Selecting Right Printer Settings

While printing with inkjet printers, you are always asked to select the media. Most of us will be wondering why printer driver would do that. Let’s understand the science behind the printer settings.


Why one required to select the correct media, this questions may have a different view. Some are to improve the print quality, requires less ink, more production on the same media, of course, all these answers will be true to some extent. In fact, to achieve the best print quality, print-quality settings tells us how much ink will be placed on the media.

The combination of paper and paper type and print quality settings elaborate to use the correct amount of ink. The user must select the settings by using driver media type, system media type, and ICC profile media type.

When you installed any printer on the system, while printer installations driver installed default settings provided with the product. This contains the print settings according to media like plain paper, glossy paper etc. If you are printing on plain paper, it is highly recommended to use plain paper with plain paper settings. This setting is applied with default settings from the printer driver. You get good colors when you select correct printer settings.

Virtually printers will have combinations of dye-based ink for cyan, magenta and yellow and pigment based ink for black. Most of the users prefer to use ink according to their applications, but tangled with the selection of correct ink, i.e. to select dye or pigment. Here are some guidelines to understand correct ink.

Read More – Why the printer ink you choose matters

Some of the advantages and disadvantages dye & pigment inks are,

Advantages (Pigment Ink)

1) Long lasting print and a better color stability.
2) Fade resistance when subjected to UV light (sunlight).
3) The ink is more smudge and water resistant.
4) Pigment black inks offer better print quality for printing images.
Disadvantages (Pigment Ink):
1) More expensive than dye inks.
2) Currently only available in black.
3) Slow to dry.
4) Not recommended for use on gloss paper.

Advantages (Dye Ink)

1) More vibrant colors than pigment inks.
2) Dye-based black inks offer better print quality for printing text.
3) Quick to dry.
4) When used with Gloss Paper is resistant against water and oils.

Disadvantages (Dye Ink)

1) Prints can fade over time if subject to sunlight.

The content of printing inks depends on the printing process. Pigments generate the barrier which covers the background of the substrate and hence ink visibility becomes more. Deeply to achieve this pigments are coordinated with the polymer and hence produces strong bonding, Pigmented inks give high variance and shading varieties on a substrate. The expressive developments in printer manufacturing eliminate switching from one ink to another and hence minimizes the cost for arranging the spare printer for another substrate.

There are dozens of printer machines used for photo printing purpose. Especially dye inks would be preferred for amateur photo printing. Similarly, for outdoor applications & professional photography, pigment ink would be preferred.

There are some attributes like, sharpness, durability, fade resistance, shade and tone appearance, brightness etc. which provides the information about inks performance on a printer and the media plays the important role to justify these. The brighter paper gives higher contrast and tones differentiation on paper. Shades and tonal differentiation will be on the paper dependent. There will be a special coating on the paper which helps the inks to stay on paper. The coated paper also helps from fading ink from the surface of the media.

Mostly dye inks are preferred by a small business where fade resistance and print life would be less important while it is contrary for pigment-based inks. Pigment ink provides us quicker dry on media more sharpness, color stability, high resistance to water hence used in professional photography.

Another aspect in the selection of media is to the selection of ink according to media. The device is intelligently programmed to select the ink options according to the selection of media type. There are basically four colors in the printer, some printers have more than four colors up to 12 colors in DesignJet printers. So, we need to select correct ink combination according to media to be print.

If you like to print on plain paper or matte paper select the media type accordingly, the drivers from the printer will select the default profile from the system and apply to the print setting. This selection will select the correct ink set, e.g. for plain paper or mate paper selection matte black will be selected if you select the plain paper or matte paper media selection type, likewise applicable for glossy paper once you select the glossy media type, the ink set will get changed and photo black come into play creating another ink set to print on glossy paper.

The media behavior towards ink will be different, selection of media type will change the printing speed, a number of passes, gamut size hence dpi for the printing. For glossy selection, ink combination will get change and instead of matte black, photo black will be selected from the default print setting. Most of the DesignJet printers have gloss optimizer, it is specially used when photo printing is processed.

As discussed earlier, in actual printing process onto a specific media, selection of correct printer settings, correct profile is very important. The selection involves three different area of the setting, that is

  • Driver media type selection
  • System maintenance media type selection
  • ICC profile media type selection

It is important to know that, development of ICC profile is media dependant, Ink dependant etc.

While installing the driver of a printer, the default setting along with default ICC profile is installed on to the system. Whenever you proceed for the specific media selection, the driver selects ICC profile from the list of profiles and it is the ideal printing process.

The custom made ICC profile is installed in the operating system. Major application to make custom ICC profile is specific media use, reduce wrong registration of media, the correct amount of ink on to media, better result etc. Know more about ICC profile format

We hope you have understood the secret of the media selection. Next time when you print, do remember to select the media properly. See you soon with more tips about inkjet printing.

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