Tip

Freeware tracks printer usage in real-time

When I was fresh out of college, I worked in a tiny office where every supply, from pencils to copier paper, was rationed out like bottled water in a desert. In such an environment, I could imagine a use for something like PaperCut Print Logger,

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a freeware application for tracking printer usage in real-time.

You install PaperCut PL on the computer where your printer is attached. The program runs unobtrusively in the background. Whenever a print job spools, it's recorded along with a slew of vital statistics, such as the pages or copies printed; name of the printer, document, and the user and/or client; paper/page sizes; printer language information; and the total size of the job in bytes.

Results, which are organized by date for easy access, can be browsed in a simple HTML view and can be exported to CSVs for use in Excel or any other program that works with CSV files.

PaperCut PL works with any native Windows printer device driver, including virtual printers such as PrimoPDF (which distills PDF output from any application that prints).

If you like the basic feature set but want to move up to something a bit more sophisticated, the makers of PaperCut have two slightly more advanced products: PaperCut NG and PaperCut Quota.

The NG product tracks printing across an entire organization via Active Directory, and can enforce quotas on print jobs in a highly granular fashion. Quota is just the quota and monitoring portion of the NG product. Both programs can be tried out free in perpetuity in any environment with five users or less; full versions that run on a site of any size can be run for 40 days.

About the author: Serdar Yegulalp is editor of the Windows Power Users Newsletter, which is devoted to hints, tips, tricks, news and goodies for Windows NT, Windows 2000 and Windows XP users and administrators. He has more than 10 years of Windows experience under his belt, and contributes regularly to SearchWinComputing.com and SearchSQLServer.com.

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This was first published in October 2006

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