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The PrintLess Program

Save Paper: Print Less

Additional Information

How other Institutions and Organizations Reduce Paper Usage

Reformat Your Documents to Save Paper

When you print a document—especially a web page—print it in an efficient manner. If you do not need the entire document, it is irresponsible to print unnecessary pages.


Microsoft Word

  • If you use Microsoft Word, you can print multiple pages on a single page without reformatting your document. This feature is a great way to get draft output. You can print up to 16 pages per sheet (see the sample dialog box below), though this is only best for graphics. If you just want to view the layout of the document, use the Print Preview function.

  • You can also change the default margin settings so you use less paper to print your document. To change the margin settings, follow these steps:
    1. From the File menu, click Page Setup.
    2. Click the Margins tab (if necessary).

    1. Change the value of the margins to a value smaller than those set as the default. For example, set all margins to 1 inch or less.
    2. Click OK.

Microsoft Excel

How about using the Fit to Page feature in Microsoft Excel? This feature automatically re-scales output to print evenly on one or several pages. Let's say you have a spreadsheet that's 10 columns wide, but when you used Print Preview it shows that nine columns will be printed on one page and one column on the next page. Sounds like a reformatting nightmare, but there is a simple solution: Just use the Fit to Page feature.

From the File Menu, select Page Setup, then select Scaling-Fit to. You can force the document to print out on a single page or multiple pages in a specific width or length.

Excel takes care of all the scaling for you. You can then use the Print Preview feature to make sure the document prints on just one page. You may also want to change the paper orientation (portrait vs. landscape) for spreadsheets that are wide to get more columns on a page.


Microsoft PowerPoint

In PowerPoint, print Handouts not Slides. Text in PowerPoint is generally large, so if you print using the Slides option, it will print one slide per page. If you need to make overheads, that is the way to go, but otherwise, the best and fastest way is to print Handouts.

The default setting prints 6 pages/handouts. If you need more detail for a given slide, such as an important graphic, you can print that particular page individually. If a lecture has 60 slides, printing in this manner will save 83% of the amount of paper to print it using Slides, and it will print 6 times faster!

Better yet, printing it in duplex would save 92% of the paper of used to print it.

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Last updated: August 7, 2003
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