Printing can be as simple as clicking the ‘print’ button and collecting your document(s) from the output tray. However, there are a number of printer settings that allow you to customize each document, which opens the door to a number of creative and cost-effective options.
You can access these settings by selecting Properties on the Print menu that comes up when you go to print a document. In Windows, you can also go to Devices and Printers in the Start Menu, then right-click on the printer you are using and select Printing Preferences.
The actual Print window that initially pops up will give you the option to select how many copies of the original you want to print, single or double-sided printing and the page range you want printed (i.e. printing pages 2-6 of a 10-page document).
The settings in Properties or Printing Preferences are a bit more complex.
Here is a list of the settings found here (on all tabs) and what they do:
- Finishing – this is only applicable for printers with finishing options. Here you can choose what finishing options to implement once the document(s) has printed. Standard finishing options include stapling, folding and hole-punching.
- Paper Size – this is where you can choose to print on standard A4 paper, envelopes, cards, or any other paper size compatible with your machine.
- Paper Source – this allows you to choose which tray the paper is pulled from. This feature is only relevant for printers that use multiple trays to hold different types of paper.
- Pages Per Sheet – this gives you the option of condensing two or more original documents onto one single sheet by reducing the font/image size.
- Paper Type – this lets you choose to print on labels, transparencies, glossy paper, recycled paper and whatever other media types are supported by your machine.
- Orientation – this will change the standard portrait layout to landscape (tall vs. wide), or vice versa.
- Print Quality – this is where you can customize the quality resolution that is being produced, including print modes such as “Draft” that can reduce the amount of ink or toner used for each document.
- Print Color – this is only applicable for printers that can print in color. Here you will select if you want a document printed in color or black-and-white (grayscale).
Though it is not necessary to change these settings when you print, you may find that your documents will have a higher quality when they are customized to fit their purpose. You will also have the option of reducing the resolution for less-important documents, ultimately preserving ink/toner and saving money.
Printing technology has come a long way over the years… so take advantage of the options you are given!