Most of the printing of our group (~30 people) is done on just one laser printer. I often find myself walking from the lab to the group library, where the printer is located, and back because of paper jams or printing orders that have misteriously vanished into the digital nirvana. This is making me crazy! Somehow I am unable to proofread a manuscript on my computer screen, so I always need a printout. Maybe I should try and get my own printer.

This leads me to my question: Do you often print papers for reading, or do you always read the PDFs directly? I try to read most things directly, but the papers I cite the most, I also keep in printed form.


  1. Print. I keep more PDFs than I print, but paper is really a pretty good technology.

  2. Depends on what the article is. Short comms and reviews I’m saving for general use I’ll save/read electronically. Articles or comms I want to read while I’m, say running a column or enjoying spring on the greenspace I’ll print out – then recycle.

    • I agree.. depends on the situation. I’m trying to edit my dissertation electronically because printing is so costly, but you can’t beat the convenience and ease of a paper copy.

      I’m convinced that PDF’s are a chief contributor to my deteriorating eyesight.

      • I also print 2 pgs/page. (In Windows, it’s the Page Scaling drop down in the Page Handling section of the window that pops up when you go to print a PDF.) That’ll start to eat at your eyesight, too, though 🙂

  3. If it’s more than one page: I print. That goes for anything really but especially PDFs. I have issues reading anything on PDF conveniently, and my eyesight isn’t that bad- yet. Strangely I don’t do this for news or blogs.

  4. Paper copies of articles can add up fast and take up lots of space so if you can start the habit of saving and organizing pdfs (on a portable drive especially) it will likely be much easier to keep your “library” with you in the long run. For a couple decades I hauled around boxes of paper and my own journals between several inter- and intra-office/company moves at great pain. pdfs can make much simpler and I still can print out a page/procedure if need a hard copy although if I am reviewing a document still find a hard copy better for reading/marking.

  5. I usually print all papers relevant to my projects (and also keep the PDFs) plus any other very interesting article .
    The reason I like printing them is because I can easily highlight important sections (especially in reviews). And of course I can also spill coffee and food on them with no regrets 😛

  6. structure_factor says:

    Usually, I print out every paper and save it as pdf on my hard drive. Unfortunately, not every references are digitally available, so I have to go to the library and copy them from the published collection. I’m thinking about scanning all these papers but this is perhaps some additional work no one like to do.
    However, digital papers are unbeatable for quick exchange and easy administration of references. I’m writing all my papers with reference programs that are able to link the reference with the corresponding pdf. That’s quite faster than looking through folders from my office rack.

  7. Pingback: Chemistry Blog » Blog Archive » Condensed Print Format

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