Free printing and printing tips

As you are aware since the beginning of the academic year, St George’s is piloting free printing for all students! We have looked at the printing policy in more detail and have highlighted some of the key aspects below.

YSWD Printing TD 15th Feb 2020
SGUL introduced a free printing pilot for the 2019/2020 academic year

Free printing is good news for anyone on a tight budget or with accessibility concerns. As more of you are making full use of the free printing however, some have raised concerns around the effects on the environment of unlimited and wasteful printing.

While the focus below is on students, your Librarians are certainly guilty of printing too much occasionally and as a result wasting paper, so we can all strive to do better in this regard.

As part of St George’s values, we are responsible and accountable for our choices and decisions. This responsibility includes considering the environmental and ethical costs of our actions, such as excessive and/or unnecessary printing and photocopying. Even though it might not cost you any money, if you want to decrease your environmental footprint, consider how printing depletes natural resources and causes damage. To produce paper a large amount of energy, water and chemicals are needed and paper production causes liquid, solid and gaseous waste, some of which is hazardous.

printing pic

Printing dos and don’ts


  • Ask yourself if you really need a paper copy or is a digital version enough? Keep in mind that the apps you have access to as part of Office 365 (including Word) allow you to annotate and mark up documents and easily share your comments with others.
  • Scan the documents you need instead of photocopying them. All printers/photocopiers devices allow you to scan easily and you can send the documents to yourself via email.
  • Reduce the number of pages you are printing by changing the font size (for most people size 10 is still easily legible) or decreasing margins and spaces between lines. Fonts like Times New Roman use less space than other fonts.
  • Double-check your document includes final changes, edits and amendments before printing so you only ever print the final version.
  • Use the preview to ensure the formatting and layout of your document is correct before printing. Preview also allows you to ensure the document fits on to the smallest number of pages, especially important for spreadsheets.
  • Photocopy or print two pages per sheet if possible.
  • Use apps like OneDrive, Google Docs or Dropbox to share your work with others instead of printing and sharing physical copies.


  • Print copies of important documents. Make sure to back up your work securely (using OneDrive which is part of Office 365, Canvas or even Google Drive) rather than printing copies of your work. Most of your courses will only ask you to submit your assignments digitally.
  • Default to printing Powerpoint slides for all your lectures. Most contain little text and they can be full of graphics. Instead consider writing your notes electronically alongside the slides, by making use of a tool like OneNote for example.
  • Print out Powerpoint slides using the one slide per page option, if you can avoid it. You can generally greatly reduce the number of pages you need to print by selecting to have more slides per page.
  • Reprint the whole document if you only made minor changes or changed details on one page. Remember to only ever print the exact pages you need to replace.
  • Print using the “one sided” option. All SGUL computers default to printing double-sided and you are encouraged to stick to that.

If you have printed unnecessarily and don’t need the pages, remember to recycle the unwanted pages by using the correct (blue) recycling bins, located throughout the Library and computer rooms.

As you can see there are many ways in which you can take full advantage of St George’s free printing pilot scheme while at the same time ensuring that you safeguard the environment, by not wasting precious natural resources and creating unnecessary waste. If we all follow the guidelines above, we also make sure that the University continues to provide free printing to students beyond this academic year as we collectively manage this privilege responsibly and are aware of the consequences of our actions.

We have created a Libguide called All you need to know about printing, where you can find more information on how to print, including from home, your own device and USB. For more general information on how to use the Library, have a look at our Libguide – Library Essentials, which covers printing as well.


Quick Start Library Guide: 3 – Printing and photocopying

There is a lot to information take in during your first week, so we have picked out 5 things you need to know about the Library and each day this week we will tell you about a different aspect of the Library service through our blog.


3 – Printing and photocopying

There are two printer/photocopiers available for you to use in the Library and and four in the Computer Rooms.
You have a combined printing and photocopying account which can be accessed using you SGUL ID card.

Registering your ID card

The first time you try to print/photocopy you will be asked to enter your SGUL username and password, do this (but don’t press login) and then touch your ID card on the card reader; this registers your card on the printing system and means that in future you can access your printing account by swiping your card at any printer/photocopier in the Library or Computer Rooms.
Printing/photocopying costs

 Cost per sheet A4 A3
Black and white 4p 7p
Colour 14p 21p

Note that all printing defaults to double-sided black and white.  If you need colour or single-sided you need to change the printer settings at your computer.

Topping up your account

There are three ways you can top up your account:

  • Using the online top-up at (debit or credit card, minimum £2) or use the Quick Link on the Library homepage
  • Using the cash-loader in Computer Room 3
  • Using the top-up terminal near the photocopiers (debit or credit card, minimum £2)

All of these methods also allow you check how much credit you have already.

For help printing or copying please ask a member of Library staff.

Returning students: transfer your flexicard credit before 31st October

If you are a returning student and have printing/photocopying credit on an old flexicard, the credit can now be transferred to your new printing/photocopying account.

Please take your flexicard to:
Media Services Reception
4th Floor Hunter Wing
9am-5pm Monday-Friday

Please note that this offer ends on 31 October 2011.  No refunds or transferrals will be given after this deadline.

New way to release your print jobs and photocopy

There is now a new way to release your print jobs and photocopy…you can now release your print jobs at any SGUL printer using quick swipe print-release using your SGUL ID card.

How to register your ID card for quick swipe print release*

  • Press the ‘User ID’ button on the screen of the device
  • Using the onscreen keyboard enter your network username and select ‘OK’
  • Then press the ‘Password’ button on the screen of the device
  • Using the onscreen keyboard enter your network password and select ‘OK’ (for capitals  select the ‘Shift’ button)
  • Just swipe your ID card over the card reader
  • Your card has now been registered.

Important – remember to log out: Select the Access button twice to log out

* not available to NHS staff. Please ask library staff for further information.

How to print

  • Select File and Print as normal.
  • Choose one of the following: Secure Mono Duplex or Secure Colour Duplex (double-sided is the default)

How to release printing on the new printers

  • Go to your nearest printer
  • Swipe your ID card over the card reader or, for NHS staff, enter your username and password on the screen (Please note: to use the swipe function, you must do a one-time registration of your ID card.)
  • Press the ‘My Print Jobs’ button on the left of the screen.
  • Press on the job you wish to print, or press ‘Select All’. Then press the blue Start button below the screen

Important – remember to log out: Select the Access button twice to log out

Library printing and photocopying unavailable on 17th August while new system is installed

Please be aware that the system for printing and photocopying will be changing this week.
Printing and photocopying facilities in the Library and Computer Rooms will be unavailable on Wednesday 17 August while the new system is installed.
The new system for printing and photocopying will enable you to:

  • Release print jobs quickly by swiping your ID card, or verifying your login details, at any of the printers/photocopiers in the Library and Computer Rooms.
  • Top-up online using a credit or debit card – minimum £5 online top-up.  Topping-up less than £5? Please ask at the Library Helpdesk
  • View your account balance online

For more information, please ask at the Library Helpdesk.

How the new printing system works in the Computer Rooms.

  • To activate your printing account you must first  send something to print.

  • Enter your password when prompted.

  • When you see a message saying you have insufficient funds come to the Helpdesk to put money on your account.

  • You will need to fill out an orange slip saying how much money  you want to add and what your username is.

  • You can only top up your printing account at the Library helpdesk. If you are going to be using the computer rooms when we are closed make sure you have topped up your account beforehand.

  • Printing is 5p per page whether double or single sided. The printers default to printing double sided. If you need to print single-sided select from the drop down printer selection menu.