How many times have you attempted to finish a print job on your printer only to have it tell you that the ink needs replacing? It’s frustrating, and all too common an occurrence. As much outrage as the cost of ink creates you would think someone would find a way to help us conserve it. Well, maybe your prayers have been answered, or perhaps you’ve just been living right. But believe it or not, there are programs available that specifically conserve  printer ink without sacrificing the quality of the print job.


Preton is free printer software that allows you to set the amount of ink that goes on the page. The software works by intercepting the print job before it reaches the printer. You then are able to reduce the amount of ink used by up to 70 percent. Even at that reduced amount tests show that the text is still legible. Reducing the ink by higher percentages would only be useful for documents like emails or Web sites. However, you can save ink by reducing the ink by 10 to 20 percent with no noticeable loss of quality.

Preton essentially does the same thing your printer can do by selecting draft or another low quality mode in your printer settings. However, Preton gives you more control over the ink savings vs. quality. For instance, Preton allows you to set lower levels of print quality for text than for graphics and images on the same page. This way your charts and images will still look good while you still save ink on the text printing.


Inkgard printer software offers the same features as Preton but it isn’t free. It costs $10 a year and allows you to manually adjust the amount of ink put on the page before the document goes to the printer. It offers everything Preton does but costs you a yearly subscription.

GreenPrint World Edition

GreenPrint is a versatile piece of software that you can also download for free. This software specializes in eliminating the number of wasted pages and unnecessary graphics from your print job. For example, if you ‘re printing from the web the preview screen lets you eliminate those elements you don’t want to print, including ads, images or graphics. It also allows you to see and remove additional pages that get attached to the end of many documents. Ever printed off a flight itinerary from the web that also included a few lines of legal jargon on a separate page? GreenPrint can help you eliminate that waste.

GreenPrint also works well in conjunction with other ink saving software such as Preton. It comes with a PDF writer that allows you to save important documents to your hard drive, such as emails and web pages that you otherwise would have to print. If you choose, you can upgrade to the Premium edition for around $20.

Brian Prowse is a writer and self-proclaimed tech geek. He writes for sites such as that specializes in Dell toner cartridges or playing around with the coolest gadgets on the market, Brian enjoys traveling and graphic design.