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7 Ink Hacks You Didn't Know You Needed

7 Ink Hacks You Didn't Know You Needed

Jan 30th 2020

7 Printer Ink Hacks You Didn't Know You Needed

Low ink. Two words that no one wants to see when they’re in the middle of printing something important. Thankfully, your printing doesn’t have to end there. By getting to know how your printer works, you can not only make a quick fix in the moment, but you can also make your printer more efficient in the long haul.

So whether you are trying to save some cash, or you’ve found yourself in an unfortunate pinch, keep reading to find out how these printer ink hacks can make your life easier.

1. Printer Settings Can Make all the Difference

You just bought a new printer, and the ink is running out fast. Not only can regularly replacing your ink cartridges become costly, but it can also make you question why you bought your printer in the first place.

While the efficiency of your printer is dependent on model and brand, your printer’s setting may also be unintentionally attacking your bank account.

One of the most critical factors in both ink use and efficiency is the printing resolution or dpi.

Dpi, or dots per inch, determines the amount of ink used when printing. A lower dpi correlates with a lower resolution but also decreased ink usage. When a quality printer can go up into the hundreds in terms of dpi, you might want to experiment if you are only printing text.

  • Extra Tip: Want to print a family photo? This hack can also work the other way around: increase the dpi, and you’ll increase the resolution to get a stunning photo fit for the scrapbook. Additionally, see our guide to the best ink cartridges for printing beautiful photos.

2. Out of Black Ink? Time to Get Creative

Everyone knows that black ink is vital to almost any project, which is why it often is the largest ink cartridge that you’ll purchase. Regardless, it still can be the first cartridge to fall. Instead of resorting to printing your document in red ink, consider printing with dark blue or dark gray ink. Not only will you reserve what you have left of your black ink, but you’ll also still have a product that is suitable to show to your coworkers.

3. Save Color, Switch to Grayscale

For many, one of the most mind-boggling aspects of printing is when your printer won’t print because you’re out of magenta. While you know that you need to print only in black and white, your printer, unfortunately, doesn’t. So, before you go running to the store, try changing your printer’s preferences to grayscale or black and white. While not ideal for color-rich images, this hack will work in a quick pinch for simple projects.

  • Extra Tip: For future printing, consider adjusting your settings to grayscale more often, especially if you find yourself printing standard, text-only pages.

4. If All Else Fails, Give it a Shake

When fiddling with your color settings isn’t doing the trick, you might need to open your printer and get a closer look. Sometimes all your ink cartridge needs to get back on track is a shake to either remove a clog or get that extra ink off the sides.

5. Consider Changing Fonts

You may be surprised to find out that the typeface you choose can make all of the difference - because when it comes to ink usage, not all fonts are created equal.

Are you printing out a 20-page document? You might want to swap out your Arial font for either Times New Roman or even Century Gothic. Both fonts are readable and are very ink-efficient.

There are plenty of fonts out there to choose from, and if you’re serious about printing and print often, a simple change in font can help you start saving money in a matter of seconds.

6. Learn How to Handle Your Ink Cartridges Properly

You’re moving cross country with your printer in tow. The last thing you want is to accidentally damage your printer ink, or printer, by letting it heat up in the car.

So, whether you're making a big move or you want your ink cartridges to last longer, you probably want to look into your printer’s specific handling instructions. For example, HP recommends that you make sure that you turn off your printer after printing to ensure that your ink cartridges don’t dry out.

7. Paper: Cheaper Isn’t Always Better

Paper comes in all weights and sizes, and not every type of paper is suited for your printer. Before purchasing paper for your computer, check your printer first to see what kind of paper it can handle. By taking these steps and choosing quality over quantity, you’ll see fewer paper jams and less wasted ink.

Make Your Printer Work for You

If your printer seems perpetually asleep, or it keeps running out of ink, you might need to get a little creative or purchase quality ink cartridges. Mix and match these tips to find the combination that not only makes your printer faster and more efficient, but also more cost-effective in the long run. Additionally, see our ink hacks with our guide on how to tell if an ink cartridge is defective.


Tech Terms. DPI Definition.

Chron. How to Configure a Color Printer to Default to Black & White.

BBC. Which typefaces use the least ink?

HP. HP Inkjet Supplies - Storing and Handling Ink Cartridges.