Smaller personal inkjet printers have come a long way since first appearing. Whereas the first printers may have had a capacity of 4-5 pages per minute (ppm), even the smaller, more inexpensive printers can have a capacity speed of 25-30 ppm. The capacity doesn’t mean you will regularly obtain such a quick printing speed; your printing speed should be close to the printer’s rated speed.How to Speed Up Printing

If your printer is still printing at 4-5 ppm, there is a good chance a problem exists, either in memory, configuration or hardware. There are a few things you can do to speed up the processing time of your printer, as well as the printing speed itself. Many of these methods are easy to accomplish, or require a minimal financial investment.

1. Print in the Lowest Quality Setting Acceptable to You

You may be surprised how well a document is printed in draft mode, or a smaller DPI. This is especially true of black and white documents. Photos may not have to be printed in fine mode either, if you are happy with the quality of a lower DPI. Not only will you save printing time, you will be saving ink in your printer cartridges.

Try different settings and find the DPI setting you are happy with by running a test page or 2. This should always be done prior to printing a large document or one with high quality graphics.

2. Divide Your Documents into Subparts

Usually a larger document, including PDF files and documents with a great deal of photo quality graphics, can use up all of the memory of the printer, making it take forever to process. But you do not need to print your entire document as a single print job. If you break the document into sections, you can reduce the risk of overtaxing the print memory. There is usually no need to separate the document into several files. Rather, just print in sections.

In an Office document, Select File > Print > Page Range > Pages. There will be a dialogue box indicating the number of pages. Try picking a page range that is less than your printer’s memory capacity. If a 30 page document, try breaking the document into thirds, printing pages 1-10 then 11-20, and 21-30.

Know the memory capacity of your printer and the total size of your document. The size of the document can be found by clicking File>Properties. On the dialogue box, click General to view the file size.

The same process works for PDF documents. If your printer habitually prints PDF documents slowly, with a great deal of processing time, consider converting the document to a MS Office .doc. They can often be converted to Word documents easily and quickly.

3. Upgrade Your Memory

Just like your PC, your printer has built in memory to allow it to function. In many printers, memory is expandable in even smaller printers. Memory for many printers can be expanded for as little as $20.00. Expansion memory is relatively easy to install. Utilizing plug in memory slots, it is no more difficult to install than RAM on a PC.

For a small investment, your printer will be able to process larger documents and will process smaller documents more quickly. There are many online vendors who sell printer memory.

4. Keep Print Copies in Your Cache

If you are printing documents more than once, Windows permits you to retain a copy of the document for quicker processing on a subsequent print job. This is much the way an Internet browser retains documents in cache.

To access this feature, right click on the Printers and Faxes icon. Then click Printer>Properties>Advanced. Check the box marked “Keep printed documents”. To access the document later, simply right click the Printers and Faxes icon, locate the document and click Restart. Naturally, you will use up hard drive resources, but the cache can be cleaned periodically.

5. Use the Fastest Connection Possible

If your printer is wired directly to your computer, it will generally print more quickly than a wireless connection. If possible, move your printer closer to your PC and utilize a wired connection.

Likewise, a USB connector will transfer data more quickly than other PC to printer connectors. Most modern printers will accept a USB connection. If are not using a USB, consider doing so.

6. Make Sure Your Computer is Not Slowing the Printer

On occasion; the problem may be your computer memory and not the printer memory. More specifically, you may be running too many applications at once, eating up the RAM. Use ALT+CNTRL+DEL to bring up you Windows Task Manager to determine what is being processed whether the memory is at or near capacity. If so, simply turn off some applications to free up RAM.

Taking the time to reviewing your printer’s settings, making slight adjustments when necessary or making small upgrades to your hardware can save substantial time in printing speed. In addition, it will save you a great deal of frustration.

James Adams works as part of a team of product analysts and bloggers at Cartridge Save. Much of his time is spent reporting on consumables for Canon printers and supplies for other brands.