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Fine Print driver saves paper and ink

technofile  by al fasoldt

Columns and commentaries in a life-long dance with technology

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Fine Print driver saves paper and ink

Technofile for July 13, 1997

By Al Fasoldt

Copyright © 1997, The Syracuse Newspapers

A diet of good quality paper costs money. I know that every time I stop by the big office-supply store and pick up "food" for my printer. Ink cartridges cost even more, about $27 a pop. The twin expenses of paper and ink probably wouldn’t matter if I printed only a few pages a week. But the DeskJet sitting to the side of my PC is networked to my wife’s computer, too, and we each keep paper trails of everything we do. The DeskJet hums all night long.

That adds up to a big bill. Or did, until we started using Fine Print.

Fine Print is $25 program from Single Track One of the tabs in the Fine Print dialog box.Software that makes your PC’s printer do some amazing things. Technically, Fine Print is a "driver"—a piece of software that tells Windows how to handle a piece of hardware. You already have a driver for your printer, which remains untouched. Fine Print shows up in Windows as an additional printer.

Fine Print lets you print two, four or even eight pages of any document on a single sheet of paper. Eight tiny pages of little-bitty words on an 81/2-by-11 sheet of paper aren’t readable, of course, but the two-in-one arrangement always is, and that means you can save 50 percent on all your paper and ink.

Printing what the desktop-publishing industry calls four-up and eight-up (four and eight pages to a sheet) is more useful for judging the looks of pages in a booklet. But I’ve even had good luck printing documentation for a lot of my shareware—which, typically, comes without printed manuals—in the four-up mode. (The type is small, but I have no trouble reading it.)

Fine Print lets you place the pages in portrait or landscape orientation, and will put borders around the enclosed individual pages if you prefer.

Fine Print even could be used all the time, instead of your normal printer driver, because it includes an option to for one-on-one printing, too. An added touch: In any mode, even in the one-on-one format, you can click your mouse and choose to have Fine Print place a watermark across the paper.

Single Track Software, founded by PC-industry veterans Jonathan Weiner and Mark O’Brien, offers Fine Print only as a downloadable file on the World Wide Web.

The download version is crippled, placing the word "registered" on each sheet and limiting its output to 10 pages at a time. When you pay for the software using a secure payment site on the Web, you get a registration key that turns the driver into the normal version without limitations.

Go to to find out more about the software and to download the trial version. Single Track was discounting Fine Print for $19.95 when I checked its home page in early July.

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