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Cool Tools to Help Reduce Paper and Ink Use
By Kathryn Stofer   View more articles by this author
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January 27

So maybe you already know where all the “print double-sided” options are for each of your applications (isn't it a pain it's in a different place in each one)? Perhaps you've searched the user manual to no avail to configure the office printer, but have committed to doing the manual duplex thing, or making sure your printouts go on one-side-used paper. Still, it's a hassle, and sometimes you end up with your co-worker's pages and then you feel like you've just double-printed. If you're printing from home, you cringe every time you have to refill that ink cartridge (you know you can refill them, right, or at least recycle those cartridges and buy used?), thinking of how those precious pennies per page quickly become dollars?

Well, these two relatively new tools help you avoid the cross-office trek for green printing, or at least alleviate your guilt if you do have to double print, or keep those pennies in your pocket. A handy “ecofont” uses less toner by literally putting holes in your letters. You can't see it in 12-point sizes, but if you blow them up, the holes are there. It uses up to 20% less ink than fully filled letters, according to their web site. It's free, and it can save the office (or you) money. It works for both PC and Mac, with a range of word-processing programs. Set it up as your default, and you're automatically saving each time you print a letter, spreadsheet, or thesis.

Now, for those times when you swear that you diligently used print preview to make sure you weren't printing those last lines of webpages, yet they print anyway, there's a widget called GreenPrint. The site claims it can save you $100 per year in paper and ink, by analyzing your print jobs for you and eliminating those one- or two-line pages. After installing the widget, it pops up after you choose print and shows you exactly which pages it plans to remove (anything with fewer than five lines of text), but you can click on it if you do need to print it, or remove additional pages if you like. It can also remove text or images from individual pages, or create a pdf for a digital copy to eliminate printing altogether. Finally, it shows you real-time your monetary savings as you eliminate pages and tracks those numbers over time (great for the boss). This widget is offered free for home users (with ads), or for a small license for ad-free or institutional use.

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