Tips for reducing web printing waste

Posted By : Ken Colburn of Data Doctors on August 28, 2008

Question

How do I print from websites without all of the junk and advertising that wastes so much ink?

- Clarence

Answer

This question was answered on August 28, 2008. Much of the information contained herein may have changed since posting.


With the cost of ink being one of the most expensive consumables for most computer users, limiting what prints when you print something from the Internet is a good way to save a lot of ink.

One of the easiest ways to limit what prints is to look for an option on the page to create a “printer friendly” version of the page This option is very common on news and reference sites, but still often includes ads in the printer friendly version.

Whether there is an option for a printer friendly page or not, the next step is to select what you want to print (click and drag your mouse over the desired text) and tell your printer to only print what was selected The “Selection” or “Selected” option will only appear in the Print dialog window (File, Print) if you highlight the text before clicking on the Print option.

Although this method will allow you to avoid printing ad banners and unneeded footer information, it isn’t going to completely evade unwanted content in your print jobs.

In many cases, you might still get stuck with graphical images that are dispersed within the content, which is done on purpose by many commercial sites.

If you want to totally control what prints, copy the selected text (Ctrl-C) and paste it into a Word document using the “Paste Special” option This will allow you to select the unformatted text option for Pasting, which will only insert the text from your desired web page into the document (albeit in an unformatted manner).

If the information is important for the future, you can also save it to a file on your computer for easy access to the information at a later date This is also a great way to reduce what could have been 3 or 4 pages worth of printing into a page or two (you can control the size of the text in this scenario as well).

Another option is to install the Lexmark Toolbar (search “toolbar” at www.lexmark.com) which will work with any printer One of the options in the Lexmark Toolbar is to print in black or text-only, which will help you save ink (and could be a much easier option for younger computer users).

One of the latest entries into the software solution arena is a free download called GreenPrint (www.printgreener.com) Once you install the free program, it automatically analyzes each page of every document sent to the printer and looks for characteristics that are an indication of a wasted page (like the last page with just a URL, banner ad, logo, or legal jargon) to keep it from printing out.

GreenPrint also includes a handy and easy to use one-click PDF writer (which is great for anyone that wants to create a library of archival documents that can be viewed by any machine or any operating system) and a better than average print preview option that provides total control of what will print.

Anything that GreenPrint deems to be waste will appear as a red page that you simply double click to change to a page that will print (or vice versa)

Any or all of these options will save you money, time, ink, paper and aggravation, so pick the one(s) that work best for you and start saving some trees (and ink)!

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Posted by Ken Colburn of Data Doctors on August 28, 2008

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