You don't stop paying for your printer when you get to the checkout: far from it. In fact, the total cost of your printing can only be calculated when you factor in things such as how much paper you use, how much ink, and what both will set you back every time you have to replenish your stocks.
Printing downloads for PCs
Each of the 10 software downloads we outline below will help to save you money by helping you to moderate the number of print jobs you generate, and reducing your use of printer consumables without affecting quality.
Adblock Plus removes web advertising before you print
In order to keep content free, lots of great websites carry advertising banners. Print a page from such a website and the chances are that a reasonable percentage of your printed page is taken up with such advertising. No problem with that, but you're paying for the privilege of reproducing someone else's promotion. Adblock Plus does exactly what it says on the tin. It helps you print only the information you want to print by blocking the advertising on the page, saving you valuable time and print resources.
Nuke Everything Enhanced
Nuke Everything Enhanced is a nifty free Firefox plugin that gives users full control over what they print from web pages, again helping to keep costs low. Nuke Everything Enhanced lets you remove pretty much remove anything you want to from a web page, including images, advertising and even selected text. The cost difference of printing a colour web page with images on compared to a draft mono print of just the text you want will really stack up over time.
Fineprint: Get manual control over prints to save cash
Fineprint is a Windows program with a lengthy free trial. It's designed to help you save on paper, ink and time. The tool can be used on any printer and gives you full control over exactly what you print. It does this by letting you print multiple pages on one page, you can also print on the back of the page and even choose to delete pages you don't want before you print them. It also converts colour to greyscale so you don't waste precious ink.
Eco print with Greenprint
Available for the Mac as well as Windows PC, Greenprint is a free download tool to help you print only what you need: saving both the environment and your wallet. The tool connects to your printer and is suitable for anyone, from home users to enterprises. It appears as a normal printer on your desktop but can send users estimated costs for print jobs before they are printed. That means you get to decide if it's really worth printing. It can also create if you decide not to print and comes built with diagnostic and analytic reports to give you a comprehensive print-management system.
Save the planet with holey fonts
Eco Font Vera Sans is a cunningly simple way to save cash. The tool embeds a print button on your toolbar and the developers claim it can save you up to 50 per cent of printer toner when you are printing black text. It does this by perforating fonts with miniscule holes that can't be seen when they are printed. Ingenious!
Save PC and Mac costs by sharing iPhone pics
Sharing pictures and prints with mobile connected devices is one of the best ways to set locked images of loved ones free from the tyranny of isolated hard drives. It's also a great way to print without wasting all that power that gets drained from using a Mac or PC when its plugged in -especially if you have a powerful system. Kodak's Pic Flick app is free from Apple's App Store and lets you wirelessly send your iPhone or BlackBerry images to a large selection of Kodak printers. All you have to do is shoot, share and print your shots off.
Bullzip: Don't print - PDF
Sometimes the best way to save money is by not printing anything at all. Printing stunning high res colour photo shots of your loved ones can never be replaced, of course, but pop along to Bullzip and there is a free PDF printer download. The tool converts all your documents in to PDFs so you can store them without the need to print. If you do decide to print converted PDFs, Bullzip gives you control over docs so you can print on both sides and add multiple pages to one page.
ProPoster: Unleash creative design without wasting print jobs
If you fancy yourself as a graphic designer but don't have the knowledge to create professional results or the cash to buy expensive software such as Photoshop, ProPoster is what you need. Not only is it a simple way to produce poster prints, but it will also save you from going wrong on complicated print output jobs. You can buy the full version for the comprehensive feature set or download a free trial. Either way, ProPoster converts nearly any image format or Office doc in to huge multiple posters so you don't waste time and money misprinting complicated jobs.
Print Manager Plus: Manage office printing to reduce costs
If you run an office and want to keep printer costs down, try Print Manager Plus. Choose the 30-day free trial and you can manage your printing environment at the office to make sure employees don't abuse printing at work. The download tool can monitor, restrict, display print quotas and report from any operating system. The tool lets the operator set up groups to manage exactly who prints, which means people think twice before absent-mindedly printing off multipage documents.
Print and prosper savings calculator: Calculate print running cost
Calculating running costs on a printer is a great way to make sure you don't become a heavy print user. Eco Font Vera Sans and Greenprint have built in calculators to give you an idea about how much it costs and Kodak has a similar online tool. Of course it's likely to tell you that Kodak has the cheapest printing costs – it's been independently verified as the cheapest outfit around thanks to cheap cartridges offering more print jobs, and advanced built-in print heads, which save money because you don't have to buy new print heads every time you replace the ink cartridges. But the Kodak printer savings calculator will give you an accurate view of how much money you are spending… and could save.