Saturday, July 7, 2012

Ecofont Program Review

There are several software programs (such as Ecofont and Dimples) on the market that claim to reduce the environmental and economic impact of printing documents and images. These programs achieve their savings by putting small holes into the characters, which reduces the ink usage. Some of the programs also come with additional cost saving features, such as being able to print without images or in gray scale. 

I finally had some time to sit down and test the ink savings of Ecofont Home Edition. The company’s website claims that the software program can save up to 50% on ink when printing by converting fonts into Ecofont, printing images in gray scale or removing images from printed documents. 

The program can convert Times New Roman, Calibri, Arial, Trebuchet MS, and Verdana. I used these fonts on the same document that I used when testing standard Word fonts. The results are below.

The ink usages of Ecofonts compared to standard fonts.

To find the total page coverage, APFill was used with a default paper size of 300dpi.
If you would like to see the standard page that was used, please contact me.

Using the test document, there was on average a 30% ink savings when using the Ecofont program. It is interesting that Garamond, a Microsoft default font, performed slightly better than Ecofont Times New Roman. This difference is explained by the difference in character size and does not reflect negativity on the Ecofont program. I was also initially a skeptic on the print quality of Ecofont, but it was surprisingly readable on the screen and on printed documents. 

A screen capture of Ecofont Times New Roman 11pt.
The program also comes with other features that help with ink savings, including the ability to print in gray scale, to print selected text, and to print documents without images. While these features are located on one easy to use menu, they are not unique to Ecofont. These settings can be accessed for free in Microsoft Word by changing Printer Properties or Word Options. 

The savings options menu for the Ecofont program.
Overall, I was impressed with the Ecofont program. I really liked how it converted the fonts during the printing process, which made it easier to type a document without being distracted by the hazy characters. The program is also great because it puts many ink saving features into one convenient place. However, I cannot recommend that individuals purchase the program at its current price. Since many of the ink saving features are already a part of Microsoft Word or your printer preferences and there are free fonts that have similar ink savings, it does not seem like wise $24.95 investment for an individual. I would be interested in seeing what savings could be seen in large organizations, since there are often greater restrictions on what fonts can be used for business communications. 

1 comment:

  1. There's a mystery about large organsiations which is why they use Word; why pay licence fees to Microsoft or Adobe when free and often open source alternatives exist? Open source software particularly suits colleges with their admin offices that have to pay licence fees and their students who can't afford the new hardware that comes with free-ish bundled copies of Word.

    If your college refuses to move to Open Office or any such, then there is an Adbobe program called Leanprint which only works with newer versions of Microsoft and Adobe software. It suggests layouts for readable pages as well cheaper choices of legible type. Price by quoteation.

    I've mentioned some of the other ink saving softare on but have not got any further.

    Thanks for your test of Ecofont, which is the only one I have seen