What’s in a Font? Millions in Savings According to GSA’s PrintWise Program

News of a 14-year-old Pennsylvania student discovering potential government savings by changing the standard font have dominated headlines over the past week. Here at GSA, we think this is awesome and want to congratulate this young man for his hard work.  He’s helped to revive the conversation on the savings that we can find with something as simple as font choice. Nearly two years ago, GSA developed PrintWise, a government-wide awareness campaign designed to help federal employees make cost-cutting print decisions through simple behavior changes. Among other tips and guidelines, PrintWise addressed font sizing and its strong potential for savings — $330 million by 2015 to be exact.

GSA's PrintWise authorizes print fonts Times New Roman, Garamond, Century Gothic at 11-point size.
GSA’s PrintWise authorizes print fonts Times New Roman, Garamond, Century Gothic at 11-point size.

Typefaces are more than just a style choice when it comes to printing in the federal government. PrintWise outlines behavior changes like setting default font in main word processing software like Microsoft Office on individual computers to one of the approved toner-efficient fonts — Times New Roman, Garamond, Century Gothic — at 11-point size.  The federal government found that the use of toner-efficient fonts can reduce toner costs by up to 30 percent.

GSA’s plan to save goes beyond opting for Times New Roman instead of Arial, however. Here are seven other ways that agencies can lower print costs within just 90 days:

  1. Print on both sides of the paper: Set non-production level equipment defaults to duplex (double-sided) printing and encourage employees to adjust their application print settings (default on all jobs or per-print) when feasible

  2. Print in black and white: Set non-production level equipment defaults to monochromatic/black-and-white printing and encourage employees to adjust their application print settings (default on all jobs or per-print) when feasible

  3. Print at draft quality: Set non-production level equipment defaults to draft quality (rather than high quality) printing and/or encourage employees to adjust their application print settings (default on all jobs or per-print) when feasible

  4. Improve your use of sleep mode: Change device settings that impact the timing of sleep mode initiation during workday hours, and power-down at the end of the working day and on weekends

  5. Use more toner-efficient fonts: Set default font in main word processing software (e.g. Microsoft Office) on individual computers to one of the approved toner-efficient fonts (Times New Roman, Garamond, Century Gothic) at 11-point size

  6. Remove personal desktop printers: Remove personal desktop printers and decrease the employee-to-device ratio of workgroup printers to 14:1

  7. Freeze purchases of personal desktop printers: In line with removing existing personal printers, agencies should develop official policy to freeze the purchase of new personal printers

Visit https://strategicsourcing.gov/print-wise to learn more and follow @GSAPrintWise on Twitter for the latest.

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