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We have a bad problem of people forgetting/not caring enough to print handout versions of sometimes very large powerpoint presentations.

Is there a way to force them to print handout versions of powerpoint slides that have 6 or 9 per page? It would save us a ton of both paper and money!


Edit: Maybe a good compromise would just be a message box that pops up everytime a powerpoint document is printed reminding them? I guess it would be probably good enough to have it just default to handouts and let them change it if they really want to waste all the money.

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It seems like management needs to get involve and communicate the costs of not conforming to corporate guidelines ... or to communicate the benefits of following the guidelines.

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We're dealing with students here. I'm trying to avoid a solution that invovles social engineering. We've tried convincing people to not do this but they continue. They are responsible for some of the cost but it's still an issue. – bobber205 Dec 3 '09 at 1:46
Problem: The students don't care. Solution: Make them care. Make them pay the full cost. It worked at my University. – MikeyB Dec 3 '09 at 3:23
The problem is right now the students only find out the cost to them at the end of the school year. And they only pay it then. In the meantime the costs are eaten by the school. – bobber205 Dec 3 '09 at 3:54
@bobber205, instead of disabling printing of some file types. Perhaps you need to find a solution that reports cost of the job to the student before the print job is accepted by the printer? – Zoredache Dec 3 '09 at 7:08
I don't see why the fact that the users who aren't following the guidelines are students matters. Students are at your institution to learn. Educate them about the costs per page up front at the start of the course. Let them know that failing to follow the guidelines will effect their grade. In the corporate world not following guidelines/policies would have consequences. – Mike Chess Dec 3 '09 at 13:38

Make them pay for print jobs that don't conform to corporate guidelines.

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It's possible, depending on the print server, to create a custom filter to do this. This could be done in a standard UNIX lpd setup. The filter could scan the submitted file, look for hints that it's a PowerPoint document, and then pipe it through the likes of enscript or mpage and then pass it onto the printer.

This, however, this is a nasty kludge that I'd never want to take on. I agree with others, in that per-page accounting an billing is the only reasonable solution to this problem. If people bear the true costs of printing, then they'll think twice before submitting such jobs.

If you search "print server" and "by document type" you find some interesting products. For example, this product will police the printing of color documents by document type. So I assume that there are obscure off-the-shelf solutions, or you could contract such a vendor to provide the solution you desire.

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Is there no script that can be run in Group Policies for Office 07? I can only affect the client machines. Access to the print server is not going to happen in my lifetime. <_< – bobber205 Dec 3 '09 at 3:53
How is it that you have access to Group Policies but not the print server? – joeqwerty Dec 3 '09 at 4:36
I have access to group policies on the local machine. We basically have administrative acccess to the local box and that's about it. We're in the library so a good portion of all printing goes through us. We could ask the higher ups to do this (I am planning on trying tomorrow, I am only a student worker and I will have to rely on my boss to actually do the asking) but they take forever to accomplish anything. The chances of them really doing this is very small. Especially since it seems like its a non trivial task. – bobber205 Dec 3 '09 at 6:47

Is there in fact an AUP that details appropriate use of the printers? If so, does it fall under your authority to enforce the AUP? No offense, but I take umbrage with IT people who take it upon themselves to enforce their own "green" agenda. If it's not your job and you have legitimate concerns then you should take those concerns to the person who's job it is to enforce the AUP. Also, if the students have to pay the cost at the end of the semester, then it's really not costing the school anything is it? Yes, the school has to float the cost until the student pays, but that's the cost of being in business. When I provide goods or services to a customer they don't pay me on the spot. I Invoice them, give them 30 days to pay the invoice, and I float the cost of providing those goods or services until they pay. That's my cost of doing business but at the end of the day it doesn't "cost" me anything as long as the customer pays the invoice.

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To add to my answer: I'm not the corporate police squad. My company has an AUP that states the accepteable and appropriate use of technology. It's my job to employ and implement the tools required to report on the use of said technology and to provide that data to my superior. It's not my job to determine who is or who isn't following the AUP and it certainly isn't my job to enforce or insure compliance with the AUP. – joeqwerty Dec 3 '09 at 4:49
It's nice that you have such a well-defined position in the grand machine...but things aren't usually so easy at an educational institution, especially a public one. – phoebus Dec 3 '09 at 6:09
I'd wager that there's a very defined management structure at most educational institutions. Whether I agree with the poster or not regarding his concerns, my point is that there is a chain of command that needs to be followed and respected and we can't let our personal beliefs circumvent that chain. If I have concerns about someone's paper usage (or anything else for that matter), I take those concerns to my boss and he deals with it from there. If you're in IT how would you respond to every user who has a contrary idea taking it upon themself to "manage" things the way they see fit? – joeqwerty Dec 3 '09 at 12:26

Idea 1
I'm not sure if you can do this via GPO, but I'd suggest making the default print settings for the system 2-up or 4-up.

At every educational institution I've been to (student or visitor), there's always a print preview that appears - at which point the student should be able to realize his printing will be shrunken to fit to the multi-up format, and change it from there.

Idea 2
At least in Office 2k3, you can change Tools->Options->Print to do 'Handouts (6 slides per page)' and 'Grayscale'.

If you made the change there, and then copied the normal template to all user accounts, it should carry-over.

Might want to make it part of the standard system image, too.

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