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Printing costs for my All-In-One Epson printer especially when using branded inks is very expensive. Whenever I install new cartridges, I usually conduct a so called Print Test Page via Devices and Printers in Windows Explorer (as is generally advised).

Whilst the amount of coloured ink in the resulting print out appears to be minimal, a considerable amount of black ink is used (in my opinion).

Is there a way to test printer inks, where the resulting print out uses less ink without using this so called "official method" - perhaps by selecting a suitable minimalistic webpage instead ?

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What actions would you take if the print test "failed" in some way? – BrianAdkins Sep 2 '13 at 13:01
@BrianAdkins I would switch the printer off and try to print again after 10 mins or so. If that failed I would change the printer cartridge(s). However I have never been in that situation. – Simon Sep 2 '13 at 13:04
Why don't you simply not test? You can test it the first time you actually need to print something. That way if it prints, you have both tested and printed something useful. Alternatively, make a document that just says 'Hello World' or something and print that. – terdon Sep 2 '13 at 13:06
I've never run into that problem either, so I might consider replacing the test with the printing of something you actually need to print. – BrianAdkins Sep 2 '13 at 13:07
@terdon Usually when I print things, I print multiple pages, however you have a valid point. – Simon Sep 2 '13 at 13:09
up vote 1 down vote accepted

I read a blog post post about this, recently

Usually printing is sufficient, as it's colorful enough to check your inks, but won't destroy your wallet

Just direct your browser to Google, and print the first simple page there with the colorful google logo that should show your colors working, and other black text, that will test the black working.

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Welcome to SuperUser Tom, really.... can you add a link to the blog post you read and explain a bit more in detail in your answer above. – Simon Sep 2 '13 at 13:22
I'd guess lifehacker – Journeyman Geek Sep 2 '13 at 14:34
@JourneymanGeek Should someone edit Tom's answer to incorporate the necessary info. He's new so he might not realise, the workings of SE. – Simon Sep 2 '13 at 15:55
@Psycogeek Appreciate the edit, looks promising. – Simon Sep 2 '13 at 18:06
@TomFarrow I have accepted your answer as the correct answer. Sometimes the most simple things in life are the best. This is very simple to perform & hits the Bullseye perfectly. Hopefully it will be of great help to others :) – Simon Sep 2 '13 at 18:14

There is nothing stopping you from printing anything else than the build-in test page.*

You can print a page from the web, or from Open Office, notepad, paint, print a PDF, ... Take any page which has all the features you want to test and just print it.

* As long as you have a computer (or other device which can print) attached to the printer.

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"Take any page which has all the features you want to test and just print it" - What is that page (that is minimalistic yet confirms all colours are printing correctly) ? – Simon Sep 2 '13 at 13:19
My own solution at work was: 1) Build in printer test page (no worries about inkt since we used laser printers. More expensive to buy but the toner/ink per page is much cheaper. 2) A test page made in mspaint.exe with our logo, six coloured bars (RGB, CMY) and some typed text (mostly black, but with a word in each colour). Took me 3 minutes to make and to save. – Hennes Sep 2 '13 at 13:22
@Simon, that page is a word document with a black, cyan, yellow, and magenta line. – terdon Sep 2 '13 at 13:23
To explain the colour Terdon and I used: Cyan, yellow and magenta are the colour of the inkt. All other colours bar black are made by mixing them. (Mixing to make black would work but would be expensive and yield a greyish inkt). The Red GReen and Blue bars show mixed inkt. If you want you can use rather small bars so save inkt. – Hennes Sep 2 '13 at 13:25
@Hennes I don't own a laser printer at home, the rest of your comment sounds plausible however (which sounds like a better answer than the one you gave above) – Simon Sep 2 '13 at 13:26

I use a CIS (continuous ink system) for more than one epson printers, and I can tell you for sure, it is the "Head Cleaning" itself that uses the most ammount of ink by far.
The ammount of ink used for a head cleaning, or multiple head cleanings does not even compare to printing an entire page of a colorful print.

If you have spare paper that you have used already, but would throw out, you could print a test page, or a nozzel check, or anything else you want , without fear that it will drain your carts, as much as a head cleaning would.
If your printer uses a nozzel check it would be better than a test page, because it uses every jet in the thing to print. A nozzel check uses a very very small ammount of ink, and can represent all aspects of operation quickly.

Notes: Using CIS or cheap inks does have a tendancy to clog more, and I would not recommend them for minor use (pita it is). I feel it is better to keep your inkjet printer printing a few pages a week, instead of drying out , because of the head cleaning taking so much ink. Always make sure you park your heads/cartrige (turn off) on the printer before pulling the power on it.

Other notes: Even if a nozzel check works, or a test page works, there is no guarentee that the thing will print 10 full color pages after that. It might not be fully "primed" anyway, depending on how it ran out. I do not know enough to state as fact, but there are times after a cartrige change where it can go Dry after printing a few full print pages, and still require a head cleaning to get the ink back down.

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Appreciate your informative answer including the use of CIS with my type of printer & for explaining about the principle of "Head Cleaning" and its ink usage. – Simon Sep 2 '13 at 18:10

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