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5. Saving Consumables (Paper, Ink, etc.)

5.1 Printing of Drafts / Multiple Pages on One Sheet of Paper

Use psutils package to put more than one page on one sheet of paper. This collection of utilities is for manipulating PostScript documents. Page selection and rearrangement are supported, including arrangement into signatures for booklet printing, and page merging for n-up printing.

Often HTML pages are not optimised for printing. You may use html2ps, a HTML to PostScript converter, to print HTML pages. "This program converts HTML directly to PostScript. The HTML code can be retrieved from one or more URLs or local files, specified as parameters on the command line. A comprehensive level of HTML is supported, including inline images, CSS1, and some features of HTML 4.0."

Or you may use mpage to print 2 up or 4 up (PS documents or ASCII text). This may be used to save up to 50 percent or more of your paper.

5.2 Double Sided Printing

One important way to save paper is to print on both sides of the paper. Ben Woodard is working on a library called libppd that allows you to do this from standard Linux printing programs (along with other printer tweaking, but duplex printing is most important for paper saving.)

http://sourceforge.net/project/?group_id=1658 is the download page for the beta version, as well as for a modified version of lpr that supports this functionality.

mpage can do some of this as well. From the manual page:


Print just the selected sheets, specified by number, starting at 1. Here last defaults to the end of data, interval to 1. Thus -j1-10 selects the first 10 sheets, while -j 1%2 prints just the odd- numbered sheets and -j 2%2 prints just the even ones.

You can do double-sided printing, in two passes, as follows. If you use 3-hole punched paper, put it in the printer such that the holes will appear at the top of the page -- on the right as you pull out the printer tray, in our Laser writer II NTX. Print the odd-numbered sheets with

-j 1%2 ...

Note the number of pages it reports. (Only half this many will really be printed). When printing finishes, if mpage reported an odd number of pages, remove the last one from the stack, since there will be no even-numbered sheet to match it. Then arrange the stack of paper for printing on the other side. (If it's punched, the holes will now be on the left.) On our II NTX, the paper comes out blank-side up; replace it in the tray still blank-side up but rotated 180 degrees. For other printers, you figure it out. Now print the even- numbered sheets in reverse order with

-r -j 2%2 ...

hoping no one else reaches the printer before you do.

Still missing are some explanations how to use a printer, which has a duplex (add on) device. Sorry I don't have such an expensive printer, so I can't check it yet.

5.3 Reading From the Monitor Instead From Paper

Or use less/xless/gless as a viewer instead of printing. You can view PostScript documents with gs and view PDF documents with either xpdf or acroread (from Adobe). Ask yourself, do you --really-- need a hardcopy each time you decide to print something out.

What are the reasons why people don't read from the monitor:

  • Reading is slower up to 30 percent, see N.N.. The speed can be improved by better hardware (e.g. TFT display, greater screen, though this is against the other below to take smaller CRTs) and better display software (type-1, t1lib, truetype, freetype).
  • Paper seems better organizable and more secure to some people. I suppose this can be treated by better software (e.g. Linux) and hardware, too.

Some people use handheld PC (e.g. PalmIII, Newton Message Pad, Psion 5) to carry around documents to read rather than printing them out.

5.4 Other Techniques

Another means of saving paper is through the use of comments and redline/strikeout markings when exchanging a document with a co-worker/colaborator. For example, a draft could be written using WordPerfect, then E-MAILed to a co-worker. They could update the draft and send it back to you. You can use WordPerfect's redline/strikeout features to see the changes. The document need not be printed until it is "final" or in "final draft" status.

Question: Can you use the back side of paper in a laser printer? I have not had much luck. You can use the paper that has been in a laser printer in an inkjet printer by using the other side.

You should purchase smaller computers and monitors when possible. This will save packaging material translating into less solid waste. For example the box for a 15" CRT monitor is 2-3 times the size of the box for a 15" LCD monitor. Linux works well with 15" LCD monitors on smaller computers like the Netwinder or E3000 .

Tough smaller monitors may have another ecological caveat: because it's inconvenient to browse to longer documents, people may tend to print the documents instead of reading them from the screen.

Some have expressed the concern that LCD displays may use more toxic materials and manufacturing processes than CRT displays, hence their usage actually may be worse on the environment. The original information above concerned the solid waste issue, which is fairly tangible and hence more controllable.

Does anyone know of studies or additional research to help clarify and resolve this issue?

Recycle your used paper, ink, and packing materials.

You may use refillable printer cartridges. In Germany the are marked with the Blauer Engel label.

Laser printer cartridges can often be used much more longer if you shake them when the message toner low appears at the message panel.

  • LaTeX documents: Using \usepackage{ccfonts} replaces the usual fonts by ones with wider lines and bolder serifes, improving readability at low resolutions. They are darker (i.e. use more ink) than the CM fonts and not as beautiful, so I would not recommend them for normal-size printings.
  • Size-Reduction: Instead of psnup or other parts of the pstools I recommend the psnup written in Perl4 by Malcolm Herbert (it's from 1994, and no longer maintained but however there is a descendant of it called yup, available at yup).

    It has a lot of options, which allow to set all 4 margins and the inner gutter separately. Since reduced documents are not very pretty anyway, this can be used to reduce the margin, leaving more place for the text. This probably requires some experimenting (trying new values over and over, checking the result with ghostview).

    The normally used options are:

    • -p2 (or -p4 etc., like -2 in the old psnup)
    • -NIH (don't decorate)
    • -l10 -r20 -b30 -t40 (add to margins)
    • -g50 (add to gutter)

    (these values vary depending on the papersize and the margins of the original, negative values are allowed).

  • Different ink printers are more or less capable to print on the backside of already used paper sheets. Try different manufacturers. Older Canon ink printers offer 360 dpi, older HP ink printers 300 dpi. The readability of 4 pages/sheet using LaTex 10pt lies in between this features.
  • Non-Linux: If you have to work with MS-Windows you should get the original Adobe-PostScript-Driver, instead of using the ones from MS-Windows. These drivers offer more than one page per paper sheet. AFAIK both psnup programs don't work with Adobe-PS, MS-Windows-PS and the PostScript extracted from MS-Windows-PDF files. The Computer-Modern-Fonts (without German diacritical characters) are available as TTF fonts on the CTAN servers. With these fonts you may enhance the aesthetical value of documents and save some paper space, too.
  • Ghostscript has a new output format pswrite, which creates output in correct PostScript. This feature can be used to repair broken PostScript e.g. from Microsoft drivers, allowing their postprocessing with psnup etc.
  • impose+ is a set of PostScript utilities. The main program is impose, which is used for two-up printing of DSC-compliant PostScript (including that from Netscape, dvips, and FrameMaker). It makes an effort to remove white space from the printout by probing the original PostScript for the bounding box of the printed area. This makes the output much more esthetic than does a simplistic layout of non-cropped original pages.
  • hpgs hpgs is a printer driver that lets you to print on a HP 6xx Series printer using economic mode. It relies on the printer driver included in GhostScript to do everything but put the printer into economic mode.

Wade W. Hampton provided the biggest part of this chapter. Some suggestions are from Ralf Muschall.

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