In my article “Quit wasting paper” I expressed my frustration with people who abuse corporate printers by printing countless e-mail messages or useless documents that wind up in a box or in the trash. TechRepublic members sounded off in force with ideas about how to control runaway printer costs. (Read the follow-up article here.)

Recently I heard from TechRepublic member Jeff Belina, who recommended a product that can virtually eliminate the abuse of network printers: Print Manager Plus (PMP). I downloaded the evaluation copy and was able to install and use the program in almost no time. Here’s the scoop.

You control who can print and how many pages
The most compelling reason to use a product like PMP is so you can monitor—and control—the jobs queued to any and all of the printers on your network. You can do things like:

  • Set permissions for individual users or user groups.
  • Prohibit or allow printing based on the number of pages per single print job, on file size, or on the file’s name.
  • Establish quotas and, in some settings, display reminders when users get close to meeting their maximum for allowable printed pages.

PMP has been around a while, but the latest incarnation, version 2.70, is Windows 2000 compatible. PMP is a native 32-bit NT application and service, and it allows quotas and tracking of all print jobs coming from the following clients:

  • Windows 2000
  • NT 4.0
  • NT 3.51
  • Windows 95
  • Windows 3.1
  • DOS
  • Macintosh
  • UNIX (all flavors)
  • OS/2

Reporting by user or by printer
No queue-management application would be complete without reporting tools, and PMP stores report data in a file that can be queried or reported on from any ODBC-compliant application, such as Microsoft Access or Crystal Reports. You can generate reports showing the current quotas assigned to each user, the number of pages printed by each user, and the number of pages generated by each individual printer.

The system administrator can use a module called Print Queue Manager to view and manage all of the print queues from a single screen. The system administrator has the option to pause, resume, or delete print jobs.

Try-and-buy PMP
You can download an evaluation copy of Print Manager Plus and try it for free for 30 days. The list price for Print Manager Plus is $495 for a single server license. However, Sunbelt Software and its resellers offer volume discounts and special promotions. For more details and to download the evaluation copy, click here.
How do you keep your printer costs in line with your IT budget? Post a note below or follow this link to write to Jeff.