Introduction to ink saving, starting with fonts
This is just about how to eke-out the ink you have, at a given price, on a given amount of paper, with a given piece of text.
- http://www.ecofont.com/ - Spranq Eco Sans
- http://www.rymaneco.co.uk/ - Ryman Ecofont
- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Century_Gothic#Printer_ink_usage -Century Gothic (+ narrow margin)
- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Garamond - Garamond
(last three suggested by https://strategicsourcing.gov/print-wise who don't look inspired and seems to miss the problem of walking-over to a shared printer; a better version of their page is needed)
A basic test from Which magazine put Times Roman top, ahead of Calbri and then Century Gothic, with Trebouchet and then Arial behind - making you wonder why the public sector tends to use Arial. Bottom of the Which list of five are the screen fonts Tehoma and Verdana.
The other factor is readability for given text & paper, assuming that a sheet of paper costs more than the ink.
The address to use in a window envelope should be readable by machines - OCRB is a classic machine font. The rest of the text should be readable by humans, including humans over 50 without their specs on, humans who are ambivolent about whether they want to read the text or like reading, humans in bad light with the TV on as a distraction, and humans trying to read while commuting. It shouldn't matter how the text is crammed on a page to suit humans, but fat text will need smaller margins or lower line spacing and so be less easy to read. Ideal line lengths tend to be about ten words, according to research by newspapers, so a two column layout with a ragged right margin might be possible on an A4 sheet.
Spranq eco sans saves ink compared to Deja Vu sans, the open-source Verdana-like typeface that it copies except for holes towards the middle of the shapes. Obviously, people print in grey or "draft mode", with holes evenly distributed throughout the shapes, but Spranq think their system emphasises the edges more, to aid readability. They think you hardly notice the grey.
Century Gothic saves ink compared to Spranq Eco Sans, because it's light and spindley, with a bit of fatness to compensate. You need more paper or narrower margins to print the same text and point size. It might also be tiring to read as paragraphs; one glance suggest it should be used on the bold setting, which is like Helvetica. Spranq sell software for taking holes out of other typefaces, including Century Gothic if you want to pay; that's a more fair comparison.
It's probably possible to compare serif typefaces in the same way: Ryman Ecofont is grey by default v Garamond which is black. Ryman do not sell software for making text grey in a readable way; they just give-away the one grey serif font made of lines along the pattern of the shapes to appear almost black.
Finally, one article states that inkjet printers should be left on standby. Turn the mains off by pulling-out the flex if you really have to, because plugging it in again might not trigger their re-booting cleaning cycle that wastes a lot of ink. Using an inkjet regularly is another way of saving this cleaning cost.
Page-saving software & Ink-saving software overlap
Print driver software to help you spot waste pages is an option. One of the sites admits that your existing print driver might offer this, but suggests a new one in case it's easier to use. When printing from a web browser, there is a print preview site called Printfriendly.com that tries to cut-out the complication and make a printer-friendly version of any page, so you can have an automatically-updated printer-friendly link for any page like this one for this site. Printwhatyoulike.com is similar with more options by default.
Printer drivers overlap with online print-preview pages. Once you have found one or two of these programs it becomes easier to search for others. One of the companies has done it themselves and mention a couple of basic free printer drivers that make it easier to remove unwanted pages from the print queue and to print two-per-page if you want.
Clicktoconvert.com/iprint/ - free print driver that identifies empty pages, helps you remove pages from the total print queue, and makes 2-per-page easy.
Obviousidea.com/windows-software/greencloud-printer/ free similar print driver; promotes file sharing by dropbox as an alternative to print. I haven't checked either program for subtleties but there are not many - for example there is no extra subtlety to grey or draft mode. One of the print drivers offers conversion to pdf as a freebie.
Ink-saving software & Page-saving software overlap
A quick glance at the other print drivers above shows some subtlety in http://www.preton.com/technology.asp which claims to reduce overlap of circles made by inkjets. Preton have flirted with free offers but their preton.com/free.asp page now diverts to Preton.com/pretonsaver_home.asp, with a confusing "free download" label for the trail edition, The program claims to measure saving, but you'd need a very accurate weighing machine under your printer and two identical long print jobs to compare it with default settings or a printers' built-in economy mode. I found one article that claimed 600 dot per inch (dpi) printing looks exactly the same as 300 dpi printing on normal paper, but uses more ink; you can cut costs straight away without special software just by changing the default to 300dpi.
Spranq sell software to remove holes from the middle of other typefaces: Arial, Verdana, Calibri, Times New Roman and Trebuchet in the 14-day free demo edition, as well as giving away their eco-sans typeface.
Printgreener.com have $20 software for printing in grey - no promises are made about how the print is made grey - and helping you eliminate bad layouts. Like Preton, they have flirted with freebie-hunters but the free versions of their software on one download site now has reviews saying that it doesn't install:
I tried the dowload on XP and got version 2 of the software, which installs a neat option of a precursor to your usual driver, coloured bright green, and slow to load first time in the day according to their video. All it does is preview pages together, which your software might do for you already. If you're printing from a web page or such it might be useful. Version 2 tries to show you an advert, but the link telling you how to advertise didn't work for me first time. I got an "unexpected error" first time trying to print, and uninstalled before trying anything more.
Fineprint.com have a $50 - $100 program to help an office manager introduce grey scale and a range of options like archiving to everything the office does.
Adobe have mysterious software to do something simlar called LeanPrint, according to PCAdvisor, more expensive and only fit for some of their own recent software and microsoft word or excel, "using patent-pending methods to redo the layout of documents and intelligent techniques to cut down toner consumption". A video shows text converted at a click to different column and margin sizes instantly, which is impressive, but the PCAdvisor review finds the program rather unfinished except for the specific market of people who use Word, Excel, and recent Adobe products. If an organisation is using them, it could probably save a lot by using open source alternatives from osalt.com and think about ink later. On the other hand a lot of organisations have a religious devotion to Microsoft and Adobe, so this program could help them.
Another mysterious program - inksaver.com - charges $36 for patent methods of making your type grey. Each program has a 2 week free trial.
Reviews of some of these programs are on
Cheap paper for home users
Home users in the UK can check MySupermarket.com for any paper offers at 0.5p per sheet or less. Offers tend to be in big supermarket branches under their economy brand, displayed on a bottom shelf behind a pillar, or sometimes stacked up as a pile-high sell-cheap offer at the beginning of the school term. While searching, you will see adverts from office supply companies which do similar offers for new customers on a minimum order of say £30. Searching in early October 2014 I found Poundland advertising 0.3p paper that turned-out to be out of stock and replaced with 0.75p paper. Late October 2014 I found Staples was top of the list on a search engine. They usually sell paper at or just under £2.50 a 500 page ream including VAT on orders of 60 reams. A special offer in their clearance section shows reams at £1.99 for a short time - maybe only shown to people who have just searched for paper. A few years ago I used to use Viking, who have occasional special offers for existing customers and advertise cheap paper for new customers regularly. You may have to use a second address to get the new customer price if there isn't a special offer and you've used before.
Cheap paper for large organisations
Larger organisations can buy more at once.
With no experience of buynig for a large organisation, I guess the following is worth a try.
First, printing letters to post is a service that some companies do online. Most people don't do it for one or two letters because of the hassle, but the cost of time, stamp, printing and envelope may be more managable if not much cheaper when out-sourced.
Second, some organisations expect their staff to buy stationary together as part of a big deal which is meant to get low prices, maybe by tender, from office supply companies that sell everything else as well as paper. They make the money back by charging £100 for a coat rack. This isn't the only way of doing it. It could be possible to get a pallet of paper from a paper mill delivered to some central point, and for staff who travel around the organisation to take a few reams with them. The rest of the stationary buying could be left to individual staff, who know what they want and could claim receipts on petty cash or get the boss to buy things for them online with a company credit card.
Bottled ink is cheaper
One day I will get the hang of using bottled ink - I did if for a while and found it fiddly. There's also a post-industrial lack of information on the web about what type of ink is made by who in the UK at how much per litre, but playing on ebay gets a good deal in the end.