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Printing at UB: An Insider’s Guide

Article and photo by Blake Cooper

Published October 8, 2015

Blake Cooper (UB Student, Class of 2016) is originally from Canandaigua, NY. He is studying Spanish, Linguistics and Comparative Literature, and beginning work on translating an Argentinian novel into English.

By now you’ve navigated the early semester printing rush and with any luck you’ve still got most of your 650-page print quota left. UBIT News spoke to one UBIT public service sites insider who offered up some tips on staying print savvy all semester long.

Steven Makioka is something of a fixture in UB’s public computing sites. Steven, a student in UB’s School of Dental Medicine and public computing site student supervisor, has been with UBIT for five years.

“I’ve had professors tell me I’ve worked here longer than they have,” Steven said. And with that longevity comes wisdom; that’s why we asked Steven for his advice on how to get the most out of printing at UB. 

Sage advice

Steven’s first piece of advice shouldn’t come as a surprise: always plan ahead.

“I always print stuff out in advance and then have something ready to work on while I wait,” Steven said.

This simple advice can be extremely helpful given the unpredictable nature of printing. While most of us might assume that printing congestion is mainly due to students printing lengthy class materials, the printing queues can be affected by a surprising array of things totally unrelated to student activity.

“The big thing is when professors choose to release class notes,” Steven offers as an example. “Sometimes the notes for a class come out a couple hours before class, and then everyone’s in a rush to print before class starts.” Steven says the busiest hours are typically between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. Monday through Friday, so it’s best to avoid the breaks between classes (20 and 50 minutes after the hour) during these times in case there’s a rush to print newly-released notes.

Steven offered a range of helpful advice to keep in mind while printing. Here are some highlights:

  • Check the printer settings. “It never hurts to check and make sure you’re printing to the right place,” Steven said. Public computers are usually set to print to the nearest printing location, but checking that you’re not accidentally printing in color could also save your quota.
  • Download files before printing them. Printing directly from the Internet takes up unnecessary bandwidth and slows down the process. Steven recommends downloading files first and then printing.
  • Files rejected for being too big? Re-save them as PDF. Sometimes a large Word or PowerPoint document can be reduced in size by making it a PDF.
  • Speaking of PowerPoint… get rid of “embellishments.” High-resolution backgrounds and images make printing slower, and animations often print each transition on a new slide, taking up more of your quota. Even better: print multiple slides per page, saving time, your quota and the environment!

There are a variety of printing locations on campus, from UBIT public service sites and departmental labs to Campus Living computer labs, and available hours vary... be sure to check which location is right for you at a given time.

For more information on printing at UB, check out our service guides.