How To Reduce Print Costs – A Definitive Guide

Let’s face it, who wouldn’t want to reduce their print costs? Once you’ve bought your printer, photocopier or multi-function device there are always the ongoing costs associated with actually doing the printing. Did you know that measure for measure, printer ink costs more than vintage champagne – a statistic Which? published some 10 years ago.

How To Reduce Print Costs - A Guide

Image copyright Which?

In this guide we list the most important steps on how to reduce print costs and ultimately save your company money:

Reducing Print Costs

1 – Print less

It sounds obvious doesn’t it, but do you really need to print at all? There are lots of other ways to handle your documents. First up, email – how many times have you seen something in an email signature asking you not to print this email? If you really need to print it, make sure it’s black and white and preferably in draft mode. Black and white ink is something like 10 times cheaper than colour ink. Secondly – Word documents, presentations and spreadsheets. Why print them? Why not just secure them and email them on to the relevant recipients? An even better option would be to use DocuWare Cloud – Cloud based EDM software that allows you to easily share documents and emails at the click of a button – no need to print, no duplication of storage and available as a cloud version at a really low monthly cost.


2 – Control access to your printers and copiers

Who has access to your printers and your photocopiers? Can anyone print to any device in any size and in both colour and black and white? If the answer to this is either “Yes” or “Don’t Know” then its time to gain control of your devices. This can be achieved by installing some print management software, often referred to as find me printing. In simple terms this software stops anyone printing to any printer and gives the administrator a host of options. These would include:

  • User control to each device to only allow certain users access to certain devices.
  • Access control via either pin numbers of a security pass
  • Quota controls to allow only a certain number of prints per week / month etc
  • Colour and black and white control give control of who prints what and in what format

3 – Shake up your toners

When your toners are coming to the end of their life, your printers and copiers will give you some sort of warning both at your computer and on their own control panel. At this point it does no harm to carefully rock your toner cartridges from side to side in order to re-distribute the toner throughout the cartridge. This can also be the solution to streaking print too.

4 – Reduce your document size, print duplex and print multiple pages per sheet

Does your document really need to be printed in A3? Could you fit your two pages onto one side of A4 by adjusting the page setup in Word to landscape and 2 pages per sheet? Does your printer have a duplex function? If so using this will cut your paper costs in half but will more than likely slow your printing down somewhat.

2 pages per sheet

5 – Understand your cost per page

This piece of advice is probably best considered for when you purchase your next muli-function printer. If you seek out a reputable supplier they should be happy to provide you with accurate costings for cost per page in black and white and colour.

6 – Getting the right printer in the first place

Once again, some advice ahead of buying your next multi-function printer. If you buy the wrong printer, you are likely find your costs are higher than you might have expected. Buying the cheapest printer certainly isn’t a recipe for cheap printing, it just means you get an initially lower hardware bill. It is most important to consider The Total Cost of Ownership (TCO).

TCO = Initial Printer Cost + (annual consumables cost) x (Lifetime of the Printer)

It’s often cheaper to go for a more expensive printer with a lower cost per page, especially if you’re printing large volumes.

7 – Match the quality of the paper to the quality and importance of the document

Thicker, better quality paper costs more than thinner paper. Paper comes in a variety of grades and usually starts at 60gsm. This should be good enough for most print jobs, so why print on anything more expensive unless the quality of presentation really matters.

8 – Use print preview

Print preview is a really simple function and should be used before any document is printed – it will almost certainly help you reduce print costs. What’s on your screen doesn’t always represent what will come out of the printer, but print preview gives a true representation of what will be printed. If it doesn’t look right in print preview then its time to change some settings. How many times have you printed something only to find it wasn’t what you were expecting or didn’t fit on the page properly?

9 – Remove personal printers

Once upon a time it was quite the norm to have one printer per person. Networks weren’t so common and a personal printer probably connected by a USB cable or a parallel/serial cable was the only option. These days, there is no sense in this at all even if there are concerns around security. Its time to ditch all personal printers and make use of networks and make use of workgroup multi-function printers. Removing hardware will almost certainly help you reduce print costs – upfront costs drop as do ongoing running costs – this tip is well worth taking seriously.

10 – Take a look at your fonts

It might sound unlikely, but certain fonts use more ink than others. Times New Roman for example uses less ink than more fashionable fonts such as Arial and Verdana. One other simple font based tip is to reduce the size. Dropping your font size a few points means more text on the page, so less paper used and less ink too.