Quick Guide To Printer Etiquette

Many of us has to deal with evil office printers at work, some more than others. It's bad enough dealing with printer errors, "'PC Load Letter'? What the fuck does that mean?", paper jams, etc – but some people seem to feel the need to add themselves to the list of possible printer problems. Here are some things that you can do to avoid being one of these work-place annoyances:

  • Don't walk away from an empty printer – If you used up all the paper or toner, fix it. Add paper. Add toner. Whatever. If you don't know how to do these, then you shouldn't be using the printer.
  • Don't walk away with someone else's prints – Double check that you have your print and only yours before walking away from the printer with a stack of paper. There are few things more frustrating than trying to track down who stole your printout.
  • Try not to monopolize the printer – unless it's in your own office, it's not your printer. If people are frequently waiting for your print jobs to finish so they can get their own, you're abusing your printing privileges (and most likely printing way more than you need to be. STOP KILLING TREES!) If you really need to do that much printing, ask about getting your own printer.
  • Leave printouts that aren't yours in the 'output bin/tray' – Once again, if it's not yours, don't mess with it. There are people that I work with that think they need to take other people's printouts out of the output tray and set them on top of the printer. Unfortunately, this leads to papers getting knocked off the printer by other people, or by pages coming out of the printer. Just leave them alone!
  • If you put in colored or special paper, take it out when you're done – most people don't want to walk to the printer and find out that they need to reprint their important *whatever* because someone left 4 sheets of salmon colored paper in the printer.

The list could go on and on – but the general idea is: be considerate, be responsible, and don't mess with stuff that isn't yours.

Have an addition to the list? Add it in the comments below. 🙂

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  1. spudart said,

    It's amazing how so many people don't know these rules. Or maybe they do know, but they don't care.

    One big pet peeve of mine is when people take papers out of the output tray, they put them back in upside-down or in a different order. Drives me nuts. Sometimes they'll take stuff out as it's coming out and then just kinda put it back in haphazardly.

    Wait for the printouts to finish printing, before you take them off the printer.

    Another trick I use (i tend to be a heavy printer user) is that I save all my personal printouts as postscript files on my computer. Then after the work day is done (im usually here late) then I drag the postscript files over to the printer and nail them all out at once. That way, I'm not getting in anyone's way. And nobody messes with the order of my printouts. PLUS, every couple months I take all the postscript files and convert them over to PDFs. Then I have a searchable library of everything I've printed out.

    August 25, 2009 @ 1:12 pm

  2. unlikelymoose said,

    Spudart beat me to the punch. My number one pet peeve with printers is when people rearrange the order that stuff prints out. Sometimes it's necessary for me to keep my prints in a specific order and if some dope moves the papers around, then my prints are worthless because I won't know what is what. So I suggest that an amendment be made to your Printer Etiquette guide to say that the order of prints from the printer should not be rearranged.

    August 26, 2009 @ 8:18 am

  3. sparx said,

    The comments are officially… OFFICIALLY part of the "quick guide", so, you just did add it! YAY! 😛

    August 26, 2009 @ 8:30 am

  4. Tom said,

    Great tips! These could be applied to public washing machines too!

    August 26, 2009 @ 9:16 am

  5. sparx said,

    Tom – If someone throws paper and toner in with my laundry… oh man.

    August 26, 2009 @ 9:18 am

  6. spudart said,

    Why does the digg button show no diggs? I dugg this earlier this week.

    August 27, 2009 @ 5:22 pm

  7. sparx said,

    because you submitted a link straight to your comment.. it's registering as a unique url. doh!

    August 27, 2009 @ 7:06 pm

  8. kim said,


    If you jam the printer, do not just leave it sit there. Unjam it or ask for help!

    September 2, 2009 @ 11:29 am

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