September 2014 Printers & Printing
FIRST THOUGHTS • Because of the different makes & models available, we will need to talk in generalities in some respects • Our emphasis remains on Inkjet printers as these are of most interest to members. • Laser printers have improved in price in recent years so we shall take a closer look this time around
WHERE TO START? • Just as when buying a computer you should think about what you want to print • A good idea to write down your needs and, at least, refine your criteria • The following are things to think about
INKJET OR LASER? Technology • INKJET: Deposits drops of ink from cartridges onto the printing material [put like this for a reason] in the required pattern • LASER: Creates the required pattern on the printing material in the form of an electrostatic charge. Powder [Toner] is picked up from a cartridge by the charge and is then heat fused onto the material
INKJET OR LASER? Basics • IF all other things are equal: • A Laser will produce sharper TEXT than an Inkjet • An Inkjet will produce better PICTURES than a Laser • An Inkjet will – normally – have multiple print quality modes; typically Draft, Normal & Best • A Laser usually has a single mode. This may be the equivalent of Inkjet “Normal’ or Inkjet “Best”
PRINTING QUALITY: Resolution • Just like your computer screen, Printers can have different resolution capabilities. This is usually expressed as Dots Per Inch [DPI] but sometimes as Pixels Per Inch [PPI]. • Higher numbers are better – 1200 x 1200 is better than 600 x 600 • May see different numbers for monochrome and colour; usually lower for colour - technology limits • Sometime just one number but stated as “Up To”. This normally means lower for colour.
PRINTING QUALITY: Other • Print mode: By definition, different qualities result • Material : Ink being applied “wet”, there is a degree of absorption in “paper” materials.; in some types more than others. This produces less “crisp” edges to text. Toner is applied “dry” – the reason that Lasers print text better. • Material : Correct type. Some are Inkjet only, some Laser only, some “multi-purpose” • Brightness: A “bright” paper looks better; especially for colour photographs
PRINTING QUALITY: Other  • PHOTOGRAPHY: • Inkjets can use “Photo Paper” that has the traditional look and feel of a glossy photograph • Photo Paper can not be used in a Laser due to the fusing [heat] cycle. There are “glossy” papers available for Lasers but the general opinion is that they are not the same quality • For serious photographic printing, Inkjet appears to be the only way
PRINTING QUALITY: Other  • ORIGINAL EQUIPMENT MANUFACTURER [OEM] OR REFILLED/THIRD-PARTY • Most printer manufacturers sell their own paper[s] and all sell their own ink or toner cartridges • These are designed to give best results when used together • The eye CAN see a difference, especially with colour photographs on Photo Paper. This may be critical to the keen photographer • Personal choice between quality and cost
PRINTING QUALITY: Other  • When the printer is installed, a “colour profile” setting is also installed – sometimes more than one • This is designed – in theory – to make the printed colours the same as the screen colours • In practice, this depends on paper & ink quality • May need to try different profiles and/or adjust the picture – usually for brightness. • Using profiles can be very complex & needs expert knowledge
CONNECTING OPTIONS: • WIRED: The printer is directly connected to the computer by a USB cable. It is basically dedicated to that computer. It would be unusual to find a printer without this connection. • WIRED : The printer is connected to a ROUTER that has a USB connector – not all routers do! Sharing the printer with other computers is possible
CONNECTING OPTIONS: Cont. • WIRELESS: The printer is connected wirelessly to a computer with wireless capability. Sharing the printer with other computers is possible • NETWORKED: Some Printers are advertised as NETWORK READY. They can be installed as above but are designed to connect through a WIRELESS ROUTER
CONNECTING OPTIONS: Cont. • NETWORKED [Cont.]: Any computer that can access the Router can use the printer. • The advantage is that “sharing” need not be set up and the “main” computer need not be switched on– or even present! • It is unclear if a “network ready” printer needs to be installed on each computer. The Internet suggests yes, but the club’s printer installed itself on a second computer automatically. May be make/model dependent
INSTALLATION. • INSTALLING: Installing a printer is NOT one of the things where you can charge ahead and check the manual later if there are problems! • READ THE INSTRUCTIONS AND FOLLOW THEM EXACTLY – ESPECIALLY WHEN TO POWER ON AND CONNECT CABLES • May get an installation CD or may be on-line install – or your option as to which
TYPICAL FEATURE CHOICES : • COLOUR: Unlikely to find a monochrome or basic colour Inkjet anymore. Monochrome Lasers are common. • NUMBER OF CARTRIDGES [INKJET]: All will have a Black cartridge. Colour may be a single tri-colour cartridge or individual colour cartridges. In the latter case, there will be a minimum of 3 and sometimes up to 10. The tri-colour cartridge can be wasteful as must be replaced when one colour runs out
TYPICAL FEATURE CHOICES : • SPEED: Two aspects: Pages Per Minute [PPM] and time for first page. Both are usually different for Black and Colour. Numbers are relative; based on typical pages. Likely only important if larger volumes are wanted • DUPLEX [DOUBLE SIDED] PRINTING: This can save on paper costs. Most printers can do this manually but some can do it automatically; useful with higher volumes
TYPICAL FEATURE CHOICES : • MULTI-FUNCTIONALITY: Usually described as 3 in 1 or 4 in 1: • Print, Copy & Scan [3 in 1] • Print, Copy, Scan & Fax [4 in 1] • Many people find a use for Copy and Scan is becoming more commonly used • Fax need a wired connection to a phone jack and is decreasing in usage generally
LESS COMMON FEATURES • MULTIPLE PAPER TRAYS: Allows automatic selection of different paper sizes • LARGE FORMAT: prints on larger paper sizes – up to 13” x 17” [varies by make] • NON-PAPER PRINTING: Most commonly for Transfers [uses paper feed] or CD/DVD’s [special feed]. Primarily Inkjet as Laser heat cycle would destroy material [and printer]. Some special transfers for Laser but $$$$$$. Laser can print transparencies [need heat]
BUDGET • BASIC RULE: • Laser – “Higher” Purchase Cost, “Lower” Operating Cost • Inkjet – “Lower” Purchase Cost, “Higher” Operating Cost • The significance of Operating Cost [Ink/Toner - assuming paper costs are basically the same] depends on volume of use. How does this work?
CARTRIDGE CAPACITY: NOTES • Cartridges supplied with the Printer are “Starter” – very reduced quantities so not relevant • OEM cartridges are not filled to capacity • Refills will give higher numbers • “Out of Ink” warnings are usually premature – and may not happen with refilled cartridges anyway
CARTRIDGE CAPACITY: EXAMPLES • The following are OEM List Prices and Yields are estimations. Prices [in order] $17, $23, $32, $34
CARTRIDGE CAPACITY: EXAMPLES • LASER • Black – 1200 pages per cartridge - $60 • Colour – 1000 pages per cartridge - $60 x 3 • Set of Toner cartridges = 4200 pages - $240 • INKJET WITH XL CARTRIDGES to print the same 4200 pages needs 3 x Black + 10 x Tri-Colour - $440 • It is important to understand that these are comparisons – actual usage will depend on content printed • Different makes/cartridges will have different results; the above are Hewlett Packard
PURCHASE COST • There are nearly always deals on Printers • Deals are often on models due to be replaced BUT they may well have all the features you want • Prices vary wildly!!!!! • The following are examples; they do not represent all possibilities and are not necessarily “apples to apples”
BEST PRICES: On a given day • Mono Laser: $60 • Mono Laser 4 in 1: $200 • Colour Laser: $200 • Colour Laser 4 in 1: $320 • Colour Inkjet 3 in 1: $50 • Colour Inkjet 4 in 1: $80 • SHOP AROUND. On-Line research lets you see full specifications. In-store staff often lack knowledge of aspects like resolution
MATERIALS • There are many “packaged” materials available – plain & coloured paper, matt & glossy card, photo paper, pre-folded card, labels, DVD labels, transfers etc. • Different quantities of packaging often available • Correct type: Some are Inkjet only, some Laser only, some “multi-purpose” • Brightness: A “bright” paper looks better; especially for colour photographs
MATERIALS • Some materials can be used on both sides – most papers, card stock etc. • Other materials – photo paper, labels, transfers – can not & care is needed to feed correctly
MATERIALS: Size • The limiting factor is the maximum width that the printer can accept – mostly 8 ½” • Can, of course, be longer in the other dimension • Some programs [e.g. Word] can change the orientation – others [e.g. PowerPoint] can not
MATERIALS: Size • In most programs, size can be changed at printing time BUT better to do it within the work as may change appearance • Size is selected in different places in different programs – this is Word • In some cases size must be selected at print time
MATERIALS: Size Some built in print functions like envelopes and labels also guide as to how and where the item is to be fed plus orientation and “which side up” The “options” button will give a list of standard sizes and also permits a custom size
MATERIALS: Size Label printing does NOT permit orientation change; always “portrait”. Hence maximum width of printer applies The “options” button will give a list of standard sizes and also permits a custom size
USING YOUR PRINTER • DEFAULT PRINTER: Windows always sets a default printer. This is usually the last physical printer installed. See the Meeting Notes on our web site re Control Panel on how to change Defaults & understand Virtual Printers • DEFAULT SETTINGS: All printers have a number of options [e.g. print quality] as default values • All default values are used automatically UNLESS you specify otherwise at print time
USING YOUR PRINTER: Note • When using some programs – especially Office – default settings are, to an extent, duplicated. That is, they can be set up in two places
GETTING READY TO PRINT • Make sure the printer is switched on • Make sure you have enough “paper” • When using materials that do not occupy the full width of the printer: double check that the material is correctly positioned. • Failure to do this may spread ink/toner on the working parts of the printer. This can damage the printer and will certainly spoil printing for some number of copies!
GETTING READY TO PRINT • Click FILE>PRINT and you see something like this: • You see the default printer, the default settings & the places to change defaults • Wording may differ between makes and programs – e.g. Printer Properties or Preferences
PRINTER SELECTION • Note the drop down arrow • If the printer you want to use is not shown as the default, select [click] from the drop down list
PRINTER SETTINGS: Quality • Lasers normally only offer one print quality setting • Inkjets normally offer 3 print quality settings. Ink usage varies by as much as 60% across these settings - “draft” quality is enough in many cases - $$$$$$$
PRINTER SETTINGS: Materials • Correct material type selection [glossy or plain paper, card etc.] is critical to feeding properly. The feed mechanisms adjust according to the setting • Lasers are more sensitive to paper weight due to the heat process; especially in duplex printing. Paper weights are usually found on the packaging.
DUPLEX PRINTING • Duplex – two sided printing – is both a presentation option and a money saver • Some printers can handle this automatically. • Those that do not can usually be set for manual duplexing - print one side then manual re-feeding. Care as to paper orientation • Care re “flip side”. How do you want to turn the pages? Match with Portrait/Landscape
QUICK PRINT ICON • The “Quick Print” icon will always use the default settings and will always print one copy only
OTHER MONEY SAVERS • Print only what you need • Choose from: • Specific page or pages • Highlighted selection • Options will vary depending on which program you are using
DO I NEED TO UNINSTALL MY OLD PRINTER? • This is not essential. If the new one is set as the default then the old one is ignored • May want to just to keep things tidy • May have an uninstall built in – check the All Programs Menu - or may need to download from manufacturer • Often will not work properly from Control Panel>Programs & Features.
RE-INSTALLING • There may be a time when you have to re-install your printer • It is essential to uninstall first. It must be done as described in the previous slide. • An improper uninstall will usually prevent the re-install • MUST follow the proper install procedure again – so keep the instructions!