Your computer printer probably lives a boring little life: perhaps churning out a letter or term paper form time to time, or a spreadsheet for work, or — on days that are particularly exciting for your printer — a few color pictures from your digital camera.
There are certainly ways to use your printer that you haven’t thought of, and that could add spice to your printer’s dull life. The key to expanding the usefulness of your printer is a simple two-word Google search, a search that includes one word that you may not have heard before.
That phrase is “free printable”.
A variety of web sites offer free “printable” templates. For instance, a small business owner can choose from hundreds of printable business cards: you can download a template that you like, add your name and contact information using Microsoft Word, and print out new business cards in a matter of moments.
Printable coloring pages can provide instant, artistic fun for children and parents even when there aren’t any coloring books around. Printable coloring pages are simply black-and-white illustrations that can be printed and colored with crayons.
Printable signs are another useful tool: when you need to put up yard sale flyer or “Beware of Dog” sign, a printable sign template can provide a quick way to create a professional-looking sign without fussing with page layout software.
Your printer is already perking up at the possibilities, isn’t it? After printing out a dozen drafts of an essay about Moby Dick, the idea of creating colorful business cards or cartoon coloring pages might make your printer squirt a little bit of ink in anticipation.
Certificates are another fun and useful type of printable. A number of web sites offer award certificates that you can print. Teachers can quickly produce a “Star Student” or “Perfect Attendance” certificate, while a business manager can print a “Certificate of Training” or “Employee of the Month” certificate. Or a kid could create a “World’s Best Dad” certificate.
Your printer can also help you work on projects that require special paper, by turning your plain white paper into something more. For instance, if you need graph paper but don’t have a pad of it on hand, a “printable paper” can provide a number of styles of graph paper. Similarly, you can jot down a composition on printable music staff paper, or do financial calculations on printable columnar ledger paper.
So the next time your printer is acting sullen and under-appreciated, take some time to explore the Web for the world of “free printables” that are available. You’ll find uses for your printer that you had never considered.