Stupid Things People Do with Copiers and Printers

Stupid things people do with copiers and printersThe year 2012 is quickly coming to a close. While you may be committing (or recommitting) to all kinds of New Year’s resolutions – exercising more, eating less, kicking the smoking habit and more – we hope that you’ll also give serious consideration to this one: eliminating abuse of copier and printer machines.

Over the more than three decades we’ve been selling and servicing copiers and printers in Canton, Akron, Toledo and many other Ohio cities, we’ve seen a lot of crazy stuff. I’ve asked our service technicians to share the strangest (and, in some cases, funniest) things they’ve seen people do with their office equipment. We hope this encourages you to take even better care of your copiers and printers, so that they will take good care of you and your organization in 2013.

Construction Paper, Wall Paper and Printers Don’t Mix

Service tech Mark Rader shares his favorite stories:

Teachers love to be creative – sometimes too creative. I once had a teacher run black construction paper through a copier, thinking the copies would come out darker.

Another teacher cut down wall paper to 8- 1/2″ x 11″ pieces and ran it through the printer. This turned out to be a major problem, as the wall paper was the kind that you wet down and stick. When it went through the printer’s fuser, it wrapped around the roller. Uh oh…

Finally, one of my customers received a fax on thermal paper, which is heat-sensitive paper that’s designed for use in a thermal printer. She decided to run it through the copier to copy something on the back side of it. Surprise, surprise, the paper came out black. Lesson: thermal paper and copiers don’t mix!

Don’t Use Copiers Like a Microwave

Service tech Cory Hartley talks about a sticky situation he once encountered:

Scanner bulbs used to be made with halogen, which gives off heat. (Today, manufacturers use xenon, which remains cool.) A customer with a halogen-bulb scanner called about constant jamming in the document feeder.

The problem was perplexing, but we finally got the customer to admit that one of his employees liked to warm up his doughnuts on the copier glass. Turns out the film from the glazed doughnuts were making it impossible for the feeder to run documents over the glass. Once we cleaned that up, everything worked just fine. But we did wonder where all the photo copies of the doughnuts ended up.

Copiers Don’t Make Good Mousetraps or Condiment Storage

Service manager Ed Brudzinski reports that, on more than one occasion, techs have found mice caught in the gears, which definitely will stop a machine. He says, “Printers are a bad way to catch mice.”

After an office celebration, our service techs discovered mustard and ketchup packets inside a copier. Copiers are also not a good place to store condiments.

Store Your Office Supplies Somewhere Else

Here’s a word of advice from our tech Paul Hull:

Never keep paper clips on the copier or remove staples near a printer. When this stuff falls into a machine it usually results in a service call.

Do you have a funny story to share about how someone at your office has used a copier or printer? Share it with us in the comments below! Happy New Year!

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Big Bad List of Cool Things You Can Do with a Color Copier

Technology with multi-function color printers and copiers has come a long way. And because copiers use toner and not ink, it’s more cost-efficient than ever to use them for many printing projects you would have sent to an offset printer in the old days. (Not that long ago, right?)

You say, “Give me examples.” No problem! Although I work mainly with Sharp color copier and printer equipment, I know other brands also offer the capabilities to create these products.

But before you read any further, it’s important for you to keep the following things in mind:

  1. Use the “thick” setting when using “thick” paper. High quality color printing depends greatly on your paper settings. You want to avoid streaking, which can happen if you use the wrong setting. (Always follow manufacturers recommendations for paper types in your copier/printer).
  2. Always follow your manufacturer’s directions on paper settings. For example, with certain Sharp all-in-one color printers, you must use the manual feed tray for postcards, tab paper, glossy paper and other specialty stock. Other models can handle up to 110 lb. card stock in the main unit tray and optional drawer. So, don’t waste paper! Check before you start printing.

So, without further ado, here’s my big bad list of cool things to do with a color copier (in no particular order):

  • Invitations – Personalize them easily and at no extra charge!

Invitations made on a color copier, Copeco

  • Thank you cards – Skip the trip to the store over your lunch break. You’ll never run out.
  • Holiday cards – Surprise customers with a photo of your office staff (or not).
  • Booklets – Print educational materials on demand.
  • Raffle tickets – Now it’s easy to make your own for that big fundraiser.
  • Table-top advertising – Publicize your upcoming events at upcoming events.

Table tents made on a color copier, CopecoTable top advertising made using a color copier, Copeco

  • Brochures – Update them as often as needed and print small quantities.
  • Flyers, pamphlets and leaflets – Create handouts on the fly and print them up just as quickly.
  • Posters (up to 12″ x 18″, cropped to 11″ x 17″) – Hang them up everywhere or place them on easels for eye appeal.

Posters made on a color copier, Copeco

  • Programs and bulletins – Control your costs and create just enough.
  • Event tickets – Grab yourself a perforation tool and get started.

Tickets printed on a color copier, Copeco

  • Event signs – Tell everyone where to go and what to do.
  • Name tags –  Make sure everyone gets to know everyone else.

name badges printed on a color copier, Copeco

  • Back stage passes – For the privileged few.

backstage passes printed on a color copier, Copeco

  • Certificates – Give credit where credit is due.
  • Magazines, newsletters and catalogs – Yes indeed, the quality is that good!

newsletters printed on a color copier, Copeco

  • Business cards – So everyone can be into your business.

business cards printed on a color printer, Copeco

What kinds of projects have you used your color copier for? Tell me about them below in the comments. Or send me a tweet at @CopecoCopiers.

How Document Management Can Increase Your Efficiency

Document ImagingSeveral office professionals in the Canton and Akron area learned about the benefits of document management at Copeco’s popular Snacks & Solutions training event April 18. After a great free lunch, Software Solutions Consultant Dennis Porter shared some of the many ways document management tools can help boost productivity in any office.

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How to Make Printed Copies Using Different Types of Paper Inserts

Today’s color printers and copiers can help you do so many things to create professional-looking documents. One that my customers ask me about from time to time is how to add page inserts (or insertion sheets). This can include various types of colored paper, tabs, heavier weight covers and much more.

Here is a simple, nine-step process for how to make multi-page printed copies on a Sharp all-in-one printer or copier using various types of paper from different trays:

  1. Load your paper trays with the types of paper that you wish to use. Please note: if you want to make a copy on both sides of a particular type of paper or insert sheet, you cannot use label sheets, transparency films or tab paper. Also, you can only use tab paper as an insert if you don’t make any type of copy on it.
  2. Place your original document in the automatic document feeder tray and tap the [Preview] key.
  3. Tap the [Others] key and then tap the [Covers/Inserts] key.How to Insert Paper from Different Trays on a Sharp Copier
  4. Tap the [Insertion Type A] key and then tap the [Change] key. Note: the default settings for insertion types A and B are the same.
  5. If you only want to INSERT a particular type of paper (sheet A and/or B), tap the [Make No Copy] key. If you actually do want to make a copy on the insert (see my note in #1), tap the [Simplex] or [2-Sided Copy] key. After you finish with these setting, just tap the [X] key. Note: to change the type of paper insert you want to use, tap the [Paper Tray] key and select the tray that contains the paper you want.How to make copies using page inserts on a Sharp copier or printer
  6. Tap the insert page display key.
  7. Using the number keys, enter the number of the page where the inserted sheet should go, and then tap the [Enter] key. The total number of insertion sheets is displayed at the side of the [Enter] key. Repeat these steps for the number of insertion sheets. Note: if you accidentally enter an incorrect insert page number, tap the [Page Layout] key and change the page.Learn how to create multi-page copies with different types of page inserts
  8. After the settings are complete, tap [X] and [Back] keys in sequence.
  9. Preview how your document will turn out using the preview screen. Note: to cancel all settings, tap the [CA] key.
  10. Tap the [Color Start] or the [B/W Start] key to start copying.

I hope you get lots of use from this great feature on your Sharp printer. I’ve helped many customers learn how to use it. If your business is located in Northeast Ohio or Western Pennsylvania, contact us for more information about Sharp office equipment and how to get the most out of it.

Why Paper Matters When It Comes to Quality Printing

Why Quality Printer and Copier Paper Matters

All types of paper have passed through our department, we have seen good quality and really bad quality paper. Some call us paper specialists, but we simply use our senses when looking at paper. We see how it looks when held up to a light, feel the texture, smell it and listen to it when it is shaken. Tasting it is where we draw the line!

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Business Survival 101: Setting Printing Policies & Procedures

printing policies and procedures documentYes, it seems as if businesses have policies and procedures for everything these days. But as a business owner or manager, it is important to have policies and procedures in place to minimize potential issues with staff and even customers. Not only do they help protect the business, but they also set clear guidelines and expectations for staff and customers.

Think about all of the documents that are printed in your organization each day. Do any of them contain confidential information? Is proprietary information included in those printouts? Are employees permitted to print personal copies? If not, has that policy been clearly communicated in writing to them? Now you can begin to see how printing policies can be important to your business.

Why are policies and procedures for printing important?

A printing policies and procedures document will help your business control copier and printer usage, track and log usage, potentially cache images of all printed material, and prevent misuse of company equipment and potential privacy issues.

It allows you to ensure that employees adhere to the business’s point of view regarding loss and liability. Many industries have regulations regarding privacy for legal reasons that can be addressed by this document. Finally, the policy can communicate how all of this information will be tracked and any type of action that will be taken if an employee breaks the policy.

What should be included in a printing policies and procedures document?

First you need to analyze any document privacy concerns there might be in your business and industry. Are there any industry standards, government regulations or other document privacy requirements your business needs to adhere to? Outline those.

Other items that you may want to include in the document are:

  • How usage will be tracked
  • What information will be stored: cached copy of what was printed, file name, date, tome, print features used
  • What print features specific users or user groups are allowed to use (such as color copying)
  • How many copies specific users or user groups are permitted to make
  • If personal copies are permitted
  • Restrictions on where email can be sent from a multi-function printer
  • Who should be contacted if supplies are needed for a copier or printer
  • Which printers and copiers should be utilized for different print jobs
  • Who to contact should there be a service issue

Depending on your business, you may have other items regarding printing policies you will want to include, such as proper disposal of printed items, etc.

How can a business implement their printing policies and procedures?

There are a variety of solutions available for managing printing policies and procedures. A secure print feature in the print driver or running a third-party app to track and log user print activity can be enabled. All of this allows a company to know who printed what, as  well as track the data needed to comply with the policies and procedures you have laid out for your organization.

Need assistance creating and implementing printing policies and procedures for your business? If you are located in the Canton, Akron, or Toledo areas, contact us. We would be happy to assist you!

How to Create & Print Banners In-House on Your Copier

Save your business or organization money when you are in need of a banner. Creating and printing banners in-house is easier than you might think. In a previous blog post, graphic designer Jenni James shared great tips to help non-designers create an effective banner. Once you have designed your banner, it is time to print it. Here are the simple steps you need to take to print a professional banner in-house.

*For this post we use Microsoft Publisher to create and print the banner. Other desktop publishing programs like Adobe InDesign could also be used. It’s also important to note that banner printing is only available on newer Sharp multi-function printer models. If you are unsure if  your printer has this capability, contact us

1. Select and order paper

Our paper specialists recommend ordering 11″ x 40″ banner paper that is made out of card stock and specifically cut for banner production.

2. Create your banner

First, open Microsoft Publisher to create a new publication, selecting more blank page sizes as shown in the screenshot below.


Next select create new page size. When the dialog box opens, name the new page size “Banner.” Change the width to 11″ and height to 40″. Set all of your margin guides at 0.5″.

Make sure “1 page per sheet” is selected.

selecting the right options for banner size

Click on this image to see it full size.

Now use the design tips Jenni suggested to design and create your banner.

3. Print your banner

Once you have created and proofed your banner, you are ready to print. First you will want to prepare your Sharp multi-function printer or copier and select the correct settings. Follow these steps:

  1. Paper select: Bypass tray
  2. Select type and size: Type heavy 1
  3. Select size direct entry

Once in the size direct entry screen, you will want to add the following dimensions (sizes need to be in mm, not inches):

x 40  |  mm 1016
y 11  |  mm 279

Then make sure you hit execute.

Now you can print your banner from your computer. Open the file menu and select print. In the print dialog box, you will want to first make sure the correct printer is selected and it is displayed as in the image below. Click on printer properties.

printing settings for banner printing on your sharp printer

Next select the paper tab menu. Paper size should display long paper. For the paper source, select bypass tray (custom paper). Under paper type, select heavy paper-1. See the image below for how the settings should look.

selecting the right settings on the paper tab menu for banner printing

Click on the image to see it full size.

Click OK, then print and you are done!

Have additional questions on printing a banner? Leave your questions below in the comments or contact us.

So You Want to Design Your Own Banner?

We welcome guest blogger and graphic designer, Jenni James of Jenni James Design, to the Copy Talk blog to share a few tips with us non-designers who want to create a banner in-house.

design tips with Jenni

First things first. Do you remember what the acronym K.I.S.S. stands for? Keep It Simple Silly. This is the key for great, attention-grabbing banner design. I will go over three basic concepts, that if used correctly, will help you effectively convey your message to the viewer. Theses design concepts include fonts, color and proximity. Here we go!

Design Concept: Fonts

We have all seen signs or banners that use a crazy font preloaded in desktop publishing software, that you can honestly barely read. This is not a good idea. Yes, these fonts do have their place, but it usually is not on your banner. When it comes to banner design, you want to use a font that represents your message as well as looks nice and legible from a distance. It is a good rule of thumb to only use one font, maybe two, but never more than three when you are designing anything. Here is a list of fonts with some common descriptive words that might help in font selection for banner design.

Clean & Classic: Myriad Pro, Times New Roman, Arial, Helvetica

for sale sign in classic font

Fun & Whimsy: Bauhaus, Folks, Forte, Brush Script

for sale sign in brush script

Bold & Strong: Impact, Helvetica Black, Futura Black

for sale sign bold and strong font

Designer Tip: Do NOT use Comic Sans. It is unprofessional and should not be used in a business setting. It should only be used if you are creating a look for school children.

The trick is to use a strong bold font that you can read from a distance. If you use thin fonts that are very “dainty,” your message will not be seen. Sign shops use charts that show how far away you can read text of a certain inch height. We are working with an 11″ x 40″ banner in this case. The letter height should not go over 10 inches (720 pt). Depending on the font you use, you will need to adjust this height because all fonts take up different amounts of space.

Designer Tip: Learn to Kern. Kerning is the space in between letters and some fonts do not space them properly, especially in programs like Microsoft Publisher or Word. Choosing “Format” then “Character Spacing” from the menu will be your best friend, I promise.

Design Concept: Color

On to concept number two, color. Color is important. There is a reason why fast food restaurants use red, yellow and blue, just like coffee houses use greens, browns and neutral tones. There are color combinations that are meant to give you a headache and shut your eyes, just as there are color combinations designed to attract a certain type of person.

After all of my years in the sign industry, red and white seem to be the most impactful and easily recognizable. Why you may ask? Those are the same colors as a stop sign. That object tells a driver to stop and pay attention. It is so ingrained into our minds that we do this with any other objects of the same colors. Yellow and black is also a great combination if you want someone to take warning, just like the signs that indicate a deer or a railroad crossing.

On the other hand, you want to use colors that are appropriate for your message. If you are designing a banner for a little girl’s birthday, lots of pinks and purples would be appropriate, just as blues and greens are appropriate for a little boy. If you are going for a calming effect, muted colors should be used. Try Color Scheme Designer to help you visually apply some color to a space before choosing a color and hoping it is effective.

Designer Tip: Use a reversal; they work wonders. For example, the white text on a red background used below.

for sale sign with color reversal

Design Concept: Proximity

Last, but not least, let’s talk about a little thing called proximity. Proximity in design is the concept of keeping things together that need to be together, such as a name and phone number on a business card. People love to fill up the entire space available with as much information as possible, when the info is really not needed. Again, “Keep It Simple Silly.” If you are going to put more than one phrase on a banner, make sure it stays with the information it belongs with.

Designer Tip: Banners that have information displayed in a centered alignment tend to be read more easily.

banner with text aligned center

The banner above is poorly designed. There is too much information, it is scattered around the banner and the reader does not know what they are looking at, other than something is a free offer. It is bouncing out to them like a late-night infomercial. It is not easy to read or understand.

In the design below the paragraph reads easily, allows the reader to have a call to action, “Call Now,” and some imagery to help reinforce the idea. Color can be used to help a reader’s eye “bounce” from place to place on a banner. If you look away from the image below and look back, the first thing your eye should see is “FREE,” then the phone number, then “Call Now,” and finally “Tax Advice.”

good banner design

I hope these little tidbits of information can help you on your journey to design the perfect banner to convey your message. Remember your K.I.S.S. principle, and you will create a great piece of signage. Happy creating!

For a little further reading, check out the Non-Designer’s Design Book. It is a great little guide that will help you in any design situation.

We hope you enjoyed Jenni’s design tips. You can find out more about her by visiting her on Facebook or

Best of Copeco’s Copy Talk 2013

The goal of Copy Talk is to bring you informative articles that will help you troubleshoot problems, use your multi-function printer or copier more effectively, and help your office run more smoothly. In short, we want to let you get to know us a little better! Our talented staff has shared some great information this past year on the blog. To prevent that information from getting lost in the archives and deep dark corners of the web, we bring you the best of Copy Talk from 2013. These articles contain the best tips we’ve shared that are sure to help your business.

best of copy talk 2013

Get Video How-to Resources for Sharp Printers on YouTube

If you use a Sharp multi-function printer or copier at your office, you will want to read this article. Who has time to read the highly technical and overwhelming product manual that comes with your office equipment? I know that I’m much more inclined to Google the answer to my problem. But then thousands of results are returned. Which will give you the answer you are looking for? Sharp has produced some excellent resources to help, in video form! No more diagrams to follow. See a real person, using a real machine and showing you how to accomplish what you need to do.

Before You Call For Copier and Printer Service

Lines or spots on your copies? It is a common problem that can be very frustrating. But, before you call someone out to take a look at your equipment, you may be able to troubleshoot the problem yourself. Mark Pamer walks you through some simple things to check before you call. These tips will save you time!

How to Recycle Your Sharp Toner Cartridges

Stop, drop, recycle! Sharp makes it very easy for you to recycle your used Sharp toner cartridges. Their bulk recycling kit makes gathering and shipping your toner cartridges a breeze! Place the shipping box in the mail room or near each Sharp printer or copier and most of the work is done for you.

How to Use Specialized Printing Functions on Your Sharp Copier

The specialized printing options available on Sharp printers and copiers are truly amazing. No more printing several different times on several different papers and then assembling your reports, manuals and other books. Specialized printing options allow you to specify different weight or colors of papers for the front page and back page of your project or any page in-between. Your multi-function printer will perfectly print and collate your project.

How to Quickly Resolve Copier Error Codes

An error code appears on the screen and then panic breaks out. What to do? Good news! Many error codes are easy to fix yourself. Mark Pamer shares three easy tips that will help you resolve the error code on your Sharp printer or copier. No need to fret; if you cannot get the error code cleared yourself, our trained service technicians are always here to help.

5 Common Mistakes People Make When Purchasing a Copier

When purchasing a piece of office equipment like a copier or printer, you want to make sure you make the right decision. Learn from others’ mistakes and how to avoid making them yourself. Randy Hudson explains why not buying color, not understanding the lease, not understanding the service contract, over or underbuying, and buying used or “pre-certified” are the most common mistakes.

We look forward to providing you with more tips and tricks in 2014 to help your business and office run more smoothly. Do you have any questions on Sharp copier features, issues you want to learn how to troubleshoot, or any other copier or printer topics you would like to see us cover? If so, please leave us a comment below! We hope you have a Happy New Year!

3 Ways the Sharp Aquos Board Revolutionizes the Board Room

Here at Copeco, we are always looking for solutions to keep you on the cutting edge of printer and copier technology. Enter Sharp’s Aquos Board, which makes slide carousels, overhead projectors, digital projectors and white boards a thing of the past.

This revolutionary interactive display system combines the traditional whiteboard, TV, touch-screen computer and projector, and creates an amazing multimedia center for the board room, classroom or conference center. The video below, from Sharp USA, gives an excellent visual overview of the Aquos Board.

Benefits of the Sharp Aquos Board

As you can see from the video, the Aquos Board allows you to annotate or “write” on your presentations and share them through digital technology with those in attendance at your meeting or presentation. While live annotation of your presentations is a pretty amazing feature, it can provide many additional benefits far beyond this, allowing you to work smarter, not harder. We have broken down several different situations where the Aquos Board can be immensely helpful.

1. Strategic Planning & Team Brainstorming

Have you ever been involved in a strategic planning session for an organization? It often entails brainstorming ideas, goals and tactics to reach those goals. These sessions usually entail many pieces of paper from easel pads that one lucky person gets to transcribe and send to participants after the meeting.

What if you could streamline this process? Preloaded with many commonly used templates such as calendars, action plans, graph paper and to-do lists, the Aquos Board allows you to ditch the paper and transcribing. You are able to create lists on screen during your session, and at the end, save it to a computer and email it to those in attendance. Or, you can send the information to your Sharp multi-function printer and print copies of the information to send to those in attendance.

In addition, as you saw in the video, you can bring up existing documents or reports and annotate those during your session. Then, just as with the brainstorming, send or print the annotated version to give to attendees. You save staff time (with no transcription) and are able to get the information to the attendees more quickly.

2. Presentations & Training

The Sharp Aquos Board simply makes your presentations to look better. Have you ever given a PowerPoint presentation that is projected on a screen and the color or focus is just a bit off? With spectacular HD clarity, backlit design and Sharp’s Uv2A photo-alignment technology, your presentations have never looked this great. And, even better, your presentations have never been easier to read by your audience.

Would you like to zoom in on a particular slide or document in a presentation? The Aquos Board’s touch screen works much like that of a tablet or smartphone. You are able to quickly zoom in or out with the swipe of your hands.

As you are giving your presentation, highlight key points, make annotations or emphasize topics with your finger or Sharp Pen. Just like in the example above, you are able to save the annotated presentation and send it to those in attendance. This is particularly helpful in training environments. With the annotated version, trainees are able to refer back to the presentation in the future for those key points.

3. Video Conferencing

If you have team members in different locations, the video conferencing capabilities cannot be beat. While viewing the presentation, all participants can write on the screen images for real-time interactive participation. Again, the annotated version of this presentation can then be easily sent to all participants. The Aquos Board can also be used in a similar fashion for webinars and teleconferences.

Want to take an Aquos Board for a test drive? If you are in the Canton, North Canton, Akron, Toledo or elsewhere in Ohio, contact us. We would be happy to show you all of the Aquos Board’s bells and whistles.