PrinterProbably the most annoying thing about owning a printer has to be refilling the ink cartridges. They can be expensive and messy, and as they get lower on ink, your photos and documents don’t look as good. Here are five ways to make your printer ink last longer and keep whatever you’re printing looking its best.

1. Change Your Font

In 2014, a teenager in Pittsburgh pointed out that the U.S. government could save almost a quarter of a billion dollars on printing by switching from Times New Roman to Garamond. He ended up being wrong because Garamond has a special point size, but the general idea was correct. The default font for most word processors is Arial, and if you switch to Times New Roman, you’ll use a lot less ink. There’s even something called Ecofont, which takes just enough ink out of what you’re printing to save that ink and maintain its legibility.

2. Switch to Black and White

Remembering to switch what you’re printing to black and white, especially when it’s something you really don’t need to look its best, can cut back on your colour ink usage.

3. Only Print What You Need

When you select a printer-friendly version of something online, it usually takes out ads and images, so all you’re printing is the text you want. But if a site you’re printing from doesn’t have that option, you can download a few programs to help. Programs like Instapaper, Clean Print and Print Friendly will strip pages down to just the text for you.

4. Get a Better Printer

Although laser printers are king when it comes to how much ink they use, inkjet printers are catching up. If you find that your aging printer is really burning through ink, it might be time to upgrade to a machine that is more ink-efficient. Pay attention to the specs on your prospective new purchase, what the cost per page is, and how much the ink cartridge refills cost.

5. Default to Draft Mode

Unless you’re printing something like invitations or a photo for framing, chances are you can get by using draft mode. It’ll still be legible, but you’ll end up using less ink and it will print faster.

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