Coly Computer Help


A multi purpose printerCleaning Printers:   Switch off the printer and lift the lid. You will see that the ink cartridge travels along a chromium plated rod or metal track. Do not move the cartridge along by hand , this will wreck the gears. Clean the black deposit off any exposed rod or track with a tissue, be careful not to knock anything as you clean. Now put one very small drop of thin oil (3-in-1) on your finger tip and rub the oil along the rod. Be careful, some pressed steel tracks are sharp. NEVER use WD40, this is designed to provide a sticky coating to protect items from moisture, just the opposite of what is needed here. Clean and oil the rod or tracks once a year to prevent your printer producing unwanted italics and bunched up letters.

Cleaning the print heads: You will probably have a Printer Utility program on your computer, use it occasionally to clean the print head. This uses up ink, so clean print heads only when the print appears streaky.

Prevent ink drying: If your ink jet printer is used infrequently, the ink or the print heads may dry up. You will then need to replace a part used cartridge(s). To avoid drying, create a page with a small picture containing all the colours and black. Save it with a name such as 'Print-test'. Print this document whenever your printer has not been used for about 10 to 14 days. If you do not print for a very long period, the ink jets can clog, this is very difficult to fix.

Ink Jet printers can be expensive to run, the following tips will help you to keep down the cost of printing. Special ink jet paper is not necessary for most items, I have found that paper such as Communiqué No 3 paper at £4.75 per ream is excellent. Always select Draft or Economy unless you really need Quality print. Explore the utility program provided with your printer and use it to keep your printer in tip top condition. The utility program can usually be found either (i) under Start-->Programs
-->Epson (or HP or Cannon etc)
OR (ii) When you want to print a document, click File-->Print-->Properties.

Save on coloured ink. Some printers allow you to choose to print black or grey scale. Click File-->Print-->Properties choose Text. Sometimes you may even be given a choice of Black only or Colour when you click the printer button on the toolbar.

Cartridge costs. Suspecting a cartel, the Government set up an enquiry into the extortionate price of inkjet cartridges. These cost 8 pence to manufacture, but we have to pay from £10 to £35 each. Manufacturers sell printers for almost no profit, but they make up for this by charging the earth for cartridges. You can buy compatible cartridges from £3.50 to £14, these are suitable for most print jobs. But for printing the highest quality photographs, Original cartridges are best.
Quality compatible cartridges can be bought from local computer shops. When you put a compatible cartridge into your printer, a dire warning may appear, you can safely ignore this.

See the right hand column for more tips on saving ink and paper .



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Printing web pages. Computer screens are wider than they are deep. Well designed web pages follow the shape of the screen i.e., they are landscape format, not portrait. One common problem is that people forget this, they attempt to use the portrait format when printing. Two problems then arise.
(i) The printer does not include the full width of the web page so that some information is missing on the right hand side.
(ii) Some web pages will 'squeeze up' to fit the portrait format so that the printed page looks odd.

Always print web pages using landscape format; a quick way to do this is to right click the web page, then click Print on the drop down menu, then click the Preferences button to select Landscape format; this will void a distorted or chopped-off page.

Save Ink by printing the web page in black only, in draft quality and with no background colour. Depending on the printer model and make, you can usually choose the paper size, and whether to print in portrait format (A4 upright) or landscape (A4 on its side). You can choose draft (ink saver) or quality print, colour or black only. You may even be able to choose which kind of paper, i.e., inkjet paper or photo paper, or a transparency for overhead projection. To ensure that the background colour is turned off:
 In Internet Explorer click Tools-->Internet Options , click the Advanced tab, scroll down to the Printing heading and un-tick the box labelled Print background colours and images. Reverse this procedure if you want to include a coloured  background in your print out.

Avoid printing two pages if the second page only has one or two lines. Click File-->Page Setup then change the margins. If this is not enough, put the cursor at the top of your first page, select the whole document, i.e., hold down the Ctrl key then tap the letter A. This selects the whole of the text. Then hold down the Ctrl key and tap the [ key (the left square bracket next to the P key ). The font will reduced by one size allowing the whole document to fit on one page.

Printing photographs. Software provided by digital cameras can be complicated and can load pictures into an obscure folder instead of into the correct folder (which is My Pictures).

Windows XP has a built-in photo printer which is very simple to understand and use. It is so smart it even rotates and shrinks the pictures to fit the page. Always load your photos into folders within the My Pictures folder. Double click the folder containing the pictures you wish to print.

Ensure you are in The View button Thumbnails view, look for this Toolbar button, click the tiny down arrow and select Thumbnails (thumbnails are mini pictures of your photos).

In the left hand blue pane, click Print Pictures. Click the button labelled Clear all to remove the ticks from all the little boxes. Now tick the little box next to each of the pictures you wish to print. Click Next, and in the next window click the button labelled Printing Preferences. In the next window click the little down arrows and select which paper quality and print quality you would like. Also choose whether you want black and white or colour. Click OK . This returns you to the previous window. Click Next . In the panel on the left of the next window, choose your preferred layout, e.g. one big picture per page, two per page, or four per page, etc. Choose How many of each photo to print. On the right you will be shown a Preview of how the printed page will look. Click Next and your photos will be printed. When the printer has stopped, click the Finish button.

If you use the Print button on the tool bar, you may be allowing the computer to dictate to you. If you prefer to be the boss, then click File on the top menu this gives your more control over how and what is printed. From the File menu you will be able to set the margins with Page Setup. When you  click Print to bring up the Print window, you can choose which page to print, and decide how many copies you want. On the same window, click the Properties button and you will be presented with other ways of controlling your print out. Click each tab and explore the options.
You can also choose which kind of paper, i.e., inkjet paper or photo paper, or a transparency for overhead projection.

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