Smart fixes for your printing, e-mail, audio hassles

Save on costly printer ink, handle leftover Registry junk, and defeat a common Outlook annoyance. Plus: two cool volume-control tools.

Nothing is more expensive than replacing inkjet cartridges. In this month's column, I'll talk about the tips and tools I use to save ink--and paper. I'll also give you the lowdown on removing leftover Registry-clogging Class IDs, show you how to correct another irritating Outlook flaw, and offer two easy ways to control your computer's volume.

Zap Ink-Slurping Web Pages

The Hassle: I use up too many inkjet cartridges (and the prices are killing me), especially when I have to print full Web pages with big images and ads just to get one line of useful text.

The Fix: I have lots of solutions that can make you happy. On Web pages, you can use your browser's built-in Selection printing option. First select and highlight the text you want to print; then choose File, Print and click Selection in the Print Range section of the Print dialog box.

Unfortunately, on occasion you'll still scrape stuff off the page that you don't need. So use the trick in combination with GreenPrint, a printing utility that automatically removes wasteful pages--say, those with only headers and footers or small amounts of text, or totally blank pages. The tool is free (it's ad-based), and it lets you print from any application.

More interesting is HP Smart Web Printing Software, a freebie that gives you a way to grab selected text and graphics from Web pages, save them to a document, and then print your customized pages. Using it takes more work, but the end result is an almost perfect document.

Finally, you can use an ad blocker to banish big blocks of ink-guzzling ads. My favorite is Ad Muncher; you'll make up the $30 cost in ink savings alone. Read "15 Downloads That Will Block Annoying Ads and Pop-Ups" for other choices, including freebies. All of the products mentioned in that article work with Internet Explorer and Firefox, and with all versions of Windows. But if none of those choices appeal to you, see "Where and How to Buy Cheap Ink."

Quick tip: Instead of printing the document, save paper and ink by grabbing the text you want, sending it to, for example, your iPhone or BlackBerry, and reading it later. To do that, download ShifD, a free Web-based tool, then slice and dice the content according to the fairly simple instructions, stick it in ShifD, and read it on your daily commute. If you're a Firefox user, install the Read It Later extension, a cool way to save, sort, and manage Web pages you don't have time to read immediately.

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Steve Bass

PC World (US online)
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