About Computers for Newbies & Everyone Else

September 27, 2011

Online Receipts

Cyril from Northern Virginia wrote me with a great question a few weeks ago. He wanted to know how to save a little paper and ink when he orders items online. He figured there must be some ways to save some money with receipt printing.

You know the drill if you have ordered online from Ebay, Kohl’s or just about any other business you can think of. You first go step-by-step. You pick out your item, the size, color, material, capacity, USB size, etc. Then you need to check out. So you go to “entering your payment information”, have that verified and finally “Print Receipt for your records” or some such advice pops up. I personally always print a copy of my receipts at least until I receive the item since things can occasionally fall through the cracks…even with an online purchase. Can you believe that?

If you order online, you often have quite a stack of paper once you are done. As Cyril pointed out… gas, food, medical costs, printer ink and everything else is going up all the time. Our paychecks do not seem to be heading up nearly as quickly. He wants to save anywhere he can so cutting out using his printer unless he “needs to” is an advantage. Since most people who order “trash” their paper receipts after they receive and are satisfied with their purchase, this is a waste which we can easily overcome technologically.

When you are in your browser and you complete your order, simply click the “Print” statement as you normally would. Your windows print window will open. Look at the first drop-down menu titled, “Name”. The names are a list of all of the printers that you have available to your computer. Your default printer will be selected and should be the one you always use. Most likely you will see others and you may have no idea what they are or what they do. If you search online for them you can find out about them. Some applications install their own print drivers which could appear in your printer list. Do not worry about them and do not delete them.

The one you should select to print to is titled, “Microsoft XPS Document Writer” or something very similar with the “XPS” in the name. This should be installed on all windows computers in current use. Using the XPS format you will be asked to save the file on your computer after you click “OK” to print the file. Save it anywhere you wish and later all you need to do is double click that file to open it up to read. You can print, email or do most anything else you would normally do with a file. One word of warning: you will not be able to edit the document.

If you have Microsoft Office installed on your system you could also choose the “Microsoft Office Document Image Writer.” This functions almost identically to the XPS document.

You will be able to use these in any program you would normally be able to print from. Not just your browser but most everything else, too. The choice is yours but the big deal is no more wasted paper or ink for some “throw away” item.

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