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-- by James E. Powell
Originally designed to speed up printing, the option-packed Power PrintCache 4.0 has evolved into an indispensable paper-, toner- and time-saving utility for any Windows 95 printer.
If you print more drafts than final copies, the MiniPage feature can save lots of paper by letting you choose the number of pages to print (up to 16) on a single sheet. For example, choose "4" from the program's menu and use your current application's print command as usual. Power PrintCache simply intercepts your output and prints four pages on a single sheet. Even when you're printing 16 pages to a sheet, bullet-point slides (from Microsoft PowerPoint) and Microsoft Excel charts are readable, making MiniPages a great archival option. Along with detailed printer and job information, PrintCache's toolbar offers several icons, including one for adding a watermark (with font, darkness and rotation control). Printing booklets (though without user controls) and two-sided output is easy.
Our favorite feature is DragNET, which lets you use any application's print command to queue output in memory, instead of going directly to the printer. When you're ready to print, select the MiniPages icon (using the four-to-a-page option so you can read your output), and click the DragNET button to release the queued material. This is particularly useful for printing e-mail and short items that don't need a full page. You can mix and match print output from any application, and PrintCache will continue to queue output until you release the DragNET. Our only complaint is that when you release queued material, DragNET shuts off and needs to be turned on again. A default setting option should have been provided.
Other buttons on the toolbar pause the printer, delete the current job or delete all jobs in the queue.
Power PrintCache works with any application and any Windows 95 printer. You can turn it on and off as needed, and its single-diskette installation is effortless.
With the horsepower of today's printers and Intel Pentium machines, Power PrintCache 4.0 no longer produces significantly speedier output, as it did with older and slower equipment. But this version places useful features that reduce total print time at your fingertips, and it gives both new and old printers a raft of special output options. Alone in its class, Power PrintCache 4.0 becomes a WinList utility.