Mind Your Manners When it Comes to Printer Sharing

You’ve probably read various etiquette guides for cyberspace communications (i.e., don’t type in all capital letters – it’s equivalent to SHOUTING). Well, here’s an etiquette guide for sharing a networked printer.

Following the suggestions provided, you and your coworkers can avoid those unpleasant verbal exchanges that result when, for example, 50 COLLATED COPIES of your coworker’s BEYOND-DEADLINE REPORT have been printed on the NEON-PINK PAPER that YOU just used to print YOUR kid’s BIRTHDAY-PARTY INVITATION. Improved efficiency is another possible benefit.

When you need to print on special paper (such as letter-head, heavy stock, legal size or colored paper), select the Manual Feed option before sending your document to print. Upon receiving your job, the printer should then ask you to insert the media of your choice. If you skip these steps and simply put the special paper in your printer, someone else’s job could arrive at the printer before yours.

Tell other users when you are making changes to the printer, such as changing paper sizes or using special papers. And don’t forget to inform them when you’ve returned the printer to normal setup.

Select your print settings (i.e. paper orientation or symbol sets) using your application software rather than your printer’s panel. If you use the panel to change settings, you could affect everyone’s print jobs.

Confusion often results when people leave their jobs sitting at the printer, or when a frequently-used printer starts piling up output. You can help alleviate the problem by having everyone agree to use a banner page on all their print jobs. (Some printers, such as the HP IIISi and 4Si, have a job offset feature that does this for you.) You’ll also find software (i.e. Windows for Workgroups) that offers a banner-page option, which puts the user’s name on a blank sheet of paper at the start of each job. If your software can’t do this, your network administrator can add a banner page to your capture command or to your printer configuration.

Use internal or cartridge typefaces, whenever possible, rather than download typefaces. These typefaces are present in your printer and always available, but downloaded typefaces disappear if someone turns the printer off, resets it or switches printer description languages (unless the typeface is downloaded to “permanent” status).