Vegas Printing Company: How to Print Black and White with Color Ink

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Vegas Printing Company: How to Print Black and White with Color Ink

close-up shot of a CMYK ink cartridges for a color printer

If you print a lot, you’ve likely had the common issue of running out of a single type of ink or toner before the others. Most printers use four different colors of ink in order to produce a single image. These four colors are known as CMYK, which stands for cyan, magenta, yellow, and black. Those four colors each have their own cartridge. When you print an image, the printer will pull the needed amounts from each one and place it on the page. Where this can go awry is with excessive black and white printing. If you don’t use all four printer cartridges equally, you’ll run out of one before the others. Here’s what to do if you want to stretch your cartridges before replacing them by printing black and white with color ink.

Can You Print Black and White with Color Ink?

The answer too ‘can you print black and white with color ink’ is… Maybe. Depending on your machine, the settings may require you to use the black cartridge to print a text document with no colors. There are certain printer models that allow you to bypass this. Our vote is to give it a try if you’re in a pinch! Depending on your computer and printer settings, you may be able to get away with printing black and white with only color ink.

Start with the Obvious – Removing the Black Cartridge

The easiest way to see if you can print in black and white using only your color ink cartridges is by removing the black cartridge before printing. Certain printers will continue following the print command with whatever cartridge is in the machine. If the only cartridge is a color one, prepare to receive a document with very dark brown text (not quite black) as it tries to get as close as possible to the requested color using the cyan, magenta, and yellow cartridges. Should this tip not work, try changing your settings to print in grayscale.

Changing to Grayscale: How to Trick Your Printer

If your printer refuses to print without all the cartridges in place, you can change the settings from your computer to hopefully trick it into printing black and white using color. The way you want to do this is to go into whichever document you hope to print. Hit the print button and scroll to ‘Printer Properties’. There will be an option labeled ‘Color’ that gives you a choice between color and grayscale. You’ll want to select ‘Grayscale’. This indicates to the printer the document will be printed in black and white but still use different tones. Ideally, it will pull these tones from the color cartridges – no need for the empty black cartridge!

Still Not Working? It Might Be Time to Replace

A lot of printers have safety features that don’t allow them to print in black and white using color cartridges. This isn’t just because they want the revenue from new cartridge sales. Using the improper cartridge to print can put a strain on your machine, shortening its lifespan. Unless you’re really in a pinch, our printer experts recommend swapping out the empty cartridge once it stops printing. Trying to save money by not replacing cartridges may end up being more expensive as the machine wears down. If you want to keep costs low, but your machine in great condition, consider signing up for a cartridge recycling program to save a bit with each cartridge.

For more printing tips, contact Vegas Ink and Toner!

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