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Printing From Mac OS X Without Going Bankrupt

One thing about buying a new(ish) MacBook Pro loaded with Tiger: they really aren’t cutting a lot of corners. This includes in the area of resource usage (see e.g. memory usage, as you buy another gig of RAM). This, of course, is done in the name of an “Insanely Great” user experience, and mostly, it works.

One difference from Windows is that the Mac, when printing, defaults to the best mode possible on our big office multifunction color laser printer; in this case, it’s fully glossy color. Those of you who’ve ever had to buy toner for such a printer are now wincing: it is damn expensive.

In Windows, it seemed, I had to opt in to print in color. I’d like to run the same sort of system on my Mac.

Well, as it happens, this is one sad case where the Mac requires you to know more about how the OS works than does Windows. Specifically, we want to use a feature of “Quartz” (the graphical engine) to convert colors to greyscale before sending them to the printer. Do it like this:

  1. Open a print dialog with command-P.
  2. It should show a box with pulldowns at top for “Printer” and “Presets”
    1. Make sure you’re working with the Printer in question.
    2. You’re probably using Standard Presets — that’s fine for now.
  3. In the middle is a third pulldown that says “Copies & Pages.”
    1. Choose it and change to “ColorSync.”
    2. Set a “Quartz Filter” to greyscale or black & white (maybe test each to see what works best).
  4. When satisfied, go up to “Presets” and save your settings under a name like “dreary grey.”
  5. Keep this selected and it should now show up as your default settings for this printer.

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