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Is there a Way to Reduce Printing in the Office

 

This resource provides tips on how to reduce paper and printer ink usage in the office.


DOCUMENT OPTIONS FOR REDUCING PAPER USAGE


Reduce Margins

The standard default margins for documents developed in word processing software (i.e., Microsoft Word®) are 1” on all sides. Reducing the default margins to 0.75” or 0.5” can save a significant amount of paper. When printing on a standard sheet of 8 ½” x 11” piece of paper, there are 93.5 square inches available for typeface. With a 1” margin on all sides, the usable space is reduced to 58.5 square inches; reducing your available print area to 63%. If you change your margins to 0.75”, you increase the print area to 71%, and further reducing your margins to 0.5” increases the print area to 80% of the available space on the paper.

To change margin settings in Microsoft Word 2010:

  • • Select the Page Layout tab
  • • Click on the Margin drop down menu
  • • Select the margin size (the “Narrow” option will set the margins at 0.5”).


To change the margin defaults in Microsoft Word 2010:

  • • Select the Page Layout tab
  • • Click the Page Setup menu at the bottom of the tab
  • • In the dialog box, confirm or set the margin size
  • • Click the Default button at the bottom and click “Yes” in the pop-up confirmation box


Changing default settings will apply these settings to any document that uses the standard template. This document has 0.5” margins.

Reduce Line Spacing

In most word processing software, the line spacing is set to single spacing at 1.0 by default. If you change it to 0.95, you gain an extra line every 20 lines, and make your document 5% shorter.

To change line spacing settings in Microsoft Word 2010:

  • • Select the Home tab
  • • Click the Paragraph menu at the bottom of the tab
  • • Within the dialog box, select “Single” from the dropdown box for “Spacing”
  • • To the right of the dropdown box, type in “0.9” in the “At:” box

Reducing Paper and Printer Ink Usage

To change the line spacing defaults in Microsoft Word 2010:

  • • Select the Home tab
  • • Click the Paragraph menu at the bottom of the tab
  • • In the dialog box, confirm or set the line spacing settings
  • • Click the Default button at the bottom and click “Yes” in the pop-up confirmation box

This document has single line spacing set at 0.9.

Reduce Font Size and Change Font Type

The default font size in most word processing software is 12 point. You can change it 11.5 point to shrink
your document about 5%.
There also may be an opportunity to save paper and ink by using different fonts. An analysis performed
by the University of Wisconsin’s IT Department concluded that Century Gothic, Size 11 was the best for
saving ink and toner.iii Other ink saving fonts include:

  • • Times New Roman, Size 12
  • • Calibri, Size 11
  • • Verdana, Size 11

Of note, although Century Gothic has a thinner letter and used less ink, the letters themselves are wider
which may lead to more paper use thereby negating the ink savings due to increased paper purchases.

To change font settings in Microsoft Word 2010:

  • • Select the Home tab
  • • Select the font type and size in the drop down boxes


To change the font setting defaults in Microsoft Word 2010:

  • • Select the Home tab
  • • Click the Font menu at the bottom of the tab
  • • In the dialog box, confirm or set the font type and size
  • • Click the Default button at the bottom and click “Yes” in the pop-up confirmation box

This document has Verdana 10 point font.

Use Specialty Fonts

There are also special fonts designed to use less ink, by including very small, blank holes in the font
that are not visible when documents are printed with typical font sizes. These specialty fonts are
designed to look the same as commonly used fonts, such as Arial, Times New Roman and Verdana.
Although these fonts need to be purchased and installed for use on a particular computer, the vendors of
these fonts have calculators to help calculate your toner savings and the payback period for purchasing
the fonts. One vendor estimates a savings of 50% on ink and toner in typical printing environments.

PRINTING OPTIONS FOR REDUCING PAPER USAGE

The steps for using some of the features described below may vary between printers. Check with your IT support if you need assistance finding these settings when printing from your computer.
Duplexing/Double-sided Printing
Duplexing, or double-sided printing, is a common way that most employees can immediately decrease their paper usage. As noted above, enabling automatic duplexing on agency imaging equipment and computers is required by Executive Order 13514. Most federal agencies are working to implement these settings. If this default has not been set at your facility, you can set it for your own computer. Consider your printing requirements; very few documents need to be printed single-sided.

Print Preview

One of the most useful tools in your printer options is Print Preview. Viewing a document in Print Preview allows you to see what will be printed on each page - you can see if there are blank pages containing only headers or footers, or pages with content that otherwise does not need to be printed. You can choose to save paper by selecting just the pages you need to print.

Shrink to Fit/Shrink One Page

When printing an article or any information directly from the internet there may be blank space on a page, or unnecessarily large text. Most internet browsers have an option called "Shrink to Fit" in their Print

Reducing Paper and Printer Ink Usage

Case Study:

  • • We cut our margins to 0.5 inches,
  • • We reduced unnecessary spaces in the document,
  • • We changed the font size to 10 point font, and
  • • We reduced the line spacing from 1 to 0.9

Using conservative estimates, we have calculated that the FEC is saving our partners that print our resources 170,000 sheets of paper this year. To put that in context, saving 170,000 sheets of paper saves 62 40-foot trees. The energy saved was approximately the amount a typical Australian household uses in a year or the equivalent of two cars’ annual carbon dioxide emissions.
If reducing the margins and font sizes of the pages of a single website can save you all this, imagine what you can save in your home or office by simply implementing some or all of the best practices described in this document.
Preview dialog boxes which will often shrink the content down to fit on fewer pages. You can also choose a custom zoom level to fit even more on a single page.
Other software programs may have similar functions. For instance, Microsoft Word also has an option called "Shrink One Page" which will attempt to shrink the document by one page by reducing the size and spacing of the text.
Additionally, many printers allow the user to print more than 1 page per sheet. Experiment with software and printer options until you find a combination of settings that works for your printing needs.

Delete Excess Advertisements/Banners from Internet Articles

Many internet browsers have plugins which can help the user reduce unwanted printing. These plugins clean up the unwanted banners, and surrounding pictures or advertisements before printing a page. You may also be able to view how the page was created, and delete information block by block if it is unnecessary for your printing needs.
There may be restrictions at your facility on downloading or installing these plugins. In that case, you can cut and paste information from an internet browser into a blank document, delete the unwanted material, and print the document.

Utilize Specialty Printing Software

There is software which helps reduce the amount of ink used during printing. These programs use mathematical algorithms to reduce the number of pixels in a particular print job, while maintaining the readability of the item being printed. The developers of these software products have calculators to help determine the ink and cost savings in using their program.