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SMB Green Printing Tips

Printing green means printing less. As it turns out, there are ways to do that without simply turning off the printer.

Lamont Wood

March 11, 2011

2 Min Read

Printing green means printing less. As it turns out, there are ways to do that without simply turning off the printer.According to a recent Xerox blog, itself talking about a recent IDC presentation, 61 percent of office employees agree that environmental considerations are important when deciding whether to print something, but only 16 percent avoid printing for environmental reasons.

For those willing to act on their beliefs, Xerox provided some tips, not all of which are blindingly obvious.

The least obvious is so-called N-up printing, where you print multiple pages on one sheet, the image of each page appropriately reduced in size. An obvious use would be for those PowerPoint slides that you want to hand out to the audience, but they don't need to be page-sized. PowerPoint has a way to automatically print multiple, scaled-down slides per page. Invoke the Print command, and on the options page find Print What and select Handouts, and then the number per page.

Microsoft Word will do something similar: invoke Print and then in the Pages Per Sheet box select something other than 1. It will go to 16. The results are interesting but probably rarely useful.

Meanwhile, if your printer has a security feature whereby it only prints after the recipient inputs a code, use it. There will be people who don't bother to claim their printouts, but that's fine since they were never printed.

Do away with banner sheets between print jobs, and other unneeded cover sheets.

When in doubt, scan the document and transmit it electronically.

Print on both sides of the sheet. Alas, this probably means you'll end up buying thicker paper.

Track your paper consumption and set up budgets.

Another thing I'd suggest (especially if you're using low-end office printers) is to leave a nickel by the machine every time you print a black-and-white page, and a quarter every time you print a page with color. The cost of refill ink/toner (and the paper itself, and other amortized costs) is a prime reason for going green.

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