We all know how incredibly tedious and frustrating it can be to spend countless dollars on a high quality printer, only to have it produce the ‘average joe’ of quality prints. Our first solution is to always blame the printer, and make a call to the service technician responsible for maintaining and repairing the device. However, the printer isn’t always the source of the problem.
In many cases, you may find that the root cause is related to a number of different factors. Before you call the service technician, review the five factors below to determine if a technician-free solution might be able to solve your problems.
Take a look at five reasons your print may not be what you planned:
1. Monitors affect your print:
One common problem can be linked to the difference between the images seen on monitor screens versus the printed product. There are a number of factors involving your monitor that can impact the quality of prints:
- The age of your monitor
- Resolution and brightness
- Workspace lighting reflecting on your monitor (natural vs. artificial)
Comparing the image displayed on your computer screen and the one your printer produces isn’t exactly apples-to-apples. Ordinarily this does not account for a huge incongruence, but you can expect to see a noticeable variation.
2. Software applications affect your print:If your business needs high-quality color prints, the software that you use can and will make a difference. Different software programs have different capabilities, which can affect the quality of the printed result. For instance, if you are expecting publisher-quality prints, but use a simple application you will not be satisfied with the results. The features and settings of your software program make a big difference in the quality of your prints.
It is just as important to know the use of RGB and CMYK color modes. Many software applications generate images in RGB format, and therefore send them to the printer in this mode. Printers create images on paper using CMYK format. Although RGB can be converted to CMYK, it is common for noticeable differences to occur in color shades when converting one mode to the other. A good tip to remember is that CMYK is for printing and RGB is for web. Make sure before creating or printing a document that it is in the correct format for whatever print job you are doing.
BEST PRINT TIP: Be sure you're using print friendly colors based on the purpose.
3. Languages affect your print:Two common printing languages used today are printer control language (PCL) and postscript language (PS). These two languages can dramatically impact the quality of the prints your high-quality color printer can produce.
PCL is used by a variety of different manufactures, making it very likely that your business is using a device with PCL. PCL is dependent on the device to create images, asking the printer hardware to create portions of the printed data (such as fill areas, underlines and fonts). The benefit of this for your business is that has faster printing, but has the downside of possible variation from one print to the next. PCL is supported by various operation systems and allows one printer to work in a number of office environments.
PS is the other language. PS is also used by a variety of printer manufacturers, but unlike PCL, it is ideally designed for use with Macintosh operating systems. PS operates independently of the printer. Meaning it generates all print data without asking and does not rely solely on one printer to complete certain areas of print data. Print jobs in PS are generated slower than PCL, but in turn; create exceptional quality prints that are identical from first to last copy.
4. Operating Systems affect your print:
Besides the language playing a role, the version of your operating system can play a role too. If you are a couple or more software updates behind, chances are you could find that print quality suffers because related drivers and languages simply cannot communicate with one another.
BEST PRINT TIP: PCL works with various platforms, but PS is optimized only for Macintosh platforms.
5. Paper Stock affects your print:
Last but definitely not least, consider the paper you’re printing your printing on. Using a heavier paper stock will produce different results than standard paper weight would; which will also be different when using high quality photo paper. Most printers are capable of handling a variety of different types of paper, but the quality may vary from one to the other.
Another thing to keep in mind is that paper and printers go hand-in-hand; there are certain printers that are advanced to create high-quality prints only on specific paper stocks. It is best to match the grams per square metre (GSM) on the paper to the quality type of paper on the printer settings on the machine. The heavier the paper, the higher the gsm number will be. For example, newspapers will commonly be printed on 35 gsm to 55 gsm. Flyers and brochures will be printed on 150 gsm; whereas premium flyers, business cards and wedding invitations are printed on a high quality stock of 350 gsm to 400 gsm.
BEST PRINT TIP: Check out this cheat sheet for choosing the perfect paperAnalyzing these factors and identifying the problem areas can save you time, money and headaches. You’ll be able to keep your printing jobs on track by knowing how to troubleshoot without calling in your service technician.
If you’re ready to throw the white towel in because your printer is making you frustrated, it’s time for a Hilliard Office Solutions expert to re-evaluate your printer/copier needs and help you get your company back on its feed and running at full speed. Contact us today at (866) 976-2679 or complete the form on the right.
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