Printers are a useful bit of technology and as computers have advanced and become everyday objects, so have the printers that we use with them. Nearly everyone owns or uses a printer regularly, and if you have one then you’ll know how expensive they can be to run, not just that but the problems and errors can sometimes drive you to insanity. So to help you with your printer we’ve put together a shortlist of some printer tips and tricks.
- You may or may not have heard of drivers depending on how much you know about computers. A driver is basically a piece of software that operates and controls a device that is connected to your computer, in this case, a printer. If you have lost the driver disk for your printer and need it to re-install the driver then don’t worry, most of the manufacturers have archives of their drivers on their websites, you will probably end up getting a newer version of the driver this way too.
- On some printers, you can print out a test page without even going through your computer print interface. It varies depending on the model, for example on the Photosmart C3180 if you hold down the ‘x’ button and the color button then a test page will print. Have a look through your printers manual and see if your printer has this feature.
- If you ever have any problems or errors when it comes to printing (in most cases everyone who owns a printer has had some sort of problem at some stage), then try rebooting both your printer and computer, check all the wires that connect your PC and printer and provide them with power are plugged in correctly and if all else fails then update/reinstall your driver.
- Ink can sometimes dry up and cause small blockages within the print-heads nozzles, this can lead to your prints being streaky and faded. If this happens to you, you can buy cleaning cartridges that will clean the print-heads within an inkjet printer, they will break up and remove any ink that has dried inside the nozzles within the print-head.
- Web sites, emails, and other documents often have ads and other clutter that you generally don’t want to print. PrintFriendly.com allows you to make any web page or document print friendly by getting rid of the unneeded clutter, saving you a lot of ink and money in the long run. There are also some installable alternatives, but personally I find using PrintFriendly.com the easiest/quickest way of getting rid of clutter.
- When buying a new printer, always check the ink cartridge prices before you buy it. It is common to buy a printer that is extremely cheap only to find out that the ink costs more than the printer did. It is this razor and blade style business model that a lot of the printer manufacturers use to make their money (they sell the main product for very little and make up the money in the consumables), it’s a clever business model, but it drives the customers insane.
- If you can buy remanufactured ink cartridges or can get them re-filled professionally then do so. Re-manufactured/re-filled/compatible cartridges do not void the warranty of the printer and as long as you check for reviews of the company you are buying from first then you should get similar or the same print quality for a lot less.
- If you have a laserjet printer, and your toner cartridge is beginning to show signs of running out (streaks and lighter print outs), take out your toner cartridge and shake it lightly, the same way you probably had when first inserting your cartridge. This should redistribute the toner dust that is left inside and will hopefully let you print out a few more pages before it totally runs out.
- If you are wanting to save money, then try changing to the print quality to ‘draft’ or ‘grey-scale’ in your printer settings to save ink and print double-sided (also called duplex printing) if your printer allows it, to save paper.
- If your ink cartridge dries up and as a result isn’t printing well then try dipping the print-head on the cartridge (this only applies to the cartridges that come with the print-head built-in) into some warm/hot water for a few seconds, this should break up the dried ink. After doing so dab the print-head on some tissue paper, if you get a solid line of ink then dry the cartridge off and place it back in the printer.
- If your printer tells you, you are running low on ink, but you still are getting good quality prints with no streaks or fading, then carry on printing as you will probably still get a few more pages from it. The estimation of how many pages your cartridge will print is just that, an estimation, more than often you will get more prints that it says.
If you know any other printer tips and tricks then share with us in the form of a comment below.