Change your font, save a ton of money on printer ink

One kid found the government could save millions every year just with a font switch

Whether or not you print so much to rival a federal or state government agency, I think we can all agree that saving money on printer ink is always a good thing. A 14-year-old student has discovered one simple trick to reducing ink costs: switch to a more efficient font for printing.

Survir Mirchandandi started researching this after getting inundated with printouts upon graduating to middle school. He compared the most commonly used characters in words (e, t, a, o, and r) and measured how much each ink was used for each letter across four fonts: Garamond, Times New Roman, Century Gothic, and, yes, Comic Sans. He repeated his tests with document samples from the Government Printing Office.

The result: switch from Times New Roman to Garamond, and the federal government could save almost 30% on ink costs--$136 million per year. If state governments follow suit, an additional $234 million would be saved.

That's a whole lot of money wasted (or saved) just from a typeface choice. Here's a comparison of the two fonts, both with 11-point type.

font comparison

Other things you can do, of course, include printing in draft mode and using an even more efficient printer font, such as Ecofont. You won't save hundreds of millions of dollars, but you won't have to buy ink as often. Mirchandandi tells CNN that "ink is two times more expensive than French perfume by volume" (I'd rather buy perfume!).

Read more of Melanie Pinola’s Tech IT Out blog and follow the latest IT news at ITworld. Follow Melanie on Twitter at @melaniepinola. For the latest IT news, analysis and how-tos, follow ITworld on Twitter and Facebook.

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