Author Archives: Tony Toner

Printer Monitoring Software: A Closer Look at PaperCut

Investing in the right printing equipment can lead to increased productivity and lowered printing costs.  But there are times when in-house printing can seem more tedious and hard to manage, which is why most companies feel that outsourcing to a print shop is a better option.

If you already have the right printing equipment in place, it’s not yet too late for you to make the most out of your investment.  All you need is the right process and tools to help you monitor and manage the printing activities in your office.

Our team has conducted a review of different printing management programs that can help you identify cost-saving opportunities and track printer usage.  Gone are the days when you would need your employees to sign their names on a logbook or printing sheet, which can be disregarded or lost!  You can now monitor all the printing activities in your office from your computer – even if you’re out of the office!

PaperCut

Image courtesy of PaperCut | PaperCut is one of the leading printer management software in the market today

Founded in 1998 by two university students, PaperCut has made its way to the top of the list of print monitoring programs in the market.  It is a FREE software that silently tracks employee usage by individual, department, or office, and reports usage costs in comparison with budgets and environmental impact.

The software provides real time activity logs and reports information such as the time of printing, name of printer, total number of pages printed, document names and titles, and much more.  PaperCut encourages the responsible use of company resources and creates an environment-friendly workplace.

Boost Your Printing Set-up with PaperCut

Below are 6 possible ways you can boost your print set-up with PaperCut:

Print Visibility

The PaperCut dashboard gives you a comprehensive view of who is printing, which printer they are using, what documents are being printed, and a time stamp for each print activity.  So, you won’t have to guess who printed the 2,000-page document that has now left you with very low print supplies.

Print Policies

You can formulate printing policies that would encourage responsible use of the printer, or make some intelligent rules to limit user behavior.  You can also use the program’s built in controls such as encouraging double-sided printing and more.

Mobile and Bring-Your-Own-Device (BYOD) Printing

PaperCut is compatible with numerous mobile print solutions like Google Cloud Print, iOS Printing, email, and also Web Print.  This will allow your staff to print from whatever device they are on, wherever they are.

Document and Device Security

PaperCut helps you protect confidential and sensitive information with their Find-Me printing system.  It allows your employee to find the nearest printer from a list of available printers, which is well-suited for big offices that operate under a common printer fleet.  Users can simply print under a virtual queue, and go to a print release station near them that PaperCut will automatically assign for them.

You can also secure and add a layer of security using digital signatures and watermarks to include the owner ID in every document printed.

Cost Control

Monitor cost by individual, department, or client.  You can set print quotas for every employee or department to encourage them to only print necessary documents.

Social Responsibility

One thing that we love most about PaperCut is that it measures environmental impact.  This printer monitoring software goes above and beyond by adopting sustainable practices and nurturing the culture of your organization to be more responsible about the environment by providing in depth reports on the environmental impact of your printing activities.

PaperCut Solutions

PaperCut offers two types of solutions depending on your current need or set-up: PaperCut NG and PaperCut MF.

PaperCut NG is the entry-level version of the product that includes basic features and services.  When you sign up for PaperCut NG, you will automatically be given a 40-Day Free Trial of PaperCut MF, which offers all the PaperCut features and support.  This is highly recommended for Small to Medium Businesses (SMBs) with limited budget, but it’s very DIY so you will have to configure the software on your own.

PaperCut MF provides you with everything that PaperCut has to offer.  It includes features such as Find-Me printing and Secure Print Release, while ensuring that you have ample support through the PaperCut Certified Partner Network.

PaperCut offers a free trial so you can test out the software before deciding on which product you need for your business and situation.  Overall, our team enjoyed PaperCut and we highly recommend it if you want to improve your printing efficiency and manage your office supplies better.

Love Your Printer: Easy Printer Care Tips

Many people pay attention to their printers only when the ink has run out or if it refuses to cooperate with their printing activities.  They are either too busy, lack the technical knowledge, or simply feel that it’s not that important to check on their printer regularly.

In fact, when people hear or see the term “Printer Maintenance”, you quickly see their eyes dull and you know that you’ve lost their attention completely.  Hey, we can’t blame you!  It does seem like a very technical and time-consuming thing to do.

Before we lose your attention completely, here are some simple ways you can ensure that your printer is working on optimal performance.  These are things you can do while printing, so you won’t even have to spend that much time on them!

It’s not difficult to keep your printer in top shape. You just need to know what to do!

Update Your Printing Software Regularly

See that notification on your printer asking you to check for updates?  Don’t ignore it.  After all, it’s not going to take too much of your time for your machine to connect to the internet to see if there are any new drivers or software that it needs to run on optimal performance.

Clear Paper Jams – the RIGHT way!

What is the most common problem that you’ll encounter with your printer?  Paper jams.  Yes, it’s those moments when you are in a tug-of-war battle with your printer over a piece of paper.

But your printer is not your enemy, so there’s no point in forcibly yanking that piece of paper from it.  This will only cause you more harm than good and we’re not just talking about your printer, but for you and your budget, too, because this can cause serious damage to your printing device.

ComputerHope.com advises that you need to first remove any loose paper from the loading tray.  Pressing the resume button is always a good idea, since most printers are equipped to eject the jammed paper on its own.

If this doesn’t work, it means that you need to help your printer out.  Start by removing the stuck paper, one sheet at a time.  Once the paper jam is cleared, you’ll need to check if the printer carriage can move freely.

If you are unable to resolve the paper jam from the loading tray, this means that you may need to clear it from the rear of the printer.  You will find some additional steps on how to clear a paper jam the right way in our blog on the 50 Common Printer Problems and How to Fix Them.

Clean It!

Just like your body, your printer also needs regular cleaning to keep it in tip-top shape.  Clean the exterior (or outside) of your printer at least once a week with a damp cloth just to wipe away dust, dirt and other contaminants.

While you’re at it, open the hatch and remove the toner cartridge to clean the gears and rollers.  If this is too complicated for you, use a small vacuum cleaner to remove the dirt and dust from inside with ease.

Store it Well

The location of your printer is important for its performance.  And we’re not just talking about the aesthetics and how it contributes to the overall design of your home office area.  Your printer should be protected from excessive heat or moisture, just like other electronics do.

Make sure that your printer is stored in a stable area to avoid it from falling over.  Make sure to cover it to protect it from dust and other contaminants, along with direct sunlight or moisture.

To thank you for your continuous support for us, we want to #SharetheLove by giving 2 lucky winners a $100 discount on any InkTonerStore purchase.

See? That wasn’t too difficult, was it?

Proper printer maintenance can be achieved if you maintain cleanliness and care when you use it.  These are simple reminders that we have been taught since we were children, so it isn’t rocket science.  The most important thing is that you are mindful with your printer usage and that you take care of your household devices and technology at all times.

3 Free Printables to Help You Boost Your Productivity

In this day and age wherein there is a mobile app for almost everything, you’re probably wondering how a bunch of printable worksheets will actually help you boost your productivity.  It’s simple: there is power in writing things down on paper.

Numerous studies have proven the benefits of writing your thoughts and plans on paper.  Some of the benefits of journaling includes: improved memory, better comprehension of concepts, and improved physical health.  It is also something a habit that many successful people share.

In this blog post, we will be sharing 3 of our favorite free printables that will help you in improving your productivity and bring  you closer to achieving your vision for 2017.

Habit Tracker Printable

Success isn’t something that you achieve overnight.  You need to develop the right skills and attitude to achieve success and stay successful.

This 2017, you should focus on building the RIGHT habits.  Many people often start their new year’s resolutions list by focusing on getting rid of bad habits.  The best way to break a bad habit is to replace it with a good one.

If you have “Stop Smoking” on your list of things to achieve this year, try replacing it with “Develop a Healthier Lifestyle”.  Stop smoking will just be one of the tasks on this list, but you can start by first developing a regular exercise routine and eating healthier meals.  You will eventually quit smoking because you are doing so well at the first 2 that you will be more willing to quit this bad habit.

Source: Clementine Creatives | Keep track of your progress and motivate yourself to form good habits with this free printable

We love this habit tracker by Clementine Creative, because it’s clean and straightforward.  This free printable habit tracker comes in A4, A5 and US Letter size.  It has 31 day blocks that you can either cross off or color once you have successfully completed the habit-forming activity.  Shade or highlight the months, found at the upper-right hand side of the screen for you to keep track of the month for that sheet.

Daily Productivity Heat Map Printable

Have you noticed how there are certain times in a day when you feel most energetic and productive?  There are certain times or hours when we can accomplish whatever task is on our plate, while during some hours we end up procrastinating.  Guess what, it’s not a coincidence.

As much as it is important to maintain a regular schedule, you need to also consider the specific time of the day when your energy levels are high to increase your productive capacity.

Source: Productive Flourishing | Harness the times when you’re most productive in the day to increase your efficiency and output.

Charlie Gilkey of Productive Flourishing came up with this Daily Productivity Heat Map to help you track when you’re hot and when you’re not.  This will help you monitor your natural rhythm and make the most out of your energy.  This will help you in being more efficient with how you manage your time and energy to increase productivity.

Household Schedule Printable

You need to keep an organized schedule if you want to increase your productivity.  You need to take note of the activities and meetings you will have on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis and work around those hours for other activities.  This will ensure that you are being efficient with your time.

We love this Household Family Schedule from Template.Net because it’s perfect for busy moms who have to consider and adapt to the schedules of pretty much everyone in the household.

Print and post this schedule tracker in a common area for everyone in the household to see or view.  This will ensure that everyone is aware of the activities of the rest of the family, so they can be more mindful of how they manage their time as well.

This helps promote accountability for everyone in your home and it will help in lessening the distractions to your productivity.

To thank you for your continuous support for us, we want to #SharetheLove by giving 2 lucky winners a $100 discount on any InkTonerStore purchase.

We hope that these 3 free printables will help you as much as it has helped the members of the InkTonerStore team.  If you found this blog post helpful, then please feel free to share the love with someone whom you think can benefit from it!

Watch out for our upcoming promotion that will help you win $100.00 OFF on your InkTonerStore.com purchases.

3 Tips and Tools to Help You Achieve Your Goals for the New Year

The coming of a new year can stir up mixed emotions in people. There are those who feel sad or regretful about the year that has passed. Some choose not to care and proceed with business as usual. But the majority welcome the new year with eagerness and hope.

It can’t be denied that there is a hint of sadness that comes with the end of the year. It reminds us of how limited our time really is. It also allows us to look back at the things we’ve done and analyze how to make things better for the upcoming year. And we want to help you do just that.

We want to help you start the new year right!

Here are some tips that we’ve put together, along with the tools that can help you along the way.

1 – SMART GOALS

When we say SMART, we’re not just referring to your level of intelligence. This is an acronym that stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Time-Based. It is a guide intended for setting objectives and goals in a project management perspective. But who says you can’t use it in real life?

Creating SMART goals will help you turn that list of New Year’s Resolutions into reality. This is because you need to treat these goals seriously. You are more likely to accomplish a descriptive goal than a general one.

PHOTO: MyLoveforWords.com | Don’t just create any goals… create SMART goals!

Emily of MyLoveforWords.com has a blog devoted to creating SMART goals and she put together some free printables to help you do it!

2 – MOTIVATE YOURSELF DAILY!

Life is tough. We’re sure that we don’t need to remind you of this fact because you experience this every day. This is precisely why you need to pull yourself together and encourage yourself – DAILY!

Motivation is like bathing. You’ve got to do it every single day.
– Zig Ziglar

You cannot rely on other people to pat you on the back or tell you that things will be better. You need to focus on achieving your goals and keep your passion going.

How do you do this?

PHOTO: SkinnyMom.com | Stock up on Motivational Quotes and feel free to design your home with them to keep you inspired throughout 2017

You can start by creating a positive environment in your home or office. These inspirational prints by Skinny Mom is a good way to start. In her post, she provides 60 quotes that you can download for free. Print out your favorite ones, frame them and display them somewhere you can see everyday. This will help you create the positive space that you need to stay motivated throughout the year.

Print out your favorite ones, frame them and display them somewhere you can see everyday. This will help you create the positive space that you need to stay motivated throughout the year.

3 – VISUALIZE YOUR JOURNEY

PHOTO: HouseFullofSunshine.com | Keep a Vision Board in your work area to keep you aligned with your goals throughout the year.

In Neil Gaiman’s keynote address to the University of the Arts graduates of 2012, he shared how he visualized his goal as a mountain. He said that when he was not sure what to do, “I could stop, and think about whether it was taking me towards or away from the mountain.”

Visualization is believed to be one of the most powerful mental activities a person can do. Most people, who believe in the law of attraction, think that: “When you are visualizing, you are emitting a powerful frequency out into the universe.”

Realistically, visualization helps you in achieving your goals. You need to know where you are going and where you are now, so you can plan how to get to your destination. Just like Neil Gaiman did.

And what better way to do that than through a VisionBoard?

A Vision board, helps you put your ideas together. Sometimes, it’s hard to connect the dots when things are all just jumbled up in your head so this helps you put the pieces of the puzzle together. And the vision board will help you do just that.

Start your vision board with these free printables from AHouseFullofSunshine.com and then let your creativity take over!

These 3 tools and tips will help you in starting your year right.  On top of helping you in mapping out your goals, they will also let your creative side break loose, which is always a good thing.

Your printer will be one of your buddies in these creative projects, so make sure to keep it properly maintained and stocked with the right ink and toner supplies.  InkTonerStore.com is offering a 15% discount this December for purchase on all our ink and toner products.  Just use the coupon code HOLIDAY16 at the checkout when you make a purchase.

We hope that you enjoyed these tips just as much as we did!  We will be sharing some more free printables on the next blog, so stay tuned for that!

 

5 Ways to Choose the Right Ink Cartridge for your Printer

Ink cartridges are most of the time costly especially for small businesses. Replacing ink cartridges as often as few times a month can be frustrating and adding cost to your monthly expenses. Even if you tried to lessen the printing, still it doesn’t last long and the next you know is that you’re taking off that cartridge from the printer and replace a new one again.

Here are 5 ways to choose the right ink cartridge for your printer:

Printer Compatibility

Image courtesy of TypographyImages

The first thing to consider when buying an ink cartridge is to check if it is compatible with your printer since not all ink cartridges are created equal. Different printers have different types of ink cartridges. There are those that require multiple cartridges and there are those that require individual cartridges.

XL vs Standard cartridge

There is a BIG difference between XL and Standard cartridges.

If you are into high-volume printing, then, you should opt for the XL. This gives you more printing pages and will save you not only time but money. Standard cartridge is suggested for everyday home general printing or just plain text and not with photos or photography printing.

Tri-color vs Individual cartridge

Both cartridges have its advantages and disadvantages depending on the usage and what you print. If you are using a tri-color ink cartridge, this can be costly in the long run because the cartridge won’t work when one ink cartridge runs empty. Thus, you have to replace the whole cartridge forfeiting the remaining of the other ink portion. And ditching a cartridge still with ink is really a waste of money. While with the individual cartridge, all you have to do is just replace the one that is already empty.

Recycled Ink Cartridges

For the eco-friendly consumer, using a recycled ink cartridge is not only saving you money but the environment and the earth. Recycled ink costs 50%-80% lower than the brand-name cartridges. And most often than not, it produces the same quality, yields more or less same pages as with the brand-names when used properly.

Manufacturer’s warranty

Most of the ink manufacturers have product warranty to guarantee customer satisfaction. It is best to keep the packaging in its original form (with less or no box damage), the warranty card and the receipt should your ink flunk to work as promised. You can bring the item/s to the store together with the original packaging, receipt and, warranty card for replacement or refund.

If after reading this, you’re still not 100% sure about the ink cartridge that you’re buying for your printer – DON’T PANIC!  That’s what we’re here for. 

Contact the Ink Toner Store team and our experts will be more than happy to give you guidance on what to buy.  Who knows?  Maybe you can score some BIG discounts, too!

How to Make Your Document Printer-Friendly

There are a number of ways of making your document printer-friendly. A good converter should be able to convert website and blog content into printer-friendly formats or PDFs. It should also remove texts, ads and irrelevant pop-ups. It should also have a feature for emailing the converted content to others and it should be synchronizable with your blog so that your clients and web visitors can use it easily.

The printer-friendly website, is one of the few sites that provide this service straight on their landing page. Another more deliberate option is to use CSS. The best thing about CSS is that it omits even the HTML from the printed pages as it allows you to change the presentation without changing the HTML link. Using the CSS is a 6-step process. Continue reading

The Great Debate: Ink vs Toner

Have you ever wondered what the difference is between ink and toner? Is toner something every printer needs? And what’s the big deal about those laser printers? Are they really so much better than inkjet printers?

You’ve got questions and we’ve got answers!

Ink vs Toner

Ink and toner do the same things: they are both responsible for transferring pigment onto paper during the printing process. But the similarities end there. Ink and toner are used in different machines and are composed of vastly different substances.

In a nutshell, ink is a liquid substance that is used in inkjet printers. This is most likely the kind of printer you have for your basic home office setup. Toner, on the other hand, is a solid—a powder, to be precise—and is used in laser printers. Laser printers are more likely to be used by businesses or in other professional settings due to their increased quality and performance, but we’ll discuss them more in a minute.

Since ink and inkjet printers go hand-in-hand, as do toner and laser printers, we’ll next look at the pros and cons of each setup.

The-Great-Debate-Ink-vs-Toner-1

Drying Time: Toner Wins!

Ink is often petroleum-based, although you can find some more eco-friendly vegetable oil-based inks as well. Inks that dry quickly are ideal, as you know if you’ve ever carelessly handled a hot-off-the-presses printout and left horrible smudges across the paper.

Toner, on the other hand, doesn’t need any time to dry. The laser printer literally melts the fine powder onto the paper. Sounds crazy, but it works like a charm! On a related note, toner is more water resistant than ink, so if you accidentally get a page a bit wet, it usually won’t make the text incomprehensible.

The-Great-Debate-Ink-vs-Toner-2

Refill Hassle and Cost: Ink Wins!

If you want to simply buy a brand-new cartridge each time your printer runs out of ink or toner, you’ll be parting with a lot more of your hard-earned cash when you buy toner rather than ink. However, as laser printers tend to be used in professional environments rather than for basic home use, it might not be your money being spent, but the company’s. But generally, ink is much cheaper.

Continue reading

Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Compatible Ink

Did you know that you don’t have to buy ink from your printer’s manufacturer in order to keep your warranty? Have you ever wondered if there’s a difference in quality in compatible ink? Are you not really sure what compatible ink even is?

Here we’ve compiled a quick guide so that you can know everything you ever wanted to know about compatible ink and can make smart choices when you buy.

What Is Compatible Ink Anyway?

Compatible ink is just another way of saying generic ink. Each printer company makes its own ink cartridges for its own printers, but that doesn’t necessarily mean those are the only cartridges that will work in a particular brand of printers. Third-party manufacturers also produce cartridges that will work in brand-name machines. The primary benefit of compatible ink is the difference in cost: compatible inks are significantly cheaper than top-of-the-line inks.

Everything-You-Ever-Wanted-to-Know-About-Compatible-Ink

If you are cautious about using compatible ink, you’re not alone. It’s certainly wise to do your research and choose compatible ink that will perform just as well as your particular printer’s brand-name ink. However, you can think about it this way: do you ever buy generic medications? How about generic foods? Generic car parts? It’s the same basic idea. Generic doesn’t have to mean lower quality, but it does mean greater savings.

Is Compatible Ink the Same Thing as Re-manufactured Ink?

No, compatible ink cartridges are not the same as re-manufactured ink cartridges. Compatible ink cartridges are newly produced and have never been used before. Re-manufactured ink cartridges, on the other hand, have been recycled: they’ve been used at least once already, gone back to the manufacturer for refill and repairs, and then have been sold again. It’s possible to buy re-manufactured compatible ink cartridges, but the two terms refer to different things.

Will I Void My Warranty by Using Compatible Ink?

No, you will not void your printer’s warranty by using compatible ink. In fact, it’s illegal for printer manufacturers to require you to use their own brand of ink. You are free to use compatible inks in your printer without risking a voided warranty.

Continue reading

How to Make Your Ink Last as Long as Possible

If you’re in a pinch and pinching pennies, you may have taken a good, hard look at your budget and mapped out ways to cut your electricity, water and food bills.

But there’s another money drain sitting in your house that you may not have thought of: printer ink.

Yes, printer ink is definitely expensive. So what can you do to get the most bang for your buck? Check out some of the helpful tips we’ve compiled to help you make your ink last as long as possible.

Choose Your Fonts and Formats Wisely

Not all fonts are created equal. Some require much more ink when printing because the letters are naturally wider or bolder. Some of the best fonts for preserving ink, according to a study by Printer.com, include Century Gothic, Ecofont and Times New Roman, all of which resulted in about a 30 percent reduction in ink costs compared to Arial.

How-to-Make-Your-Ink-Last-as-Long-as-Possible

Another smart move is to reduce the overall font size whenever possible. Even switching from size 12 to size 11 can help reduce the amount of ink that is used without compromising on readability.

Finally, change the color of your font to a different color, such as grey. In order to find that “sweet spot” in color, experiment with how light you can make the font before it becomes difficult to read. However, even changing from black to the darkest grey will take away some of the pigment necessary for printing, thus saving you ink and money. Don’t forget to change the color scale on images, too.

Shake it Up!

What do you do when your ink pen stops working? Most people give it a vigorous shake to move the ink further down. The same concept applies to printer ink cartridges. If your computer is prompting you to replace the ink cartridge, give it a good shake and see if that placates your computer alert for just a little while longer.

Another way to make use of every last drop of ink is to use a hairdryer to soften up any ink that may have hardened in the cartridge’s pores. The dry, hard ink can form when a printer isn’t used very often, and the buildup can reduce the flow of ink and trick the computer into thinking that there’s not much ink left in the cartridge. But removing the cartridge and holding a hairdryer about a foot away for a couple of minutes can provide just enough heat to soften up the hardened ink and get things running again. An alternative is to simply wipe away the buildup, but if you are already running pretty much on empty, the hairdryer method will preserve that hardened ink and make it usable again.

Don’t Replace the Cartridge Right Away

Computers are quite sophisticated, so surely they know when the cartridge is truly empty, right? Wrong! You’ve probably been in the habit of trusting the little alert that pops up on your computer, warning you to replace the cartridge. Resist the urge to immediately yank out the old cartridge and plop in a new one. If you ignore the alert and carry on printing, you’ll find that you can get a good number of pages out of it yet.

Continue reading

Picture Perfect Printing

In the digital era, most people tend to store their pictures in online photo albums rather than have physical copies printed. This method might be convenient, but you have to admit that some of the magic of photographs is lost when everything stays exclusively online, locked behind a screen. What about the iconic coffee table photo album? Or a scrapbook for a cherished friend? How might you share photographs with friends and family who simply don’t go online?

There will come a time when you’ll want to print a photo, and you’ll soon discover that regular printer paper just doesn’t have the same effect. You’ll also notice that the colors in your photo are faded and dull. What gives??

Picture-Perfect-Printing

Fear not! You’re simply lacking a few basic tools to produce the stunning, high-quality prints that you were once used to collecting from professional developers.

Do You Need a Special Photo Printer?

If you have a high volume of photos to print and/or your project requires the absolute best in quality, it’s probably a good idea to consider investing in a specialized professional-grade photo printer.

These printers are known as dye-sublimation printers and, as you might have guessed, do only one thing: print photos. This means you’ll need a separate “regular” printer for your documents. But the unique heat-transfer method of a dye-sublimation printer means that your photos will come out sharp and clear.

High quality prints mean high resolution, so for photographs that are the best-of-the-best, look for a printer that will offer you 4,800 x 1,200 dpi or higher. Be prepared to spend extra money for extra quality, of course.

Continue reading