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Encouraging or enforcing black and white (grayscale) printing

🔎 Find this feature in the admin interface: Configure > Reduce Waste > Promote Black and White / Auto Black and White

You know when you walk into the conference room and sheepishly hand out the most beautiful looking, lavishly colored, and overly professional meeting agenda notes? We’ve all done it, and I’ve certainly wished that someone was there to remind me ‘Hey, this is just going to be used in a 20 min meeting, print it it black and white!’.

With PaperCut Pocket and Hive, you can suggest black and white printing or force black and white printing. If this is your organization’s first time applying printing rules around toner and ink-saving, then start your revolution off gently with suggestions - hopefully people will do the right thing! People generally have an (ahem) inkling that they don’t need to print in color, but sometimes a reminder in-app is worth its weight in gold!

What’s the difference between enforcing and encouraging?

  • Promoting and encouraging printing behavior - This option lets you suggest black and white (grayscale) printing to your users, depending on what they are printing. However, they can override this suggestion using the mobile app (or the MFD login when using PaperCut Hive) and choose to continue to print the document in color if they prefer. This is a great way to remind people to print in grayscale without too much inconvenience!
  • Automatically applying (enforcing) printing behavior - This option lets you automatically convert your users’ documents to black and white. Your users won’t get a choice in the matter, but you can also optionally choose to notify your users about the change when they release their job - that way they’re not surprised when they see the document has been printed in black and white instead of color!

Promoting black and white (grayscale) printing

Head into the Gentle section of Reduce Waste to find the options for promoting black and white printing. This method will pop up a suggestion when the user is releasing their print job - for example, ‘Converting your document to black and white is a great step towards our company’s environmental goals this year!’. The user can then either Convert to B&W or Keep in Color.

Options available Description of the behavior
How often to prompt Use the sliding scale to set the frequency that prompts are displayed. You might want to encourage users before 100% of their jobs printed through PaperCut Pocket or Hive, or you might want a smaller percentage - it all depends on how often your users print and how often you think they should see the message. An occasional hint can be helpful, whereas relentless nagging could become annoying!
Size of document to prompt for The more pages in a document, the more you save by choosing 2-sided. For example, you can customize the suggestion to only apply to documents of 10 pages or more.
Customize the message your users see Add a custom message to help remind your users of the good that can be done by saving on color ink. Maybe there’s an environmental goal that your organization is working towards that is worth a mention in the message, to sway their choice!
Screenshot showing the options for promoting grayscale / black and white printing.
Promoting black and white printing by popping up a suggestion to users when they print documents in color.

Automatically convert documents to black and white / grayscale

Head into the Blunt section of Reduce Waste to find the options for converting all documents to black and white automatically. This method also optionally pops up a notification to let the user know that their document has been converted.

Options available Description of the behavior
Select the users to apply the rule to You can select which users have their documents automatically converted to black and white. Maybe there’s a marketing group that needs to print posters and other materials in full color (wow, they really get all the fun don’t they!). You can exclude those users in this case.
Action Choose whether or not to notify the user that their document has been converted to grayscale. In most environments, we’d recommend this since it gives the user the chance to cancel the document if for some reason this won’t work for them!
Customize the message your users see Let your users know that their document has been converted to black and white, and also let them know why. That can greatly help people understand the change; they can react in completely different ways if they know it’s for a good cause or a good reason!
Screenshot showing the options for forcing users to print in grayscale / black and white.
Automatically convert all your users’ print jobs to black and white. In this case the user will also get a handy popup to let them know that the document is now black and white!

Grayscale / black and white printing frequently asked questions (FAQs)

When does the user see the notification?
When the user goes to release their print job from the mobile app, (or if they’re using PaperCut Hive, from the MFD or copier), they’ll see the notification about the conversion. If you’ve selected auto-convert with the notify option, they’ll see the notification and they can then select Print anyway. If you’re using the promotion method, then they’ll see the notification as well as the options to Keep in Color or Convert to B&W - it’s their choice!
Can I enforce suggestions or automatic conversions based on user groups?
Sooooon. It’s not in the product at the moment - but we’re working on it!
Does the percentage of jobs apply to the percentage of all jobs, or to a % of jobs per user?

Good question! The percentage applies to the overall organization’s jobs - so just like the claw-grabber game in the arcade at the end of the pier, there’s a certain amount of luck involved.

In theory if you set the percentage to 25% and your organization prints a lot but one person prints once a month - they could by complete chance, never see that suggestion popup. However, the higher the percentage used, the chances of not seeing the suggestion dramatically decrease, the more the person prints. I feel a mathematical white paper coming on…

Can’t I just let my users choose their format when they release their job?
Absolutely - even if you don’t use any of these suggestions or auto-conversions when releasing their print job, users can always use their mobile app (or if they’re using Hive, the device screen) to change a document from color to black and white!