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Green Printing Tips

Double-sided printing is the standard print setting in most OTS-supported labs. This reduces your paper usage and makes your printer page allocation last longer.

Are there are other steps you can take to print less?

Fit More on a Page
Check options in the print dialog or print preview to reduce the size of your printing, including PowerPoint and PDF files. Change the options to print more than one slide or page to a sheet.

Also look for options like zoom, scale, or scale to fit. Preview the changes, ensuring the content is large enough to read. Changes to the print settings will not affect the formatting of the document itself.

Be Selective
Print only what you need from a document or Web page. You can select the content or text you need to print—click and drag to highlight the content—then, in the print window, look for the Print Range section and choose Selection.

Web pages may be configured to print the content of the page, ignoring menus and banners.Look at the print preview—File menu -> Print Preview—to see what prints by default. If the entire page is set to print, select your content before printing.

Choose Print Option
A Web page may have a print option, separate from choosing File - Print. Choose the print option if it is offered. The print version will be formatted better for print than the Web page and it may offer additional options for eliminating images and advertisements.

For an example, pull up directions on mapquest.com and click the Print link on the page.

Fit More on a Page
You may need to edit or comment on documents. You can do so without printing the document.

Both Microsoft Word and Adobe Acrobat provide tools for commenting. Microsoft Word's Review menu delivers advanced editing tools to track changes. Comments are saved with the document and are visible to others with access to the document.

Do I Need to Print?
Maybe 20 years from now people will be accustomed to online documents but we are not there yet so yes, you need to print papers, study guides, articles, and directions.

Still you can challenge your printing habits. Think about these alternatives to printing:

  • Use scrap paper and write it down. Scrap paper is readily available in the labs. Grab a sheet or two from the recycling bins near the printers.
  • Say "no" to printing PowerPoint presentations.

PowerPoint files can be full of graphics, colored backgrounds and very little text. Instead of printing, use it as a study opportunity to take notes—typing or writing—from the PowerPoint. By recording the information yourself, you become more familiar with the material. Who knew you could study and be green all at once?

  • Save, don't print.

Do you print because you worry you won't find something online again? Transfer your paper organization skills to the computer.

Develop a filing system on your UB network drive (M drive) or try Google Documents. These options are accessible from any Internet connection and they are backed up and protected by the provider.

You can still print the critical items or documents you need to use for a presentation. Just think about reducing how often you do it.

  • Read on screen.

Our brains and eyes have become accustomed to reading online. We scan for information, we do not peruse. When online, we want to find information quickly and, if we don't, we move on to another site or another page.

On screen we prefer short sentences and short paragraphs. If we see paragraphs with several lines we may be inclined to skip it. This habit can make it difficult to read documents on a screen.

If you want to read on screen, you need to make an effort and take the time to read, not scan. Some tips to do just that:

  • Turn off distractions like IM, e-mail, Facebook, Twitter, RSS feeds
  • Rest your eyes. While reading, make a habit of blinking. Every 10 minutes or so focus your eyes on something else. Look around the room or take a break.
  • If possible, change the font size to a size most comfortable for you.
  • Limit your view of the document. Large monitors are fairly standard, making it easy to fit a lot on the screen. However, viewing multiple pages of dense text at once can fatigue your eyes quicker.
  • Keep text at a comfortable height. While reading, keep your eyes looking straight ahead or slightly lowered, and your neck straight. Tilting your head up and straining your eyes in any direction but neutral will be uncomfortable after a few minutes.
  • Avoid high contrast. Avoid reading in a dark room with a bright monitor. Also, if  text or background color makes it more difficult to read, your eyes will tire easily. You can copy the text into another program like Word so you can control the text color and background.
  • Find what works for you. Try basic things like highlighting the paragraph you are reading or following the text along with your mouse. Anything that helps you keep your eyes on the text will make it easier to read the screen.

Realize it may take some time for you to get used to reading documents online.