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2,001 Tips

Slim Down Your Print Jobs

Less complicated documents print faster. If speed is essential, use normal text and avoid bold, underline or italic text, which take longer to print. Using multiple typefaces also slows down the printing process.

Whatever You Craft, Print a Draft

Don't print out a new version every time you make a change. If you must print, set your printer to use the draft or low-resolution mode unless it's the final version. This method will speed your print jobs and save toner. Although low-resolution mode uses only half the toner, you'll get a very legible draft.

Make Every Day Earth Day

Many printers provide earth-friendly features, such as a sleep mode. You may be able to set your printer to go into power management mode after it has been inactive for a certain length of time. These features are usually accessed either through the printer's control panel or the Windows driver.

Keep Your Envelopes on the Straight and Narrow

Choose a printer that offers a straight paper path, especially if you'll be printing a lot of envelopes. Many units offer a secondary, face-up exit tray that pushes paper straight out the rear of the unit to avoid bent and crinkled edges on your envelopes.

Cut the Clutter

If you no longer use all of the printers on your printer list, get rid of them. From the Start menu, go to Settings/Printers. Right-click on the printer you want to remove and choose Delete. The old information will be deleted from your printer list, and any files or drivers will be automatically trashed.

Get the Latest and Greatest

To keep your printer running at peak performance, update your drivers as your printer manufacturer improves them. Many companies update their drivers as often as every three months to enhance speed or address incompatibles. Take a look at your printer manufacturers' BBS or Web page, or go to your favorite online service. To see which version of drivers you currently have, in Windows 3.x, open Control Panel, double-click on the Printers icon, click on Setup and then About. In Windows 95, click the Start menu and choose Settings/Printers. Right-click on the printer you want to check and select Properties. Click on the Details tab, then on the About button to see the driver version.

The First Can Be Last

When printing multiple documents in Windows 95, you can switch the order of documents by going into the Printers folder, double-clicking on the icon of the printer that you are using, and simply dragging the document you need to move to the desired position within the queue. The one caveat: You cannot move a document that is in the process of printing.

Secure Your Printing Resources

Windows 95 gives you two ways of safeguarding your printing resources that are shared on the network: You can set a password, or list the names of those users that you will allow to share the printer. In My Computer, click the shared printer you want to limit access to. Go to the File menu and choose Properties/Sharing. If you are using user-level access control, click Add to specify the people you want to allow access to your printer. (Ask your network administrator if you are set up for this type of access control.) If you are using share-level access control, type the password you want to use for the printer.

Buy Art Expertise

Preprinted papers from companies such as Paper Direct, Beaver Prints or Proterra let you print out colorful documents, flyers and business cards without shelling out hundreds of dollars for a color printer. These companies offer thousands of designs for all types of business documents.

Postscript Posthaste

You can send a Postscript file directly to your Postscript printer. Assume you want to send a file called hugefil.ps to your postscript printer on your LPT2 port. Go to the MS-DOS prompt and at C:\WINDOWS>, type print C:\hugefil.ps. You will be prompted to enter the name of your list device (LPT2). The printer will then print the file. An even quicker way to achieve the same result is to type copy C:\hugefil.ps lpt2.

Protect Your Investment

A major cause of printer failure is an electrical surge sent to the fuse or power module. A surge protector, which costs about $20, is quick and easy insurance that could save your equipment from an untimely death caused by a power fluctuation.

Take the Direct Route

Speed print from Windows 3.x by bypassing DOS and printing directly from Windows. Go to the Control Panel, double-click the Printers icon and then click the Connect button. Make sure that the "Fast printing direct to port" box is checked.

Put Your Printer at Your Fingertips

Create a shortcut for your printer so you can print your documents quickly and easily without printing from within an application. Find the printer you want to put on the desktop in Control Panel/Printers and use the right mouse button to drag its icon to the desktop. To print a file, just drag its icon onto the printer icon.

Plan for Your LAN

You can connect a network interface card (NIC) inside your printer or attach it to its parallel port as an affordable way to speed up printing across the network without dedicating a PC to the task. When you make a printer a node on the network, it can be shared by several users. Many NICs support a variety of network operating systems and protocols, and these cards cost less than a dedicated print server. Many cards also provide remote administration applications and software tools for most popular operating systems.

Send Your Print Jobs on Their Way

If you print to a number of different printers, you may want to add those devices to the Send To menu so you can quickly send the document you want to output to the specific printer you want to use. Go to the Send To folder located in your Windows folder. In that folder, create shortcuts to the printers that you use most often.

Even Up Your Toner

You can quickly and easily clear up streaking and light print in certain types of laser printers. Try removing the toner cartridge and rocking it back and forth a few times. This will distribute the toner more evenly so that pages print more uniformly.

Particular Printer

If you have different configurations that you usually use for printing (you print on legal- and letter-sized paper, for example), you can avoid reconfiguring your printer by installing it multiple times and configuring each instance of the printer to suit a particular job. Go to Control Panel/Printers/Add Printer. The wizard will lead you through the process. If your printer is included on the list, choose the appropriate driver or, if it's not there, choose Have Disk.

Expert on Board

If your printer goes on the fritz, you aren't alone. Put a call into the Print Troubleshooter located in the Help menu of Windows 95. Go to Contents and click on Troubleshooting, then click "If you have trouble printing." You will then be led through a series of questions that will help you rule out or solve the most common problems.

Up-to-the-Minute Info

When you ask any application to print a document, a printer icon appears on the right side of the taskbar. Double-click on it to access a list of the documents that are waiting to print.

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