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PrintEco's streamlined print jobs available in Firefox

Software that automatically reformats print jobs to reduce paper waste is now being offered for Firefox, in addition to IE and Microsoft Office.

Illinois-based start-up PrintEco Software is now offering a version of its paper-saving software for Firefox.

The company, started by Arpan Shah, Tom Patterson, and Purvik Bhesania, has received kudos in the media over the last couple of months for developing plug-ins for Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Internet Explorer that format print jobs to remove wasted space and reduce them to as few pages as possible.

Shah and Patterson developed the software while students at the University of Illinois after they noticed all the waste paper that was generated from school and work computer print jobs. Illinois Ventures is now an investor in the company.

After installing PrintEco software, users are offered a PrintEco option in their File menu alongside the regular Print option. PrintEco's professional version also offers analytics software to show just how much paper the extension is saving for a given organization.

The extension is especially useful when printing directly from the Web, which often requires a few extra steps (or a quick cut and paste into Word) if you want a streamlined print job free of ancillary information and odd formatting.

"How many times have you printed a Web page out only to find ad images or mostly blank pages? Or, how about Excel spreadsheets where you have a little bit of content left over? E-mails with a dozen threads when you only need the last one? PrintEco solves that problem through a set of plug-ins for Microsoft Office, IE, and Firefox," Shah said in an e-mail.

A caveat has been that PrintEco did not offer plug-ins for Mac OS users or an extension for one of the most popular Web browsers in the world.

This week, at least that browser issue was taken care of.

PrintEco came out with an extension that works with the 4.0-5 versions of Firefox. Keep in mind, however, that at this point PrintEco is still in beta testing and is an unreviewed add-on at Firefox.

A personal test using the Firefox extension resulted in saving two pages on a Web print job. Printing a recent CNET article on the new Most Efficient Energy Star rating resulted in a three-page print job with odd formatting and a lot of white space. Using PrintEco it was down to one page, two if I opted to include the article image.

PrintEco is also sharing a limited number of free versions of its next-generation PrintEco Office suite in beta testing. Click here to apply for an invite.

PrintEco plans to go into full launch mode at Tech Week in Chicago. A plug-in for Outlook is also in the works, according to Shah.