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 Little Printer Trick Saves Big Money

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Join date : 2009-12-01
Age : 56

PostSubject: Little Printer Trick Saves Big Money   Tue Apr 06, 2010 8:20 pm

Here's a legal way to print money: change the font

MILWAUKEE – Here's a way you might save $20 this year: Change the font in the documents you print.

Because different fonts require different amounts of ink to print, you could be buying new printer cartridges less often if you wrote in, say, Century Gothic rather than Arial. Schools and businesses could save thousands of dollars with font changes.

"The feedback we've gotten so far has been positive," she said. "Century Gothic is very readable."

The school of 6,500 students spends about $100,000 per year on ink and toner cartridges. Although students and staff can change the default font to something more ink-intensive, Blohowiak said the university expects to save $5,000 to $10,000 per year with the font switch.

When tested popular fonts for their ink-friendly ways, Century Gothic and Times New Roman topped the list. Calibri, Verdana, Arial and Sans Serif were next, followed by Trebuchet, Tahoma and Franklin Gothic Medium. Century Gothic uses about 30 percent less ink than Arial.

The amount of ink a font drains is mainly driven by the thickness of its lines. A font with "narrow" or "light" in its name is usually better than its "bold" or "black" counterpart, said Thom Brown, an ink researcher at Hewlett-Packard Co., the world's top maker of printers.

Also, serif fonts — those with short horizontal lines at the top and bottom of characters — tend to use thinner lines and thus less ink than a "sans serif" counterpart.

But while using less ink at home can help you buy roughly one fewer printer cartridge each year, it's not necessarily better for the environment.

That's because some fonts that use less ink, including Century Gothic, are also wider. A document that's one page in Arial could extend to a second page if printed in Century Gothic. Blohowiak said her research suggests that ink comprises the main cost of a printout, but the environmental costs of paper are probably higher.

"Maybe the individual characters use less ink, but if you're using more paper, that's not so green, is it?" said Allan Haley, director of "words and letters" at Monotype Imaging Inc. in Woburn, Mass., which developed Century Gothic.

Also, Century Gothic was designed for limited blocks of text such as titles and headlines, not for full documents, said Haley, who describes fonts as his "children." Haley said he still recommends Times New Roman or Arial for their readability.

The standard advice for trimming printing expenses still applies: Print in "draft mode," if you can. Use both sides of a page and do a print preview to make sure you're not printing pages with useless text such as a copyright line. Using an ink-saving font is just one more technique to consider.

And the greenest way to save on ink is not to print at all.

That's the philosophy Microsoft Corp. said it uses in deciding which fonts to include in its Outlook and Word applications. The more pleasing a font looks on the screen, the less tempted someone will be to print, said Simon Daniels, a program manager for Microsoft's typography group.

That's why the company changed its defaults in Office 2007 from Arial and Times New Roman to Calibri and Cambria, he said.
"We're trying to move the threshold of when people hit the print button," he said.
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Join date : 2009-11-26
Age : 43

PostSubject: Re: Little Printer Trick Saves Big Money   Wed Apr 07, 2010 7:49 am

A huge Thank You for that. I have been using my printer so sparingly lately. I hate that. I need to use it but because one cartridge costs $24, I'm end up writing things by hand. I don't mind that much, but there are things that are just not the same as when they are printed.


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Join date : 2009-12-01
Age : 56

PostSubject: Re: Little Printer Trick Saves Big Money   Wed Apr 07, 2010 8:25 am

You are so welcomed CB. My cartridges are running $36 a piece.I sure wish I knew that before I bought this all-in-one. Ugh. And it seems like Im replacing them every other month. I appreciated this info also.
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Join date : 2010-01-02
Age : 61

PostSubject: Re: Little Printer Trick Saves Big Money   Fri Apr 09, 2010 3:07 am

Yup, I've got the ink price blues too! And it's always on a month when I don't have the excess in my budget.. Oh Well. I have a source for cheap ink I'll forward as soon as I find it.

Meanwhile to the point of the font changes. While I don't personally like Calibri I agree it probably uses less ink. But there's a few other issues with doing it that aren't saving money. For instance, in a bigger network, it requires resetting all of the machines that are LAN or linked (that's extra hours of time and re-education) because people think there's something wrong and they start re-setting the defaults. This is a no win at a school.

Also (and this is from years ago college graphics) when the font is lighter due to serifs or a wavery type style, there is a much higher tendency to print bold or underlined to make it stand out. This then uses more ink not less. Additionally, the tendency is to use a higher point size=more ink, and to use the supersize or heavy feature = more ink, also to use more color. Fonts like Times New Roman[/font] are an "uneven strike" font requiring the printer the print unevenly, therefore causing a possible clog or spray. As stated Century Gothinc is bigger and takes more space, A font like Franklin Gothic Book or medium is a very readable and evenly printed sans serif print. And what happened to Helvetica?

As stated, it's long been the practice of websites to "slop" over onto another page to do their fine print agreements and advertising of the site or unsubscribe agendas. This becomes another page to print which is defaulted to print regardless of de-selecting the second page.

One more thing. Years ago in advertising, it was a common practice to target demographics with different sizes and colors of print and graphics. It's been suggested by sources like AARP that with the majority of the population aging and therefore needing bigger print, companies that cater to that need do a better business, however, all that bigger print, sent to all those email address with coupons attached, uses both more paper and more ink. The same thing is true for readability - it's a fact that underlined type requires more attention to read, so it is used frequently as an attention getter, using more ink. These are just a few of the many advertising subliminals that are used.

Personally, I use and re-use paper instead of always getting new paper. I use the draft mode for a lot of things (the lighter grey on a yellowed paper looks very nice and readable). I bookmark a lot more than I print and I handwrite things more. I've heard that there are soy based and other plant based inks coming out that will significantly lower ink costs.
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