5 Low-Cost Tips to Improve Color Print Quality

improve color print quality

Can I Improve Color Print Quality Without Buying a New Printer?

Customers commonly ask if we have any low-cost tips to improve color print quality. While investing in a new multifunction printer is the quickest way to improve color print quality, there are some other low-cost measures you can institute today to increase color quality. Here our five tips you can use right away to get more consistent color production from your current office printer.

Print Resolution

This technique one is pretty simple. Most print jobs you create on your computer default to a standard print dpi, which may not be the highest quality your printer has available. To fix this, increase the print resolution to the maximum dpi option in the print dialog screen.

Software

Software can also make a huge difference in improving color print quality. Certain print software packages feature settings designed to maximum color production quality. Ask your office technology dealer what software and print drivers they recommend to increase color print quality.

Color Mode

Furthermore, when printing documents on CMYK printers, it is important to ensure that you are creating your documents in CMYK color mode. How you change this setting depends on the software program you are using to create the document, but you can usual find directions online using a simple Google search.

Monitors

This tip may not directly improve the quality of your document, but it can help you get more consistent color results. Often the differences between the colors you see on your computer screen and the final printed document are caused by inaccurate color production on the monitor itself. This is especially true for older monitors. One cost-effective solution to this problem is to calibrate your monitor color settings to match the colors on a printed test document. Doing so ensures that the colors you see on your screen are the similar to those on your color prints.

Paper Type

Don’t overlook paper quality; substandard paper leads to substandard color print quality. Often, excessive color bleeding or dullness can be attributed to poor quality paper. Regular copier paper, for example, is ill-suited to production-quality color documents. Talk to your paper supplier about the paper options that are available.

Additional Strategies to Improve Color Print Quality

Looking for additional strategies to improve color production? Contact our office product specialist to learn more about our printing software and color devices. Fill out our contact form or call us at (612) 861-4000.

6 Vital Questions to Ask When Choosing a Print Software Program

Print Software

Print software can have an enormous impact on your business. From reducing printing costs, managing print permissions or monitoring device usage, print management software has a variety of possible uses. However, this broad array of functionality can make choosing the right print management software package daunting.

That’s why our print software experts put together a list of questions you can ask when looking add a print management software program to your print environment. By answering these questions, you will be able to clearly communicate your needs when talking to a potential software provider.

What do you want to track?

Are you looking to monitor basic usage across your whole fleet or do you want a program that can track use by device and/or department? Certain software solutions have more in-depth features that add greater tracking capabilities.

What is the size of your print fleet?

If you have just one printer in your office, then the software you will need will be much different than an organization with 500+ devices.

Is secure printing important?

Compliance is an important word in today’s business world. With everything from HIPAA to privacy standards, many organizations have realized that their printers are the weakest link in their security chain. If this is a concern you have, then your best-fit print software needs to have features like secure print release or pull printing.

Do you have environmental sustainability metrics?

Organizations looking to go green or reduce paper waste often use print software to monitor usage and look for opportunities to eliminate paper waste. Furthermore, fleet management options often include the ability to enforce fleet-wide options, such as default black and white or duplex printing. If environmental impact is important to you, ask for a software with these features.

Do you need to convert existing documents into a digital format?

Keeping track off a trove of paper documents can be time and space consuming. Converting your records into a digital format with OCR technology can prevent headaches down the road when you are trying to locate a specific document. If you have a lot of paper document or records you want to convert, you will want a software package with built-in OCR capabilities

Does your industry have unique compliance standards?

Some professions, such as healthcare or legal services have special compliance or document management procedures. For example, legal services often require a print management software, like GlobalScan NX™, with built-in Bates stamping abilities.

Are you ready to add print software to your office’s arsenal of tools? Our office technology experts will work with you to find a print management software tailored to your individual needs and budget. Contact us today to get started!

Three Levels of Print Software

Three Levels of Print Software

Whether it’s a simple analysis of current waste or improved document security, every organization can benefit from print software in some manner. However, with so many software solutions on the market, it’s often difficult to decipher which one is the best for your office.

We find that when you divide software solutions into three general categories based on functionality, it becomes much easier to narrow down your options. When you think of print software in this way, you’ll be in a better position to gauge whether or not a proposed solution will meet your needs.

Level One: Analysis

The first level of print management is all about measuring your current costs and production needs. No matter what your end goal, this is an important first step for any organization. While everyone wants to cut printing costs, a surprising number of businesses don’t even know how much of their budget is currently going towards print expenditures. Investing in print software solves this problem by providing the tools necessary to measure your current production and usage. With these analysis tools, you’ll be able to determine your overall print volume, optimize in-office device placement and even discern how many machines your building requires. How do you know if you’re ready for a level one software option? Consider the following three questions:

  1. Do you know how much you’re spending on printing?
  2. What’s your print volume?
  3. Are your printers being overworked or overused?

Level Two: Basic Tracking and Automation

An initial audit is a great place to start, but you’ll want to track your printing long-term if you’re really serious about slashing costs. Additional software features can be used to improve client billing procedures, restrict color printing permissions and even enforce duplex printing. In doing so, these solutions create a culture of continuous improvement and cost reduction.

Another useful facet of this level is process automation. Print software can help streamline your workflows by providing automated meter readings, service call notifications, supply alerts and remote adjustments. These capabilities save you time, prevent inopportune supply outages and keep your office running at peak efficiency. To determine if you require level two features, consider the following questions:

  1. Does your office spend a lot printing unneeded color documents?
  2. Are your employees using duplex printing or other cost-saving options whenever possible?
  3. Are you having trouble tracking your printing costs or maintaining supplies?
  4. How much print downtime can you afford?

Level Three: Advanced Features

The solutions outlined above provide a lot of general functionality that any business can benefit from. However, certain institutions have unique workflow needs that require specialized solutions. For example, healthcare facilities and human resource departments deal extensively in confidential documents. As a result, they require a software solution that will keep their documents secure. Law firms, meanwhile, need e-discovery functionality to manage evidence and court files. Here are some common advanced elements to consider when shopping for print software.

Improved Security

Confidential information is increasingly under siege. Organizations today have to strike a delicate balance between increasing digital workflows and maintaining document security. If you’re handling confidential employee files or patient charts, then you also have an obligation to keep those files secure. One way this can be achieved is through secure print release functionality. This feature allows you to print your document and then pick it up at any office device by authenticating your user credentials. Requiring you to be at the machine before your job prints ensures your confidential information won’t end up in the wrong hands.

Document Management

From lost files to mishandled documents, paper files can really drag down your business productivity. Print management software alleviates this problem by adding digital document management to your arsenal. Tools like optical character recognition will allow you to convert old files into secure digital documents. These editable files can help improve workplace collaboration, streamline the document search process and keep your information secure.

Cloud & Mobile Print

Today’s workforce is constantly on the move. How well is your print fleet keeping up? With employees increasingly working from mobile devices like tablets, phones and laptops, it’s imperative that companies have the ability to print from any device. Mobile print is a simple solution that allows users to print from their devices without complex network setups and workarounds.

Cloud print, meanwhile, enables printing from a number of Cloud-based applications, such as Office 365, Google Drive, or DropBox. It also comes with standard Cloud scanning, which allows your employees or students to quickly scan your paper files directly into Cloud applications. This function is especially beneficial for educational institutions looking to integrate learning tools like Blackboard into their daily processes.

Some questions to consider:

  1. Are you consistently printing lots of confidential documents like employee files?
  2. Do you have physical documents you’d like to store digitally?
  3. Is mobile printing important to your business?
  4. Do you create a lot of editable PDFs?
  5. Are you intensively using Cloud applications like DropBox, Blackboard or Office 365?
  6. Are you in the legal, healthcare, education fields?
  7. Do you currently have a way for employees to print from mobile devices?

Conclusion

Picking the right software package for your business doesn’t have to be a confusing endeavor. When you know what you need to achieve with your software, the process will suddenly become a lot less complex.

It’s also important to note that a lot of print solutions, such as PaperCut and Ricoh’s Integrated Cloud Environment, provide capabilities that straddles all three of the levels mentioned above. These software packages will allow you to monitor your fleet and access some of the advanced features outlined above without investing in multiple solutions. If, however, you are looking for specialized features like Bates stamping, a more narrow solution, like Nuance eCopy, might be a better match for what you’re trying to achieve.

In the end, these three categories provide a good baseline to start your search. Once you have considered what sort of features you’ll need, we recommend discussing what available solutions will best help you achieve your goals. As always, our office technology experts are ready to help you find the ideal solution and can be reached at 612-861-4000 or by filling our contact form.