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Printing can be very expensive, and it can also have a huge negative impact on the environment as paper manufacturing contributes to deforestation, air pollution, water pollution, and even global warming. If you are sick of constantly buying expensive ink cartridges or laser toners to print documents and pictures using your Mac, there’s a lot you can do to cut down on your printing costs without making any major sacrifices in terms of convenience.

Top 10 Tips on How to Reduce Your Printing Costs

To spend less money per printed page, you need to develop healthy printing habits. Your Mac computer allows you to control the printing process to a very fine degree, and learning which print settings use less ink without dramatically affecting the quality of the printed documents and images is the key to economic printing.

On all Mac computers, you can access the print settings directly from the print dialog window. You can either open the print dialog window from the menu bar or do the same using the Command-P shortcut. If a printer is connected to your Mac computer, you should see it available next to the Printer option. Select the available printer and click on the Show Details button to expand the print dialog window. This will show more options, allowing you to change the orientation of the printed document or picture, select a different print quality, or print using only the black ink cartridge.

Buy an Economical Printer

Printers come in various sizes, offering a wide choice of print technologies. Some printers are designed for non-stop, high-speed printing, while other printers are designed for home users who print everything from documents to pictures, usually in small quantities.

You might be tempted to buy the best printer you can afford, but you need to realize that the most expensive printer in your local electronics store might not be the best choice for you. High-speed, high-volume printers are often cost-effective only when you print in very large quantities. Yes, the cost per page will be smaller, but that’s largely irrelevant if it takes five years of frequent printing just to offset the higher price of the printer when compared to a cheap toner-based printer.

Carefully consider what you plan on printing and how often you’ll likely use your printer. Select a few printers that meet your needs and compare their cost per page. Finally, go online and read user reviews to find out how satisfied people are with each printer to determine which one is the best.

Only Print What Your Need

Even though the print button is often just a click away, you should resist it as much as you can. These days, you have so many other options how to share documents than printing them on paper that it would be a shame not to take advantage of them. Instead of printing that company memo and giving it to each employee, why not upload it to the cloud and send everyone a link or a push notification, instead?

Unless you need to print something urgently, consider placing documents for printing into a special folder and leaving them there for a while. When you open the folder after a few hours, you may be surprised by how many documents that you’ll find in there you no longer need.

Use the Print Preview Feature

You should establish the habit of using the print preview feature before clicking on the print button. It takes just one wrong setting to mess up the entire print job, leaving you without any other option except for printing everything all over again. This is especially common when employees share a single printer, but it also happens often to families who print from a single computer.

Although it’s possible to interrupt the print job, one must first notice that something is wrong to do something about it. The print preview feature shows you on the computer screen how everything will look on paper, giving you a chance to make last-minute adjustments and avoid a costly mistake.

Lower the Print Quality Settings

By default, macOS uses the standard print quality settings, which offer a good compromise between quality and cost. But if you print mostly text, you may not notice any significant difference even if you lower the print quality settings as low as you can. This is something you really need to experiment with because every printer is different, and so is every print job. You definitely don’t want to lower the print quality settings when printing pictures that you want to frame and hang on your walls at home because they would lose contrast and look very bland.

Print Black and White Mac Settings

Mac computers make it easy to print in black and white. Black ink cartridges are usually less expensive than color ink cartridges, so it makes sense to print everything that absolutely doesn’t have to be printed in color in black and white.

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How to Print in Black and White on Mac:

To print black and white Mac computers provide users with a convenient option located in the print dialog window. Open the print window from the menu bar or by pressing Command-P. Click on the Show Details button to expand the print dialog window. Look for an option called Grayscale. Activate it to print in black and white.

Print More Pages per Sheet

The standard text size of most documents is 11 or 12 pixels. When you print such a document on a sheet of A4 office paper, everything looks large. That’s good news for people with poor sight, but if you’re the only person who’s going to read the document, you may as well print more pages per sheet and save money both on paper and on ink.

You should be able to fit at least two pages on a single sheet of paper without sacrificing readability, but, if you have particularly good eyes, even four or more pages might still be readable.

By changing the number of pages per sheet, you can easily make any document smaller. If you don’t have access to a photocopier, this tip can be a real-life saver. 

Use Double-Sided Printing

You don’t need a huge office printer to print on both sides of paper. Mac computers allow you to use duplex printing even if your printer doesn’t explicitly support it. The only caveat is that you’ll need to manually flip the paper and insert it back into the printer. While not ideal for frequent printing, manual duplex printing is perfectly acceptable for most home users.

Once you start printing on both sides of paper, you may even want to consider buying more expensive paper. Premium office paper tends to absorb less ink, saving you money on ink cartridges in the long run. Besides, premium office paper just looks and feels better.

Print to PDF

Mac computers support printing to PDF, and you should use this feature as much as you can to save money and to protect the environment. When you print to PDF, you will end up with a PDF document that you can easily share with others or transfer it to your smartphone or tablet for reading on the go. Thanks to cloud storage services, you can instantly share PDF files across all your devices and make them available for download to anyone on the Internet. Best of all, you can still print PDF files later just as easily as you can print regular documents and images.

Switch to Refillable Cartridges

Refillable cartridges can save you a lot of money, but you need to make sure that your printer supports them. Manufacturers of printers make most of their revenue by selling ink cartridges, and they don’t like when their customers can purchase affordable refills from third-party manufacturers. Many printers check whether the inserted cartridge is original, and they’ll refuse to use those that aren’t.  

Stop Printing Documents for Backup Purposes

If you’re used to printing documents for backup purposes, stop. Keeping only digital copies is more than enough these days. You have reliable cloud storage backup services such as Google Drive and Dropbox, which can automatically store copies of your files in the cloud, and there are also excellent data recovery applications such as Disk Drill to help recover any lost files after a hard drive failure.

With Disk Drill, you can protect all important files that you can’t afford to lose with Recovery Vault, or you can create byte-to-byte disk and partition backups for future recovery of the entire operating system. Disk Drill comes with a disk health monitoring tool to alert you of potential hardware issues, and its renowned data recovery algorithms can recognize over 200 file formats and restore your files from all storage devices.

.updated: November 8, 2017 author: jon
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