How to drive your printing costs down

10 December 2014

2 min read

Printing doesn’t have to be expensive, but too many companies struggle to keep an eye on print costs – while many employees think too little about what and how they print. Here are our top tips to driving your print costs down.

How to drive your printing costs down (Desktop)

  1. Change what you print

    There will always be documents that need printing, whether resources for customers or reference materials for staff. However, some documents could be just as well distributed by email, or placed on an intranet where everyone can find them. Don’t waste ink and paper on newsletters and memos; make them digital and save some money.

  2. Push for pull printing

    Many office printers now support pull printing, where the employee has to activate their job when at the printer, providing authentication at the same time. This is good for security, as people only see the prints that they originated, but it also saves money: you won’t get staff walking off with someone else’s prints. Most of all, it stops users printing a document and leaving it sitting in the in-tray, or printing it, forgetting they’ve printed it, and printing it again. That’s waste you can easily do without.

  3. Make draft your default

    Not all documents need to be printed at the highest quality settings. Draft quality is fine for internal use, and it makes printing lengthy documents not just cheaper but faster too. Keep high quality for documents that customers will see. If you can, set draft as the default on every PC and train your staff to keep it that way.

  4. Black and white can be best

    You don’t need colour logos in internal documents, and monochrome reports are just as easy to proof as colour ones. Nor does every internal report needs its headings, charts and graphics printed in glorious colour. As with the quality settings, make black and white the default, and save colour for the situations where it matters.

  5. Dump personal printers

    Some managers see personal printers as a perk or a necessity for security, but with high-speed printers and secure pull printing, using a workgroup printer isn’t any less secure or efficient. Personal printers nearly always cost more per page, and are a pain for the IT team to manage. Ditch them, and don’t be afraid to explain why.

  6. Set up duplex printing

    The vast majority of office printers support two-sided printing, so why doesn’t everyone use it? Make it the norm rather than the exception and – if you can – set it in the drivers by default. You might not halve your print costs but you’ll definitely make a dent in them, and your consumption of paper is guaranteed to drop.

  7. Set a style

    Some fonts use more ink than others, and the larger you make the point size, the more ink they burn through. The University of Wisconsin-Green Bay reduced printing costs by 10% just by switching from Arial to Century Gothic for prints. Set styles for office documents with lighter fonts and smaller sizes; a reduction of 1 or 2 points could also see you using fewer sheets of paper. Discourage the over-use of bold and underline in documents, and avoid bulky, high-impact fonts for headings. Every little helps.

  8. Train your staff

    All these steps are wasted if you don’t train your staff. Teach them how to print the pages they need from a 20-page document, not the whole shebang. Show them how to use Excel’s shrink-to-fit feature, so that printed worksheets don’t waste page after page. Tell them how they can print multiple pages on a single page if they don’t need them printed at full size, and help them find the Print Preview option, so that they check what they’re printing before they print.

    This article was brought to you in association with PC Pro.