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Tips for Successful Printing of Digital Layouts and Scrapbook Printables

Helping you get the best scrapbooking print results possible.

QUESTION: How do I get an edge-to-edge print from my printer?

Answer: You must own a printer that is programmed to print edge-to-edge. If you are unsure, consult your manufacturer's Web site to find specifics about your printer.

Free Movie:
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Windows Media Version
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Setting up a your wide format printer to print 12x12 cardstock edge-to-edge. (.mov) Setting up your wide format printer to print 12x12 cardstock edge-to-edge. (.wma)
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Note: You must have a wide-format printer to print 12x12 edge-to-edge documents.

  • Demonstrated with a Canon i9100 printer. Test results with various brands of paper using this technique and cardstock all return excellent edge-to-edge and print quality results. This printer has been recently replaced by the i9900, but we understand that it functions in much the same way as the i9100.

  • This technique has been tested with the Epson 2200 and it works fairly well. You will have a small 1/8" white edge on the right and on the bottom of the 12x12 cardstock, which you will need to trim off. However, the print quality with plain cardstock is not as satisfactory with the Epson. This printer gets the best results if you use Epson's paper.
Download a pre-formated Word document that will allow you to print out 12x12 (if you have a wide format printer) here. (Right-click on link and choose "Save Target" to download.)

QUESTION: What is the easiest way to print out my printable background paper?

Answer: The easiest way is to set up a Word document to print edge-to-edge for your background paper (or to get as much print space as your printer will allow). We recommend that you set up a document to print out with no borders at 12x12. Then, when you are ready to print, all you have to do is open the document, insert the new graphic, double-check your printer settings and print!

To make this easier for you, we have recorded a short training movie that will show you how to set this Word document up correctly.

Free Movie:
Quick Time Version
(viewable by both Mac and PC users in all browsers)
Free Movie:
Windows Media Version
(viewable by PC users in Internet Explorer)
Setting up a Word document to print 12x12 edge-to-edge (.mov) Setting up a Word document to print 12x12 edge-to-edge. ( .wma)
Get QuickTime - Free Download
Get Windows Media Player - Free Download

Note: You must have a wide-format printer to print 12x12 edge-to-edge documents.

We have found that you can successfully use this same sized document (12x12) to print edge-to-edge 8.5x11 backgrounds. In fact, we had better results because most of the background JPG graphic files are sized at 12x12 (3600 pix by 3600 pix). As long as you make sure to move your printer's paper holder snug against the edge of your 8.5x11 paper, your printer knows not to print over the edge.

(Note: While we have had successful results using these directions, you may have to experiment to get your particular printer to work correctly.)


QUESTION: How can I get my regular printer to give me as much background print-out as possible?

Answer: If you don't have a printer that will allow edge-to-edge print outs, you can set up a Word document to force your printer to give you the narrowest edge possible by using the method demonstrated in this short training movie.

Free Movie:
Quick Time Version
(viewable by both Mac and PC users in all browsers)
Free Movie:
Windows Media Version
(viewable by PC users in Internet Explorer)
Setting up a Word document so that you will get as much background print as possible from your regular printer. (.mov) Setting up a Word document so that you will get as much background print as possible from your regular printer. ( .wma)
Get QuickTime - Free Download
Get Windows Media Player - Free Download

QUESTION: Are edge-to-edge wide format printers expensive?

Answer: They used to be, but happily you can now purchase them very reasonably now. One of the best sources for printers (where you will pay the lowest prices around) is Provantage.

Check these printers out:

Note: These prices are not guarantees! The prices of printers and models that certain manufacturers are currently offering changes rapidly. We are listing these numbers simply to help provide a frame of reference for you.

It pays to keep your eyes open, though. Sometimes, you will see them for less. I got my wide-format edge-to-edge Canon i9100 for about $240!

Keep in mind that in the long run, you can save money printing your own supplies (not to mention the convenience of being able to print what you need when you need it)! And the print quality of these new printers are so outstanding (with the print results lasting longer than photo-lab processing), that they make a great investment. You can not only print printables edge-to-edge, but you can print photographs edge-to-edge.


QUESTION: I have an Epson printer and I'm having problems getting the printables to look right. Do you have any tips?

Answer: To have the best success with your Epson printer, print out on Epson Photo Quality Ink Jet Paper, use only Epson Inks and make sure your printer driver Paper Choice is set for Photo Quality Ink Jet Paper. You can also try selecting the option "Photo Enhance," which might bump the colors. Epson's printers are also calibrated to work best with their paper, so you may wish to try this, as well.


QUESTION: Do you ever use regular cardstock?

Answer: I've had great success using plain white cardstock - the kind that you can purchase in any scrapbooking store or in your discount store (such as Walmart) when printing 12x12 backgrounds. The quality is equal to that of most printed paper you purchase in regular scrapbooking stores.

If you have something extra-special (such as an embellishment) that you want to really "pop", try using a piece of photograph paper. Don't be afraid to experiment.

The best way to save money and get GREAT prints is to buy inkjet 80 lb cover paper (business supply) by the ream. You can get it at The Paper Mill for just $0.07 a sheet! You can also buy 12x18 sheets there for slightly more (just trim off the extra).


QUESTION: Can you use the printables on any surface other than cardstock or paper?

Answer: There are many great surfaces that you may use with your ink-jet printer. These include transparencies, stickers, special papers such as artist's canvas, velvets and more. Have fun!


"Avoid Hidden Costs When Purchasing a Printer"

Reprinted from Recharger Magazine, March 2003, with permission.

Like many consumers, you may have bought a printer for a great price, only to be shocked by the cost of supplies for your equipment or to learn that you are unable to find good service. These can result in hidden costs that you were probably not aware of when purchasing your printer. In fact, many consumers are surprised and upset to find out exactly how expensive it is to buy the printer manufacturer's cartridges. Fortunately, a free market allows competition, giving you the right to choose compatible or remanufactured cartridges. The following tips can assist you in determining which printer to buy - helping to avoid the hidden costs of printer equipment.

What every potential buyer should consider before investing in new office printing equipment:

- Features
Consider your individual (and office/family) uses and needs to determine which features you should shop for. Ask yourself the following questions: Will I be printing in black and white, or will I need color? How often will I print, and how many pages? Do I print mostly text or graphics? How quickly do I need my jobs printed? How much do the ink or toner cartridges cost, and how many pages does each cartridge print? Are there any other supplies that will require replacement and what are the costs? Is service readily available in my area?

- Cost of Supplies
In terms of long-term, out-of-pocket expense, one of the most important areas to explore is the price of supplies. Many equipment manufacturers rely on a tactic often referred to as FUD - Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt. The manufacturers try to make you believe that your warranty will be voided if you use compatible or remanufactured cartridges. That is not true, and it is not legal.

As a consumer, you deserve to have a choice of supplies. If preserving that choice is important to you, you may want to consider selecting the equipment that presents the least restrictions and support companies that embrace, rather than stifle, competition.

Many printer manufacturers are trying to lock out competition with chips or other unfair technology. We can only hope that in the near future the United States and other countries will follow Europe's lead; directives recently passed there would potentially make anticompetitive devices (such as the lock-out chips) illegal.

For example, printer manufacturer Lexmark has a program that it calls "Prebate". Lexmark claims this is an up-front discount for consumers, but there are many anticompetitive strings attached. Plus, according to industry analysts at Lyra Research, a prominent printer research publication, using these "discounted" cartridges actually costs more per page than regular priced cartridges from other leading equipment manufacturers! So consider the cost of supplies (and the number of pages each prints) before buying, and you can avoid this hidden cost.

- Availability of Service
You shouldn't underestimate the importance of knowing what service and parts are available for your equipment, and where you can get service covered by your warranty. Lexmark, for example, has recently terminated contracts with some of its authorized service providers throughout the United States, which decreases the number of companies that can provide your warranty to work.

If there isn't an authorized service center nearby, you may have to send the printer elsewhere, increasing your costs and downtime, or may even have to pay for the service out of pocket at a non-authorized service center. This can really add up, so consider the service arrangements before you buy.

- Your Best Bet
You should discuss your needs with your service and/or supplies providers before you buy. They can help guide you down the right path in determining what, exactly, each printer offers, or what disappointments (and added costs) it might be hiding!

- by Recharger Magazine, March 2003


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