relevant box to ensure your printout arrives in glorious monochrome.

4.) Print rough and ready
Also in the printer’s Properties box, you’ll find the option to choose the print quality. Unless you need your document to look particularly smart, choose the Draft option (this might also be called something like ‘Economy’ or ‘Quick Print’). It will be perfectly readable and will use less ink.

5.) Keep your printer heads clean
Prevent wastage and poorly printed documents by keeping your printer heads clean. Every few weeks, remove your cartridges and wipe the bottom of them with a damp paper towel to remove any dried ink.

Foxit Reader encourages you to keep documents electronically rather than printing them out.

6.) Use a virtual printer
A foolproof way to save ink is to simply not print at all! There are many programs, such as Nitro PDF Reader and Foxit Reader, that include ‘virtual printer’ functionality, so you can ‘print’ to a PDF file instead of making a physical printout. This can come in handy when you want to store a copy of a web page, for instance.

Change your printing habits slightly and you can extend the life of your printer cartridges quite noticeably.

7.) Get the very last drop
Talking of which, don’t be swayed by your printer’s ‘helpful’ messages alerting you to your low levels of ink. Keep using the cartridge to the last and – when it’s finally run out – take the cartridge out of the printer, wobble it gently and replace it. You should still be able to eke out a few more pages.

8.) Don’t turn off your printer while it’s printing
If you interrupt your printer in mid-flow by turning it off at the socket, you’ll probably leave its printer nozzles open – drying up your precious ink in the process. Not a good idea.

Advent’s versatile all-in-one printer can print direct from a memory card – and will also handle your scanning and copying.

9.) Leave your printer on
Every time you switch on your printer, the printer heads activate using a tiny amount of ink. Every little counts – so leave your printer turned on (in sleep mode) to avoid this regular wastage.

10.) Print in a smaller font
One beautifully simple way to save ink is to print smaller. You’ll use less ink by printing documents at a smaller size or simply using a smaller font. Yes, even your choice of font can make a difference. Consumer website Which? recommends Times New Roman as the most economic font in which to print.