Organising your household documents

Organising your household documentsYou may have a very organised office complete with an alphabetised filing cabinet, to do lists and a different colour pen for every client, but what state are your household documents in?

Keeping bills, pay slips, insurance documents, birth certificates and bank stuff equally as organised as your office is important.

Your all-in-one printer can play a big part in this organisation process.

Scanning your important documents to create a digital filing system is one way to go about doing this. Not only will this save physical space (goodbye unattractive bulky filing cabinet) but will also make it far easier to find specific documents quickly.

Storing your documents on your computer, and then backing them up on an external hard drive, will also give you an additional layer of security.

Begin the process by sorting through your domestic paperwork. This is also a great opportunity to have a clear out. It is recommended that you keep paperwork pertaining to insurance and banking for up to seven years, so get rid of any backlog predating that.

It is important that you shred these documents rather than just throwing them away.

Next, create a filing system on your computer with different folders for different areas – car insurance, home insurance, medical, banking, payslips etc. Within those folders you can then create dated files if necessary.

Scan in your essential documents. These may include medical records, mortgage documents or other contracts, insurance policies, National Insurance details, passports, birth, death and marriage certificates and tax returns.

File them into their own category and voila, your data is safely stored on your computer.

Make sure you keep any originals that are of particular importance, but you should be able to downsize your paper collection enormously.

When backing up your files, consider using an online backup storage system for an additional layer of protection.

Using a password to protect your computer is also a step worth taking and store your external hard drive away from your laptop

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This Time It's Personal...

This Time It's PersonalHere at INKredible we receive offer emails every day from companies we've had dealings with. Problem is, the majority of these have nothing to do with the product we initially bought or, due to the passage of time are now irrelevant.

We don't like this, and we know you guys don’t either.

That’s why when we send you our monthly offers we try our best to make sure each and every one is tailored specifically for you and your printer.

Now, as much as we like to think we have special powers, (I’m looking at you INKredible Barry!), we sometimes need a little help to make sure we are sending you the right offers. This is where our ‘Favourites’ come in.

Simply Log in and click on ‘My Account’ and you will see ‘Your Favourite Categories’. When a product in one of these categories is on offer we’ll send you an email to let you know, nice huh?

If you have changed your printer, or simply no longer want to be notified of special offers for that category just hit that little ‘Remove’ button and voilà it’s gone. When you order for your new printer it will be automatically added to this list and we’ll let you know when it’s time to save.

What’s that I here you say?.. “What if I want to know about the offers before I order?”

Well, in the words of that annoying meerkat, it’s simples! Just find the product you’re interested in on our website, see that little ‘Add to Favourites’ button at the top, click it. Job done! Stick the kettle on and wait for the offers to come rolling in.

 

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Setting up a wireless printer

Setting up a wireless printer

Setting up a wireless printer may seem a little daunting, but actually, it is a lot easier than it may first appear.

Printing companies have been doing a lot recently to make user interaction a lot simpler (which is definitely good news).

First, turn everything on. Your computer/laptop, printer, the kettle, etc.

Next, make sure that you have installed the driver for the printer. This may include connecting your PC to the printer via the USB cable, inserting the accompanying disk or following the directions to the company website.

That's the hard bit done.

Once you have installed the driver, go through the set-up process. The beauty of this part is the fact there will be on-screen step-by-step instructions. Follow them.

At this point, you will probably need the network's name and password in order to connect your printer. Most printers these days have a display screen you can use to enter the Wi-Fi settings and the network's connection information.

Once you have done this, follow the same steps you normally use to add it to your PC’s print menu.

Voila, now you can print to your heart's content.

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Seeking out printer advice – should you trust everything you read on the web?

Seeking out printer advice – should you trust everything you read on the web?

These days the internet is everyone’s first port of call for most things.

If you need a killer recipe for lasagne, the BBC food website has it. If you are desperately trying to remember the name of that kid from Home Alone, IMDB can tell you. If your printer starts chewing paper and spitting it at you in a ball, the internet can probably tell you why.

But can you, or should you, always trust advice from the web?

Here at Inkredible, we thought that we would answer this tricky question by evaluating some of the DIY fix-it jobs that are out there.

We will start with the ridiculous. The bad, although hilarious, advice that is out there, presented as fact.

1. Hit/ kick/ punch it. We know that technology can be extremely frustrating sometimes. When it stops working and you don’t know why, wanting to smash it up is pretty much the go-to reaction. As a method of repair, this rarely works. Occasionally a well aimed blow might get your old TV working, but we would discourage beating on your printer as you are likely to do more harm than good.

2. Take it apart completely. Whilst getting screwdriver happy may seem like a great idea at the time, there is nothing worse than taking something to pieces, 'fixing' the problem, putting it back together and then looking at a small pile of parts or screws that you forgot to put back in. Unless you are a qualified printer repair person, maybe stay away from the tool kit. The chances are, you won't know exactly what the problem is and sticking a screwdriver into the machine may make it worse.

3. Pour water on an overheated printer. No, just no. If you need an explanation for why this is a bad idea, you should probably stop buying technology.

Now that we have established what NOT to do, we can move onto the slightly more sensible options.

If you are having printer trouble, try these options before taking it in for a potentially expensive repair. The following advice is much more reliable than that above!

1. Turn it off and on again. Although this is simple advice, it is good advice. Turning your printer off at the power supply will reset the printer if there is a system error.

2. Check the ink. Yes, we know it’s obvious but if your documents are coming our more grey than black, it may be something as simple as replacing the ink.

3. Open it up. Don't get a screwdriver involved, but just lift the lid. Open the cover of the printer to check for paper jams (your computer will probably alert you if this is the problem). Take care when doing this as the printer may be hot. Free any paper from the printer by moving the necessary levers. Then throw that paper away as it will probably cause another jam if you smooth it out and put it back in. If the paper isn't rolling through the printer properly, check the paper pickup roller. If it has worn itself shiny, there may not be enough friction to pick up the paper and it is time to replace it. If your printer keeps telling you it is out of paper, when there are still a few sheets left in the tray, test the levers your printer uses to sense paper by gently pressing down on them. Some printers may encounter problems if they are running low on paper, so keep your tray full.

4. Check you are running the latest software. Printers, like computers and smartphones may run into problems if there are not running the latest version of software. Check online to see if there are any updates for the driver or the software.

5. Call Us! Now we don't profess to be experts on every kind of printer out there but we have been around a while to pick up some little gems of information. We may just be able to talk you through any problems you are having and save you an expensive trip out for a new printer.

 

The internet can offer great advice, so do check online before you spend money on repairs. If you do decide to fix your printer yourself, be careful not to do any further damage as this may invalidate your warranty. Just remember, if it sounds like a bad idea, it probably is.

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How to clean your printer drum

How To Clean Your Printer Drum

Hey folks. Our recent blog on general printer maintenance got us thinking that it'd be great to offer you some more features and how-to's on printer cleaning.


OK - not the most inspiring of topics we're sure you'll agree, but it might just come in handy one day!

So here's our first one – on cleaning your laser printer drum. The laser printer drum is the major component that dictates print quality, so it's crucial that it is regularly checked.

What is a printer drum?

Simple. The printer drum unit is the big central part of your laser printer. Inside it is the bit that really does all the work – the tube-shaped object that looks a little bit like a really long packet of mints. Or something.

Why should I bother to clean it?

Because it might fix your printer and extend its lifespan. As soon as the drum stops working properly, it would be easy to simply replace it.

But it wouldn't be cheap – have you seen how much they cost!

So it's worth trying to clean the drum first to see if this can remedy the problem - so not only is it good practice to clean your printer's drum, it could make it last for longer, too.

Easy to clean - step-by-step

If you start having printing problems - such as sketchy or blotchy prints – it could be a sign the drum needs a once-over.

Cleaning your printer's drum unit doesn't have to be expensive - all you need is some elbow grease and a few bits and bobs.

An important point: when cleaning, it is really important not to use anything that may damage the inner drum. This could cause damage to your printer - and we don't want that.

If you have print quality problems, clean the drum unit as follows:

1. Get yourself some tweezers, a soft cloth and rubbing alcohol

2. Turn the power off to your printer and consult the manufacturer's guidelines to see if there's anything specific you need to know about when it comes to cleaning the machine

3. Remove the drum unit from the printer - with great care. Drums are very sensitive so it's important not to damage them. Remove carefully and place on a safe surface

4. Remove any chunks of toner with the tweezers. Bits of toner breaking off and embedding themselves in the drum unit is a big cause of problem prints. If you spot any, gently remove them using the tweezers (or pliers, or something similar)

5. Next, apply some rubbing alcohol to the soft cloth and (gently now) clean the drum unit. Then, give it a final once-over before popping it back in the machine. Simple, huh?

Finally, conduct a test print to see if your cleaning has worked. We hope you find that it has. If not, it's likely there's something else wrong with the drum and you may need to replace it.

But the important thing to remember is that if your printer starts playing up, don't assume you need to start shelling out and replacing parts. A quick clean might do the trick.

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Buying a scanner

Buying a scanner

While for many of us, printers are associated with the worlds of work and business, a lot of people use scanners for the fun side of life.

You can guarantee the kids will find some creative things to do with them. Their drawings can suddenly be made to live on a PC, where all the artistic possibilities of the many pieces of painting software available these days await them.

But of course scanners are also invaluable when it comes to tasks such as emailing documents to people.

Some of the different brands you might see on a trip to your local electronics store or during a browse on the internet include Canon, HP and Epson.

Aside from brand, scanners also come in many shapes and sizes and can offer an array of different features, not all of which are useful to all users.

Film scanners, for example, can capture the likes of negatives, as the name suggests.

Some scanners throw in a printer as well - perhaps an option to go for if you are currently without one, but possibly an unnecessary extra if you already have one.

Meanwhile, flatbed scanners offer perhaps the classic scanner "look" and do most of the things you would expect of such a device - they're also more commonly seen than other scanner varieties.

It's possible to pick up a scanner for a very attractive price indeed these days. You may well end up with change from a £50 note.

One feature you'll see referred to often is resolution - though cheaper models do not always have lower resolution than their pricier alternatives.

Though resolution can be measured in "dpi" which sounds complicated, this translates into the reassuringly old-fashioned sounding "dots per inch".

Put simply, more "dpi" means a scanner can snap things into the digital world in greater detail.

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Making prints from Microsoft Word

Making prints from Microsoft Word

Many people spend a lot of their computing time staring at word processing software like Microsoft Word, and it seems likely that for a lot of people the trusty text-based tool is their most commonly used computer programme.

But even then, they may not know all the secrets there are to printing efficiently from its easily recognisable screen.

Most regular Microsoft Word users will know, for example, that some easy ways of making the text they're typing make its way, as if by magic, onto a sheet of paper, include using the printer-shaped icon or heading to the File menu and employing the Print command.

(For best results, we do recommend having a printer linked to your computer beforehand, however....)

Those with eagle eyes may also have spotted that, when they undertake the above File menu and Print adventure, the letters "Ctrl+P" appear on the menu, too.

To help people for whom this apparently odd code is still shrouded in mystery, we can reveal that this is in fact an instruction, letting you know that if you press the Control key (or Ctrl) and the letter P on your keyboard, you can print documents without even touching your mouse.

Of course, even before you print, if you're working on a document that you might want to put on paper later, it could be wise to use the Print Layout feature, to get a better idea of how it will finally look.

Head to the View menu and change your preference from Normal Layout or Web Layout to Print Layout in order to achieve this.

There's also the handy Print Preview tool, which can be accessed from the File menu. This is great for getting a quick, distanced overview of your work. Once you've taken a glance at how your handy work will appear on paper, to exit the preview (which you'll need to do if you want to continue working), head to the Close button on the left hand side.

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Have an INKredible wedding

Have an INKredible wedding

With the average spend on a British wedding coming in at a staggering £18,500 (according to a few dodgy sites we came across on the web!), finding ways to make your money go further is a key concern for most brides. Printing your own wedding invitations could save you hundreds of pounds as the average spend on wedding stationery alone is an exorbitant £465. 

There are a number of benefits to printing your own invitations. Along with saving yourself a lot of money, you are guaranteed to be sending completely original and unique invitations. Investing in high quality paper, card or photo paper will give your wedding invitations a professional and high quality finish. The beauty of making your own invitations also means that you will be able to match your colour scheme perfectly and won’t have a last minute panic attack when the invitations arrive looking considerably more royal blue than navy. 

Homemade invites also give you completely free reign over the font you choose to use- many online invitation businesses only offer around ten different fonts. If you are having a themed wedding, you may well be able to find a font that typifies that theme (excuse the pun!). Using your own printer also allows you to print in colour or add photos or images, something that most companies will charge you extra for. 

Making your own wedding stationery gives you the option of adding additional material into the envelope before it is sent off so why not include any directions to venues, dietary concerns or even a photo of yourself and your future spouse.
 

Think it sounds like too much to do for one person? Enlist your bridal party to help you one evening - crack open a couple of bottles of wine and turn this project into a fun activity. 

After having saved yourself a small fortune so far, why stop there? By printing your own order of service, table numbers and place cards, you can ensure that all your wedding stationery is consistent without breaking the bank. After the wedding you can even use the same style of stationery to send out thank you letters without having to fork out even more money after your big day.

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How to make the most of the 'Print' window

How to make the most of the 'Print' window

You may well see this fellow every day - especially if you're a regular printer user.

He's a rectangular bundle of fun who's very much around to come to the rescue of those that need to print documents - but have specific requirements for doing so.

We're talking, of course, about that wonderful box of printer tricks, the Print window.

Despite the fact that we're giving the impression there's only one of these helpful critters, it would be more accurate to describe Print windows as a family, with varied brothers and sisters living in different programs.

Today we tackle a Microsoft Word incarnation. We've already dealt with some of the basics of printing in Word in a previous blog. But however you prefer to print your documents in Word, you'll be seeing the friendly Print window before too long.

Taking in his features from the top, the first thing you'll spot is the drop-down menu that lets you choose which printer you want to send your document to.

We've probably lost count of the times that something failed to print because we'd made the obvious mistake of sending it to the wrong printer. So whenever you print in a new environment, it's always advisable to check this little line out before you begin.

If your preferred printer isn't showing up, you can also always try and search it out with the help of the nearby 'Find Printer' button, too.

Most people will be familiar with the 'Copies' section of the Print window, where you can quickly type in how many prints you're after, rather than re-printing several times. 

One of the most useful areas for when things go wrong (among other occasions), meanwhile, is the 'Page range' box. Selecting 'Pages' here is useful for the (hopefully rare) occasions when a page emerges from your printer with an error on it.

Just type in the page you want to print, and you avoid wasting paper by re-printing your entire document.

The 'Properties' button, meanwhile, leads to a whole selection of useful features, that could probably fill a blog on their own!   

On this occasion we'll just highlight one very useful feature. Sometimes, a document you're printing will have colour elements, but, for whatever reason, you want to save the ink in your coloured cartridges. Perhaps you're simply printing a draft copy at this stage.

In this scenario, simply go into 'Properties', open the 'Color' tab and tick 'Print in Grayscale'. 'OK' your choice and you'll have saved your precious coloured ink for another day.

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What to do if you lose power in the middle of a print job

What to do if you lose power in the middle of a print job

Yes, we know, it's not the 1970s anymore. It's rare to face the prospect of a real black-out. Then again, things do sometimes go awry, even in the normally candy-floss-flavoured world of printing (not an invitation to lick your print cartridges).

Chances are, if power goes AWOL when you're partway through printing something, this could be caused by a cable coming out of the back of either your printer or your PC or Mac.

If this has happened, turn off the power at the plug, then re-attach the power cable into its correct socket. If in doubt, check the instructions on this point.

Once power is restored (remember to turn the plug back on after you've set everything up correctly) you may be faced with a printer that's partway through coughing up one of your pages.

If you're lucky, the printer will work this out for itself, and will get rid of the page for you once you restore power. The page will only be half-printed but you can't have everything…

If the printer doesn’t let go of your page of its own accord, then please do not try to pull it out by force – this potentially will only get you into a mess, and could leave you with bits of torn paper clogging up your printer's innards – not a good look.

If you do this, the worst case scenario would be a broken printer – and every time a printer breaks, we at INKredible get heart palpitations. Please do not do this to us.

Again, it's a good idea to fish out your instruction book (or, if you've been good, pick it up from the easily accessible spot where you always keep it, for ease of reference).

If you are still stuck, you should be able to make your printer give up its papery hostage by printing something else.

If you go into Word, type some random lines (we suggest a sonnet about INKredible) and then print that, the printer will get its act together and you'll be back in business.

But what to do about the half-finished print job?

It's doomed.

Nope, we're kidding, it's fine (sorry, we do like to josh). Rather than printing everything out again (what a bore) you'll easily be able to print from a certain point in your work.

For example, if you were printing from a webpage, you could select the text that has not yet printed, then tick the 'selection' box when the print window pops up.

If you were printing a document from word, why no re-print, but use the 'pages' feature in the print option window, where you can type in the pages you want printing.

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