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How to Save Ink While Printing and Make the Most Out of it

Printer ink cost a lot and it becomes uneconomical to purchase a new ink cartridge every time you run out of ink. Thus it is needful to save ink while printing to fit your printing budget. Life cycle of a cartridge is pretty short, thus refilling seems like a bad option to carry on with as the printing quality deteriorates after every refill. Let me show you how to save ink while printing any document, pictures, etc. from your printer.

Let us try saving printer ink that otherwise would have been wasted by being used up more than the required amount.

To Save ink while printing Text only

If you are only looking to print pages containing text alone then you can have a look at this section of the post. There are two ways you can save on ink for text.

    1. Fast/Economical mode
      This option is given in default printing properties when you try to print something. It is not recommended if you want to print picture on photo paper as the ink starts fading away over the time. Specially when a refill has been done of the ink cartridge or cheap knock-off cartridges are being used. You can reach the Printing Preferences menu by pressing  Shift+Alt+P keys simultaneously on the keyboard.

      Economical Printing mode to save ink while printing


  1. Change fonts to save Ink
    Try ink saving  fonts instead of the traditional ones like Arial, Times New Roman can save upto 35% ink. It has been proven in a research and has been verified by power ink jet printer user like me. Below is the Table of fonts you can use to save ink – with sample.

    Ink Saving fonts

    Times Roman font
    Calibiri font
    Verdana font in ink saving fonts
    Arial Font for saving printing ink
    Trebuchet MS font
    Tahoma Font
    Franklink Gothic Medium font for reducing printer ink usage
    Century Gothic ink saving font
    Eco Sans Font

    You can get the above fonts from Dafonts and Fontsquirrel.

    Ran out of black ink ? Print black text without black ink using Grey-scale with the help of your colour ink cartridges

    Sometimes when you are in urgent need of printing something out of the blue from the printer that has dust gathering on it.There is a high possibility of you ink cartridges getting dried up or you forgetting to get the refilled or replaced when the last time the ink cartridge became empty. No need to worry as your colour cartridges can take care of your black and white printing needs to a great extent in emergencies.

    If are you using Windows 7 and above then you will have to select to print using Printing Preferences (you can open it by pressing Ctrl + Shift + P keys on the keyboard as well)

    Then go to printer preferences of your connected printer. Go to Features tab. Find the Colour Options heading. Under that you will find option to Print in Greyscale, tick that option.

    Printing black without black ink using grey scale


    In case your black ink cartridge is nearly empty as well and is not dispersing ink uniformly thus resulting in partial printing of black colour parts of  printing pieces then there is a way to remedy that as well. Head over to Advanced tab of the Printing preferences. Tick Enable Maximum DPI settings. You are done.

    Set Maximum DPI while printing using greyscale to print without ink

    It is pretty useful in printing black text in the absence of black ink. This works well for black and white pictures too.


    Secret Tip Don’t stop printing even if you get ink cartridge empty notification. Chances are that about 20-25% of ink is still left and as a matter of fact, it is just a programming design by manufactures to keep their sales of ink cartridges high. However, don’t rely on it for fulfilling printing needs at the last moment when you have knowledge about its emptying up. Keep a spare of the cartridge in that case.


    Now you know to save ink by optimizing the text part. Lets move on to optimizing images.

    Save ink while printing Pictures

    Note – Printer prints a little lighter in tone than the digital image you see, specially with refills and third party old cartridges. So keep in mind while balancing brightness and contrast of the images.

    • Dealing with Backgrounds of the Pictures

    a. Reducing Dark Backgrounds

    Often the image’s background uses more ink than the actual picture. For dealing with that, you can increase the brightness and decrease the  level of contrast of the background. It can be done  that by using Quick Selection and Magic Wand tools of Adobe Photoshop and or any similar software. Then finding the right balance in the levels of brightness and lowering the contrast, leaning more towards the brightness levels. (below)I took a picture with dark background and eliminated background’s darkness to acceptable limits.

    Reducing Dark background darkness for saving printer's ink

    Click to Zoom


    b. Eliminating unnecessary background and its elements

    Removing or replacing unnecessary backgrounds will not only make your pictures look better but will also save ink. Eliminating non-essential background elements can save a considerable amount of ink. Below is the image of before and after replacing background. The choice of background might not be the best but it is for the purpose of showing you an example.

    Background elimination of a picture to help reduce usage of printer ink



    • Changing the colour tone of the image to reduce printer ink usage

      Like I have showed you earlier in dealing with dark backgrounds by increasing the brightness and decreasing contrast of the picture. We are doing this because the darker the image is, more black colour will be required so brightening up will decrease the usage of colours beside black colour. If the image is darker in general tone, then it can fixed by finding the right balance of the contrast and brightness(higher brightness) of the whole picture. Again note what I already said above that printer prints the images on a slightly lighter tone than the actual image so keep that in mind while playing with Contrast-Brightness level ratio.

      Increasing brightness of a picture to print better



    Print it easy

    These are ways I have been using to save ink while printing for years now. If you know any more method then feel free to share through comment box below, will add that in the post.

About Amaan Rizwan

I'm a blogger who is in love with Computer hardware and software. Little shy but want to fly high in the sky. You can connect with me on Google Plus and Twitter @amaanthinks