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Minnesota State University, Mankato
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Tips to help you reduce printing and save money


Students are allotted 300 pages of black and white printing per semester at no charge. To some students, this is not enough and they will need to purchase additional prints by adding money to their MavPRINT Cash Account. More information about MavPRINT is available at

However, there are ways that students can significantly reduce the amount of printing while at the same time reducing waste and making studying and writing for college faster and more efficient.

Many of these tips can be combined to reduce the amount you need to print by 50 percent or even eliminate the need to print altogether.

Please submit any additional tips to the ITS Helpdesk at and we’ll publish them here!

TIP #1 - Preview What Your Printed Page Will Look Like on Paper

PreviewMost programs like Word, Excel, Access, PowerPoint, Publisher, etc. will allow you to preview what your printed page will look like by clicking “File | Print Preview” or the preview icon. The printed page should look identical to the way the document looks on the screen. Make adjustments and corrections to look just how you want it in “Print Preview” before printing to paper.

TIP #2 – Printing PowerPoint Slides Economically

Printing Power Point slides Priniting tipsPrinting PowerPoint slides can consume lots of paper. Here are ways to dramatically cut PowerPoint printing:

  • Outline Mode - If you don’t need the nice background pictures or slide wallpaper, you can print the important stuff (the words) in “Outline” mode. (Use the “Preview” button to see how it will look printed!)

Outline mode outline mode2

  • Handouts Mode - If you need the charts or graphics on the slides, you can print in “Handouts” mode. You can select how many slides to print on a single page. (ADDITIONAL TIP: Use the “Preview” button to see how it will look printed!)

To print in either Outline Mode or Handouts Mode click the “File” menu and choose “Print”. Then choose which mode to use following the illustrations above.

  • MavDISK iconCopy and Save - Save the presentation for later viewing or reference without having to print.
    • Save the PowerPoint to MavDISK, CDROM, floppy disk, or a USB memory stick.
      (Just plug a USB memory stick into a computer and it will show up as a removable disk drive and it’ll be assigned a disk drive letter (E: for example). Now you can read/save files from/to it and take it with you)removeable drive electronic print
    • Electronically print the presentation as a document “image”. (very cool tip) See TIP #3. A document “image” prints on electronic paper that you can save onto MavDISK or a USB memory stick and read later. But you can also add notes, highlight important things, copy and paste to a Word document, click on web links, send it to someone else, or search for a specific word within the image. Now try to do THAT with paper!!! To learn how to do this, see TIP #3.

ADDITIONAL TIP: You have the ability to print ONLY the slides (or range of slides) you need by combining TIP #2 with TIP #10. PowerPoint Slide Sorter Tool: PowerPoint has a tool that allows you to see all the slides in a presentation on one screen. This is useful for deciding which slides you wish to print. The tool is called the Slide Sorter tool and you simply open “View” from the menu bar and select “Slide Sorter”.

TIP #3 – Print to a FILE Instead of PAPER and Add Annotations and Comments

Instead of printing to paper, computers with Microsoft Office installed include a printer called “Microsoft Office Document Image Writer”. This isn’t really a printer at all, but it will create an electronic printed document image that goes far beyond paper. This is similar to a .PDF file, but you can even more! You can read, scribble notes, add post-it notes, use a highlighter, save these annotations and take it with you. BUT unlike paper, you can also click on web links, zoom in, zoom out, copy and paste text to a Word document, search for text within the image, and it’s a whole lot easier to carry around and use than a pile of paper.

Here’s a cool example of how to do this:

Image Print

  • Browse to a website or something that you would normally have the urge to print.
  • Save DocumentsClick “File | Print” and then select “Microsoft Office Document Image Writer” as the printer to print to and click “Print”.
  • Select a place to save your image to (M:\My_Private_Files for MavDISK) or (Removable Disk E: for USB memory stick)
  • Instead of printing to paper, a window opens up with your color electronically printed image.

Print Electronically

Now you can highlight important sections, copy and paste text to your report, add your own notes and comments to the document and save it all for later use.

Send this document to someone via e-mail or MavDISK dropbox.

Send a selection of text and/or graphics to Word using the “Tools | Send Text to Word” on the menu bar. You can choose a selected portion of text, pages of text, and graphics.Search for specific words in your image to find what you want quickly.Click on HTML hyperlinks to jump to selected web sites. (NOTE: Some types of hyperlinks do not work)

  • Save any changes and annotations you’ve make to MavDISK, USB memory stick, CDROM, etc.

tips 23BONUS TIP: Search ALL your Electronic Image files at the same time…

If you save these Document Image Files, you can use the Windows “Search” to look for specific text in ALL your saved image files. For example, you know that somewhere you saved a report on stuttering. You just click “Start | Search | All Files and Folders” and type in the word stuttering. Search will look inside all of your saved Word documents, PowerPoint presentations, and Electronic Image files and show you which ones have “stuttering” in them. As you take classes, gather information, write reports and save information, all this electronic information can be searched for what you need in seconds. Now try to do THAT with paper!!!

TIP #4 – Color Printing – Preview Your Work in Black and White

If you wish to print something in color laser in MavPRINT, do a test print in black and white to check the layout first. You might also want to print all of the black and white pages to the black and white laser printer and only the color page(s) to the color printer to save money. All pages printed on the color laser printers cost 90 cents vs. 5 cents in black and white. You’ll stretch your printing a whole lot further with this tip!

TIP #5 – Copy and Paste Journals into Word and Read/Edit Later

You can copy important sections of information and research into a Word document, save the Word document onto MavDISK or USB memory stick and review it at a later time. Copy URL links with the text for your bibliography or to easily find the information again if needed. To consolidate articles into one document, do the following:1. Open a new blank document in Word, Wordpad or Notepad.

2. Highlight the text you want to save for later.

3. From the “Edit” menu, select “Copy” (or press the Ctrl+C keys)

4. Switch to your blank document on the “Edit” menu select “Paste” (or press the Ctrl +V keys)

5. Repeat until all of the important text is consolidated into your new document to save.(Note that some formatting will be changed when you paste into your new document)

TIP #6 – E-mail Internet Links to Yourself to Read Later

Similar to TIP #5, you can copy and paste Internet URL links into an e-mail to find information later when you have time to read or when you write your report.

To consolidate your links into one document, do the following:1. Open a new blank document in Word or your e-mail client.

2. Highlight the Internet address (URL) you want to save for later.

3. From the “Edit” menu, select “Copy” (or press the Ctrl+C keys)

4. Switch to your blank document on the “ Edit” menu select “Paste” (or press the Ctrl+V keys)

5. Repeat until all of the important addresses are consolidated into your new document to save or e-mail.

TIP #7 – Print Two Pages on One Sheet of Paper – Cuts Printing in Half

2 sides PrintingThis is a great way to reduce the amount of pages you are printing. Provided the type is large enough for you to read, you can print two, four or more pages per sheet of paper.

  • From the File menu, select Print
  • In the print window, click the Properties button in the upper right-hand corner.
  • In the Document Properties window, click the Layout tab.
  • In the lower left corner, change the number of “Pages Per Sheet” to 2 or 4.
  • Click OK to submit your print job to the MavPRINT queue.

TIP #8 – Use Word to Add Comments and Track Corrections

Many business use powerful features in Word for editing and corrections. Then, the document can be sent to the original writer to accept, decline or revise the suggested corrections. See the figure below.


As you see above, all changes are noted by a bar on the left side of the line, changes are either underlined or noted in the right side margin. Comments by the editor can be added. Then, the document is returned to the writer and the changes can be accepted or discarded. To use the Track Changes feature, select “Tools” from the menu and select “Track Changes”. The Track Changes toolbar will appear to add comments, highlight text, and to later edit the document.To find out more about this feature, press the F1 key in Word and search for “Format Tracking”. You will see additional instructions and information about using Word to track changes to your document.

TIP #9 – Print on Both Sides of the paper (DUPLEX PRINTING)

Track ChangesPrinting on both sides of the paper is called duplex printing. There is currently no discount for discount printing, but you will reduce the amount of printing and resulting waste in half, and you have to carry half the amount of paper.

To print duplex, follow these instructions:

  • From the “File” menu, select “Print”
  • In the print window that appears, click the “Properties” button in the upper right-hand corner.
  • In the new window, click on the “Layout” tab.
  • The middle section is for Duplex printing. Click on “Flip on Long Edge
  • Click “OK” to submit your print job to the MavPRINT queue.

Note that you may not have the option to print duplex. This is a problem that we are trying to resolve. Some MavPRINT printers will only print in duplex, however, non-duplex printers will be available in the area for assignments or documents that you do not wish to have printed in duplex.

TIP #10 – Print Only Specific Pages

Print Pages you needRather than printing the entire document, you can print only the pages you need. It’s a good idea to “Print Preview” your document (see TIP #1) before you print. Here’s how to print only selected pages:

  • From the “File” menu, choose “Print”.
  • Within the “Print range” section enter the pages (and range of pages) as shown.
  • Click “OK” to print your specific pages.

Additional TIP: Combine TIP #10 with TIP #7 to print multiple selected pages on a single sheet of paper.

TIP #11 – Tips for Printing from Internet Explorer

  • Print Preview – You never really know how a web page will look printed. You should try using Print Preview to get an idea before surprising yourself at the printer. From the “ File” menu select “Print Preview
  • Copy and Paste – If there is a certain area of text you wish to save, you can copy and paste into another document or highlight the text selection and pressing Ctrl+C to copy, and Ctrl+V to paste.
  • Print selectionPrint Selection – You can print just a selected area of text from a web page by highlighting the text, then from the “File” menu, click Print. Change the button to “Selection” within the “ Print Range” section as shown.
  • Shrink Text Size – You might be able to print more text on one page if you reduce the size of the text. From the “View” menu choose “Text Size” and select “Smallest”. (Note some text sizes are fixed and will not be changed when you vary the text size setting) You can also change the size of text by holding down the “Ctrl” key while you roll the wheel on your mouse!
  • Printing Web Pages with Frames – You have several options to try by clicking “File” and “Print” and choosing the Options tab. Depending on what you want to print, you can print the web page as it appears on the screen, print only the selected frame, or print each frame of the web page individually.

Print Selected frames

TIP #12 – Print These Instructions

NOTE!!! This will save your MavPRINT account 7 pages or 35 cents! Save this Word or PDF document to your USB memory stick or MavDISK personal folder to use later, or just revisit the MavPRINT web site and read it later to refresh your memory.