Skip to main content

Make your ink and paper last longer with these 8 simple tips

hp printer ink saving tips printers
Image used with permission by copyright holder
There are few things as frustrating as running out of printer ink in the middle of a job. Buying new ink is about the last thing anyone wants to spend money on, but it’s also one of life’s apparent inevitabilities. Fortunately, there are things you can do to squeeze out as many prints as possible from each milliliter of ink, as HP’s Chief Inkologist (yes, it’s his real job title), Thom Brown, recently shared with Digital Trends in the following tips – applicable for any printer, not just those from HP. Some of these may be old news to you, but many are likely novel and may save you time and money.

1. Try changing the font or reducing the font size of your document. This makes sense once you think about it, but most people probably have never considered that some fonts use more ink than others. Brown recommends using Century Gothic, Ecofont, or Times New Roman to keep your ink cartridges fuller, longer. Arial is a particularly bad one, apparently.

2. Change your settings to reduce paper and ink usage. When possible, print double-sided documents and widen your margins to squeeze more text onto the page. This may not directly save ink, but saving paper is also important – especially for documents that may not be needed long-term, like memos and notes.

3. Use print preview. Have you ever printed a web page only to find you’ve wasted ink by printing the ads at the bottom of the page? Always open your document in print preview to ensure no pages are wasted.

4. Print only portions of a web page. If print preview does show lots of adds or other unwanted content, the free HP Smart Print app can help. It reduces paper and ink usage by removing headers, footers, and ads from web pages, leaving you with just the content you want to print. The app isn’t exclusive to HP printers.

5. Print in black and white. Wasting color ink on documents that don’t need it will only lead to headaches down the road. Ensure you only print in color when necessary by changing your default setting to print in black and white only. This will extend the life of your color ink cartridges.

6. For times when the best quality is not needed, print in draft mode. Not only does this use less ink than the “normal” setting, it also prints faster. The results won’t be as high quality, with slightly lighter text, but there are many applications where this is a good tradeoff.

7. Replace ink cartridges only when they are empty. Your printer will alert you when ink is running low, but Brown cautions that this is just a warning; there’s no need to panic (yet). Your printer may continue working normally for some time to come, so keep using those cartridges until they are completely empty.

8. Use “N-up” printing in the printer driver. If you don’t need to print every page on individual pieces of paper, and if you don’t mind potentially squinting at small text, this option will allow you to print multiple pages on a single sheet of paper, saving both ink and paper.

HP is in the business of selling printers and ink — lots and lots of ink. So it may come as a bit of surprise that the company wants to make sure customers are getting the most mileage out of their cartridges, but we certainly appreciate it. Printer companies have been increasingly moving toward more consumer-friendly ink policies in recent years, including the production of tank-based (rather than cartridge-based) printers, but knowing how to push your current printer to its limits is important no matter what type of printer you have.

Editors' Recommendations

Daven Mathies
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Daven is a contributing writer to the photography section. He has been with Digital Trends since 2016 and has been writing…
Hurry! This iMac is at its cheapest ever price right now
Apple iMac 24 inch placed on a desk in a sunny context.

One of the best desktop computer deals around today is a seriously great offer. Over at Best Buy, you can buy the iMac 24-inch M1 All-in-One with a Retina 4.5K screen for just $800. That’s a $450 reduction off its regular price of $1,250 which is remarkable value for an all-in-one desktop computer, especially a Mac-based one. If you’re looking for a stylish addition to your living space which is also a highly competent computer, this is your chance to do so for less. Here’s what it has to offer.

Why you should buy the iMac 24-inch M1
Apple makes some of the best all-in-one computers even though you might automatically think of its laptop range instead. The iMac 24-inch M1 is a truly gorgeous all-in-one desktop. It might be three years old now but thanks to how revolutionary the M1 chip was at the time, its performance is still exceptional. Apple wanted to demonstrate why developing its own silicon worked so well compared to using Intel processors, and it did so brilliantly here.

Read more
Our favorite Logitech wireless mouse is 14% off right now
Logitech MX Master 2S Wireless Mouse.

One of the best wireless mice around -- the Logitech MX Master 2S is currently on sale at Amazon. That means instead of paying $70, you pay just $60. Working out as a 14% discount, this is a good time to upgrade to a superior mouse for less. It’s sure to delight you and make you more productive too. If you’re keen to learn more, take a look below at what we have to say about it or you can simply hit the buy button right now to snap it up before the price returns to normal.

Why you should buy the Logitech MX Master 2S
With the newest model of the Logitech MX Master 3S topping our look at the best wireless mice, you know you’re in good hands with the Logitech MX Master 2S. Or should we say the mouse is in good hands, aka yours? The Logitech MX Master 2S is designed to perfectly fit to your hand. It has a hand-sculpted shape which supports your hand and wrist in a comfortable and natural position at all times. That means the buttons and wheels are also well-positioned so you can easily enjoy fine-motion control along with a fluid experience as you move around the screen.

Read more
HP sale: Up to 68% off laptops, printers, monitors, and more
Photo of an HP Envy 16 laptop.

HP has a huge sale going on now with awesome laptop deals, monitor deals, and many other deep discounts. If you’re keen to buy a new device for less, this is your chance to do so. There are over 50 different items in the HP sale from high-end laptops to mice, so the best thing you can do is tap the button below and see for yourself what’s out there. Alternatively, if you want to see what we recommend, keep reading while we take you through our choices.

What to shop for in the HP sale
The biggest discount in the HP sale is being able to buy the for $989 reduced from $3,098. Perfectly suited for business users, you get an Intel Core i7-1255U processor, a huge 32GB of memory, and 512GB of SSD storage. A 14-inch WUXGA screen with 100% sRGB, 400 nits of brightness, and 1920 x 1200 looks great, while there are extensive security provisions courtesy of HP Wolf Pro Security Edition. From one of the best laptop brands, you can’t go wrong.

Read more