10 Friendly Tips That Will Make Your Copier User-Friendly (and Save You Time and Aggravation)


Check out these tips that can help you take advantage of your copier's features... and prevent paper jamming and copier repairs. 

I like to fish – and the mechanics of fishing are easy for me through long experience and learning from others. So when a reel tangles my line or a lure hooks on a snag, I know what to do. And, of course, there's the proverb: Give a man a fish and he eats for a day. Teach a man to fish and he can feed himself.

We're going to turn that proverb sideways today and teach you how to take care of your copiers so you can print and copy hassle free – and avoid having to call your copier repair partner.

More often than not, problems with copiers are most often caused by operator error (in other words – YOU). You might disagree, but copiers come with many user-friendly features today. The reason you disagree is probably because you may not have been taught how to fish, er, use your digital copier. (We provide training as part of copier installation, by the way.)

That’s why I’ve put together a handy list of some of the lesser known copier tricks so hopefully you and you copier can get along. Let's go fishing!

Work Smarter, Not Harder

These 6 productivity tips might even get you to like using the copier.

1. Set up a process for how your paper trays pull.

Most copiers have advanced settings that allow you to set how the paper behaves during a print job. If you have letterhead in drawer two (that you don’t want people to intentionally use), make sure your copier doesn’t default to pull from that tray when the regular paper tray is empty. If you want to set up your trays with different paper types, get a label maker and place labels on the outside of the drawers so people know what’s in there. This way your team doesn't use the “good stuff” for their throwaway meeting notes. If you have constant offenders, remind them that if they want to use special paper, the Bypass Tray is usually the best bet, and show them how to use it.

2. Make a Proof Copy.

Ever set up a complex copy job and wonder if you set everything right, then realize you didn’t and have to cancel everything and start all over again? Let me introduce you to proof copy—your new best friend. Found on all copier panels, you press this button before you setup your copy settings and then when you press the start button, it will make one sample copy for you. If everything is good, you simply press the start button again and the job will resume with the next copy in the sequence. If you need to change something, simply change it and it will make another proof copy for you. This not only saves time but paper too.

3. Learn how to use advanced features like Job Build.

“Job Build” is a great feature for people who do a lot of scanning with large documents that can’t all fit in the document feeder at once. Rather than scan the job into multiple document files and merge them back at your desk with another application, you can scan all the pages with this feature in one job. Job Build caches the sets of pages in the copier’s hard drive until you have finished all your scanning and then finalizes one file for the scan.

4. Set up job presets or default settings.

Presets and default settings are great to setup when you first get a new copier. Find out how your office plans to use the machine. Determine what features will benefit you most and set them as defaults. Save presets for frequent users.

Default settings differ from presets in that the default should be more universal and accessible to accommodate basic walk-up copies. Presets are a little more sophisticated, but useful for people who might do routine copy work and have a lot of settings to configure. If you do this, make sure you train your users how to access the presets, and hold regular refresher classes. On-going training is key to keeping your copier “user-friendly” because most people don’t like to ask how to do something you’ve already told them how to do once (and they will never admit that they forgot).

5. Default your copier’s scanner to skip blank pages.

We have a lot of clients ask us about scanning large jobs that have a mix of single and double-sided pages. They usually break the job out and make single-sided originals of all the two-sided docs so they won’t have blank pages. This is tedious and involves an extra step. But did you know that you can tell your copier to “skip blank pages” when scanning? This is such a common thing that many customers set this as a default in their scan settings since most people don’t want blank pages in a scanned file.

6. Check—does your copier have a “Quick Menu”?

For our Canon imageRunner friends out there, the “Quick Menu” is a must. The Quick Menu can really speed things up for your office as you can create and register frequently used settings such as Copy, Scan and Send, and Scan and Store all in one button. For example, you can scan two-sided originals and email a PDF to someone by pressing one button. There are two types of buttons: the Shared Button that can be used by all users and the Personal Button that can only be set and used by each user.

Good Housekeeping

Following these simple tips on how to treat paper will go a long way to helping you prevent paper jams – and help with general tidiness.

7. Store paper near the copier so employees don’t have to hunt for it. 
There is nothing a copier hates more than wrinkled, messy paper. That’s why it’s always a good idea to keep paper stored in a dedicated area with plenty of room for proper stacking. Paper is best stored in its wrapper, flat, and in a cool, dry place – humidity can greatly affect paper quality. If your team has the habit of opening a new ream of paper and leaving the remnants on the shelf to get mangled, a plastic storage bin might be a good idea too.

8. Keep a trash can and recycling bin close by.

Not that you will ever find the culprit, but copiers have the tendency to look like the barista pickup counter – people can't help putting their coffee cups on them! Try to think like your users, and if this is a constant issue in your office, try keeping a trash can close by so perhaps they will get the point. A recycling bin near the exit tray is also a must – unless you like getting paper presents left behind for you or are into origami.

9. Post a sign about what to do when the copier breaks down.

This one is pretty basic, but it works. If you don’t want your employees to attempt to clear a paper jam, make it perfectly clear with a pretty little sign next to your copier (one that is highly visible I might add) that details exactly what to do if the copier malfunctions. Graphics help too – if paper jams are a constant headache for you, throw a little stop sign image on there too.

10. Remind everyone to take a deep breath.

While we are talking about paper jams, as frustrating as it may be when you are running behind and your presentation jams in the copier, don’t forget that it is just a machine. It has nothing against you. And, if you start yanking pages out of the paper path, you could do more damage.

Take a deep breath.

Follow the screen prompts, and above all else, OPEN THE DRAWERS AND TRAYS SLOWLY OR NOT AT ALL.

Many times a page is halfway between an area and if you yank the drawer open too quickly, it will tear, leaving parts stuck in places only your repair technician can get to. Follow the screen prompts and turn the dials that it says to and you just might make it out of your paper jam alive.

There you have it – 10 ways to make living with your copier easier. And to pick back up on our opening analogy, let's go copying!

What is your copier REALLY thinking?

About The Author

Dave Quint, president and CEO of Advanced Systems Inc. and immediate past president of BTA Mid-America. Dave has worked with copiers, MFPs, scanners, and document workflow software since joining Advanced Systems as a sales associate in 1989. His favorite part of the job -- “there is no greater joy than to see the positive impact these solutions have in our client’s businesses.’