What's New in Technology for September, 2010

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Technology: Getting Your Money's Worth Out of Ink Cartridges

Have you ever loaded a new cartridge on your inkjet printer only to have the low ink indicator come on within days? Or perhaps your color inkjet printer appears to go through new cartridges at an alarming rate even when you aren't printing many documents in color. With complete cartridge sets costing $40 or more, these common problems can eat into your office supply budget. Here are a few tips to get the most out of those costly cartridges.

  1. Avoid storing cartridges where they'll be subject to extreme temperatures. The contents of ink cartridges can expand and/or contract in chilly (40 degrees Fahrenheit or less) and in hot weather (90 degrees Fahrenheit plus). This can change the shape of the cartridge sufficiently so that it won't fit easily into the printer. For the same reason, you should avoid leaving boxes of cartridges in your vehicle during extreme temperatures.
  2. If you've purchased remanufactured cartridges to save money, you might see low readings very soon after loading. This could be because your equipment is receiving empty messages based on the ink cartridge's prior use. Your remedy depends on the age of your printer and the features it offers. Some printers will allow you to indicate whether the cartridge is new or used. If it does, chose used and your problem should be solved. If this option isn't available or doesn't work, you might have to take the remanufactured cartridge out after turning the printer off, turn the printer back on and try installing the cartridge again. Some older, basic printers may not allow you to reset the usage manually.
  3. Make use of the options your printer offers to minimize the amount of ink used on your documents. Before hitting the print key, choose your setup options. Here you can decide to print documents that don't have to be top quality in draft form, which uses much less ink. The draft printing option is also very speedy.
  4. If you've ever printed a web-located image and noticed your printer layering a lot of colored and black ink to provide the best resolution possible, you can avoid wasting ink like this in future. Your printer almost certainly will have advanced options that allow you to print color images in grayscale and nix all the ink-thirsty procedures that make color printing look so sharp. Again, there will be times you want a top-quality appearance, but if you are printing driving directions or a map for your employees, you probably don't need something of this caliber.

If you and your staff are using printers often during the day, make sure they know how to use ink-saving options to maximize the life of the printer's ink cartridges. If it makes sense, change the default setting on your office computers to the cost-saving options and have your employees change the setting only when printing documents for clients or business associates.


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