How to Use Your Printer to Set Up an Almost Paperless Office

Gene Marks

It’s not a completely paperless world because your office still needs a printer. Sure, you’re scanning more documents and saving more stuff online, but, if you’re like me, there are times when you print out contracts and paperwork to review at your desk or on a plane. You print out drafts of proposals. You print out agreements that require signatures. You print out articles that you want to carry with you to read when you’re out of the office. So if we’re going to print, how can we minimize the cost in terms of both our wallets and the environment? Here’s how to use your printer to set up an almost paperless office:

Curb your ink consumption

Memorize these three words: Spranq eco sans. What the heck is that, you say? It’s a font. But not just any font. It’s a green, eco-friendly font, which is great if you run a green, eco-friendly kind of business or you just want to save money on ink. Each Spranq eco sans character contains thousands of tiny, microscopic holes. The human eye can’t see these holes without looking at what’s been printed under a microscope.

This font uses 30-40% less ink than most other fonts and when you think of what we spend on ink, that can add up to substantial savings over time. Spranq eco sans and other eco-friendly, ink-conserving fonts and software save paper, as well as ink. If you want the font you can download it for free here.

Print in “draft” mode and in black and white

Reset your office printer properties so that “draft” is the default setting and so the printer only uses black ink. When printing for your own use, draft printouts look fine. Of course, color printing is a nice option when you need it, but that doesn’t mean you have to use it all the time. The printer manufacturers want you to print in regular or color mode so that you buy more ink from them, but it’s not necessary. If you regularly need special presentations, take those jobs to Staples and have them do it. If you’d rather print high-quality stuff in-house, that’s your call, just know it will be an added expense to bear.

Stick to laser printers

Over the course of my business life I’ve owned, kicked, hit, and screamed at dozens of ink jet and laser printers. But, thinking about it, the laser printers have been screamed at a little less. They only print in black and white, which is fine by me. Laser printers also seem to have better print quality and their ink cartridges, though more expensive, seem to last longer. I’ve had an HP laser printer now for about two years and – I can’t believe I’m saying this about a printer-I actually like it. Ink jet printers are slower and I hate how some of them require color cartridges even when you’re only printing in black and white. And I’m very suspicious when they say they’re out of ink. Stick to the lasers for long term success.

Stop wasting good paper

Unless you’re doing high-end stuff all the time, buy the cheapest printer paper possible. It’s fine. You can also reuse paper when possible. Remember, every piece of paper has two sides. Use them both where you can!

Print less 

As I’ve already noted, sometimes you can’t avoid printing. But most of us can still make the effort to print less. Save more documents as PDFs and store them in a cloud storage program. Print less and save time. Evernote can make your life easier. Use online document storage services like Dropbox and OneDrive. Sign up for mobile document services like Adobe Document Cloud and DocuSign which let you sign documents electronically instead of having to print something out for a manual signature. Save invoices as PDFs and send them by email or from one of the many cloud-based accounting providers. Pay bills online instead of writing paper checks.

In other words, take what you’re already doing to print less and figure out a way to do more of it.


Next Steps:  Are you looking to expand and grow your small business but don’t have time to keep up with the latest trends and technology? We’ve got you covered with the weekly Small Biz Ahead newsletter. Sign up today and start receiving the weekly newsletter chock full of the latest tools and resources to help you run a successful business.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *