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Computer: Printer: Ink
Adaptive Black Ink System   (+3)  [vote for, against]
Printer uses colored inks if black is out

Virtually any printer refuses to print anything when one of the ink cartridges are out. I think that when printers are out of black ink, for the time being they should use combinations of color inks. The quality wouldn't be very good, but it would be great for when the ink runs out just before a presentation is due. Likewise, when the color is out, it should allow you to print black-and-white and text documents using the black ink cartridge.
-- -----, Nov 05 2004

I've never had a printer that refuses to do anything when the ink cartridge is out. It just prints worse and worse quality until it prints nothing. That being said, your idea isn't a bad one. If it's a word processing document it's currently easy enough to just change the color of my text, but for something like a PDF I'm out of luck without more ink.
-- Worldgineer, Nov 05 2004

Mine have those electronic sensor thingies.
-- -----, Nov 05 2004

Yes, newer printers have these ink-sensing features. One downside of the idea is that the color cartridges are much more expensive than the black ones. I propose that when this feature engages, the printer should start making cash register noises to inform you of the money being wasted.
-- krelnik, Nov 08 2004

Weren't some of the older photo printers sans black ink?
-- bristolz, Nov 08 2004

[oniony] I think it would be very expensive to buy the punching printer, so it wouldn't save money. Also the holes would wear out
-- -----, Nov 09 2004

My color printer ran out of blue ink. (actually, the shippers put it in the truck sideways when I moved, and all the blue ink ended up in a coagulated puddle in one corner of the case.) Everything I printed came out pink. So I removed the color cartridge and set the printer to default to grayscale only printing. Works just fine.

The printer is worth about $40. New color carts cost $45. Go figure.
-- Freefall, Nov 09 2004

Had a Deskjet that did this. Never quite achieved true black - it was always this deep midnight purple sort of thing. Off just enough that you could tell.
-- waugsqueke, Nov 10 2004

Baked. Many printers do this.
-- Voice, Nov 30 2006

I was pondering this possibility with my HP Deskjet F4480 - trying to change to color of text on a pdf. I could not figure out how to make it happen.
-- bungston, Oct 26 2011

I was about to suggest the same thing. Changing the font colour to dark blue seems to work on my inkjet (which is surprising - I would have thought that dark blue would be some combination which included black ink). But it would be nice if the printer defaulted to this without having to change the document.
-- MaxwellBuchanan, Oct 26 2011

I was not able to change font colors of a pdf, at all. Mabye that is more a limitation of me than of the hard or software. I suppose I could move the thing to photoshop and treat it as an image.
-- bungston, Oct 26 2011

random, halfbakery