Product Review: FinePrint

June 30, 2000


The only useful unsolicited e-mail I have ever received was the one advertising a Windows printer-driver add-on
called FinePrint.

FinePrint (see is a virtual Windows printer-driver which intercepts print requests and then offers a wide range of useful facilities in formatting and otherwise manipulating material before it actually gets printed.

First of all, it can save time and paper by printing 2, 4 or 8 pages on a single sheet. This may sound like a reason to get out the magnifying glass, but it is surprising that many documents can bear being printed two to a page and still be perfectly legible; anything with large fonts is still readable at four to a page, and eight to a page – whilst being less often useful – is perfect for proofing PowerPoint slides, for example.

When you elect to print on the FinePrint ‘printer’, what actually happens is that a Window pops up (see graphic) and offers you the chance to decide:
• how many ‘pages’ to print per sheet
• which physical printer you want to print to
• how many copies you want
• whether you want to add a simple Watermark to each page
• whether you want a booklet, double-sided etc.

The universal print preview with zoom and page delete capability means that when you unthinkingly print that useful Web ‘page’ from your browser, you can individually delete the four or five pages that you don’t want that usually get printed after the one page you do – which ensures that you print only what you want and not pages of dross. It also has optional bitmap skipping and page deletion. Again this is, especially useful for browser printing, thus also saving on ink, paper, filing space, disposal costs and printer wear and tear.
FinePrint keeps statistics on how much paper you save. It tells me that so far I have printed 216 pages, and saved 141 pages – a 34% saving.

Apart from actually printing, you can manipulate the print file in a number of ways. You can copy individual pages or documents to the clipboard as text, bitmaps or scalable metafiles for easy pasting into other applications. All output can be converted to universally readable TIFF files. This allows electronic ‘faxing’ of any printed output to any e-mail accessible party; this is particularly useful.
It will also help you create booklets, print double-sided on any printer, print on your own electronic letterhead, and create new documents by combining your print jobs together.

Most inkjet printers, like my HP OfficeJet 1150c, eject the pages face up to facilitate drying. The effect of this, when you pick up a pile of pages, is that it prints backwards – requiring you to reorder the pages manually. FinePrint allows you to maintain a profile for each printer you have and automatically print the pages in reverse order on inkjets so they end up in the right order. That, to me, is worth the price of admission alone.

Many years ago I bought the now-obsolete Microsoft ‘Windows Printing System’ as it allowed me to print double-sided documents on my single-sided HP LaserJet III. I had to stop using it as they never released any Windows 95 drivers, but FinePrint does exactly the same thing. You select ‘double-sided’, it takes into account your printer’s characteristics, does all the maths and prints one side, tells you to take the paper out, turn it over and reinsert and then press ‘OK’ and it finishes it off.

FinePrint has versions for Win95/98 and Win NT/2000 as well as network versions and is downloadable from for $39.95.

Neil Cameron is an independent legal technology consultant. He may be contacted at