I found there are so much excellent answer to questions about how to product high quality typesetting output. But I wonder how to save ink with LaTeX. What we need to think about to manage cost. page layout or something else?

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    Are you trying to reduce (minimize) the number of pages needed to print a given document, or are you trying the minimize the amount of ink needed to produce the document (or, possibly, both)? – Mico Oct 11 '11 at 23:16
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    From a save-your-toner perspective, see: How to replace all pictures by white rectangles? – Werner Oct 11 '11 at 23:28

Perhaps the savetrees package can help with the manage costs portion of the question. Quoting directly from the README:

The goal of the savetrees package is to pack as much text as possible onto each page of a LaTeX document. Admittedly, this makes the document far less attractive. Nevertheless, savetrees is a simple way to save paper when printing draft copies of a document. It can also be useful when trying to meet a tight page-length requirement for a conference or journal submission.

The space saving techniques employed by the savetrees package include:

  1. reduce size of titles and surrounding white space
  2. reduce page margins
  3. reduce indentation and inter-item spacing from lists
  4. increase floats per page
  5. decrease paragraph indentation
  6. use smaller fonts
  7. reduce interline spacing
  8. reduce size of bibliographies
  9. use abbreviations where possible

To manage page layout you should have a look at the geometry package which is also used by the savetrees package to adjust the page margins.

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  • As of 2017, it leads to a lot of package clashes and does not result in a squeezed document. – Santiago Feb 18 '17 at 8:31

Here's another way to save your toner ink in a very general/broad way. Using the eso-pic package you can place any code at page shipout either on top of (in the foreground) or behind (in the background) of the page. By placing a transparent white rectangle in the foreground, the text can be faded to a desired, but still legible, opacity. This is achieved by using \AddToShipoutPictureFG{<code>} which adds <code> to the foreground of every page. The white rectangle is drawn using tikz since it has an easy opacity and page hook interface. The minimal working example (MWE) shows this:

\usepackage{lipsum}% http://ctan.org/pkg/lipsum
\usepackage[margin=1in]{geometry}% http://ctan.org/pkg/geometry
\usepackage{graphicx}% http://ctan.org/pkg/graphicx
\usepackage{tikz}% http://ctan.org/pkg/pgf
\usepackage{eso-pic}% http://ctan.org/pkg/eso-pic
\newcommand{\opacity}{0.2}% Set the opacity level (0=transparent; 0.5=50% fade; 1=opaque)
  \begin{tikzpicture}%[remember picture,overlay]
    \fill[white,opacity=\opacity] (current page.north east) rectangle (current page.south west);
\section{Some section}
  \centering \includegraphics[width=0.8\textwidth]{tiger}

By varying the value of \opacity, you can change the opacity of the overlaid white rectangle. The images below show the first page of the MWE with \opacity set to 0, 0.2, 0.5 and 0.9:

Save some ink!

I would assume that this type of feature is present will most printers. However, if you forget to change this setting, or don't know where to find it in your print dialog, then the above would save some ink.

The use of graphicx, geometry and lipsum was just to add some substance to the MWE.

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If you're OK with the look of the "Kepler" fonts, you could issue the command


in your document's preamble to save ink. The user guide of the package notes that the light versions of the kpfonts text and math fonts have the same metrics as the "normal" weight ones and that "the print is fine if you like light fonts". In addition, with "the light option, the print is better than the display!" I guess what the creators of the kpfonts package are recommending, perhaps, is to use the regular ["non-light"] font weight for on-screen display and to use the light weight just for printing. (Again, this will work because the medium and light fonts share the same font metrics.) Happy TeXing!

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You can use Ecofont Vera Sans, which has tiny holes cut out of the glyph strokes to use less ink:


Ecofont is part of a software package that creates this effect on all your fonts. But it only works in MS Office on Windows.

Century Gothic is another light font that uses less toner per glyph than average.

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  • "Currently Ecofont Software is not compatible with Mac OS, we are planning to develop a version for Mac OS in future.". System requirements seem to be Windows + MSOffice (only Word and Outlook). So I don't think this would work as a TeX solution, even for Windows. – Alan Munn Oct 12 '11 at 0:34
  • hmph. I just assumed there was a TrueType file. Sorry! – Matthew Leingang Oct 12 '11 at 0:59
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    It is really weird to have an "ecofont" that is not freely available. – percusse Oct 12 '11 at 1:33
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    I (partially) take back my comment. It looks like there is a free ecofont version of Vera Sans here: ecofont_vera_sans but other than that, the software is as I described. – Alan Munn Oct 12 '11 at 3:48
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    Ha! This font isn't that eco. In normal font size the font is unreadable (see here: castor-und-pollux.de/2009/02/…). So you have to set the font larger than normal. Which means you will need much more paper. It's is better to use a narrow font in light gray to save toner and paper. – schmendrich Feb 29 '12 at 10:55

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