Picking a printer
When purchasing a printer, or printing system, you should first analyse your printing needs. Improvements in the quality of text output mean that inkjet printers are increasingly finding their way into the SMB sector, but if you need to print thousands of pages of text documents every month, then the traditional laser printer still rules the roost.
Colour laser printers are also available, and much less expensive than they used to be. However, inkjet printers remain the best option for colour graphics and photo output. Inkjet printers can also print on a wider variety of media, such as cardboard or glossy photo papers, and specialised A3 inkjets can be useful for posters and graphic design work.
Whether you choose a laser or inkjet printer, always make sure that the printer offers high-yield ink or toner cartridges that can help to reduce running costs.
Many people never really bother to explore the on-screen menus when setting up a new printer. Take a closer look and you may find options such as a low-power or sleep mode that can dramatically reduce energy consumption when the printer is idle.
You’ve probably seen emails that remind you to “consider the environment before printing this email”. In fact, you should think twice before printing any type of document, and always consider digital alternatives – such as Adobe’s PDF file format – that can easily be sent by email.
Copy and scan
Modern multifunction printers can be used to scan and copy documents. But instead of simply making more paper copies of a document, they may also offer an option to convert paper documents into a PDF file that can be viewed on screen.