Apr 16

Last month I described a bug in Apple Pages which caused Pages to place hidden color information in greyscale documents. This is fine if you are printing at home but if you take those documents to a commercial printer you will be charged at color copy rates instead of black and white. At our local Officeworks store this means paying 65 cents per page instead of 8 cents.

Today Apple support contacted me to say that they are very sorry but that this is not a bug. It is the way the software was designed. Apple Pages cannot print a greyscale document. It can only print in color. They suggested that I could put in a ‘feature request’ to request that Pages print in greyscale.

This is outrageous. Apple in its software clearly gives the impression that it is printing in greyscale. When users discover the extra costs they have been incurring this potentially opens Apple to litigation. The color selector tools in Pages are clearly misleading. Let me explain.

Selecting text color in Pages

Pages has a color tool to select text color. There are 4 options you can use to select text color. You can use a Greyscale slider, RGB sliders, CMYK sliders or HSB sliders.

You can select text color using 4 methods. One of them is a ‘greyscale’ slider.

Apple’s ‘Greyscale’ is not true greyscale – it contains color.

‘RGB’,’CMYK’ and ‘HSB’ allow to to select a color, but Pages also has an option to print in ‘greyscale.’ You may think that if you choose ‘greyscale’ you are getting a percentage of black, but you are not. You are getting a grey that has some blue or red added. While it may look like greyscale on the screen, when Pages prints it uses red or blue ink as well as black.

‘greyscale’ on Apple Pages in not true greyscale, it contains some hints of color

The problem with having some color in your greyscale is that if you take your document to a commercial printer it will be detected as a color page and cost 65 cents per page (color printing rates) instead of 8 cents.

Forcing true greyscale doesn’t work

The way to get around this greyscale problem should be to use the CYMK sliders to create a ‘true’ greyscale with no color information in it. This works in other software like Microsoft Word, but not in Pages.

Here’s where things get deceptive… If you use the CYMK sliders to force a true ‘greyscale’ Pages still prints in color!

The ‘CMYK’ sliders should allow you to select the exact proportions of ink that you would like to use. ‘C’ refers to the cyan ink that is printed on the page, ‘M’ refers to the magenta ink and ‘Y’ yo yellow. K refers to black.

To print in ‘true’ greyscale using only black toner you can set 0%C 0%Y and 0%M this should give a true greyscale with no color ink.

Pages ‘appears’ to give you the option to print in true greyscale with no color toner.

As you can see in this screenshot above, I have select to print using pure black ink. It ‘appears’ to be true greyscale, but it’s not! When this ‘greyscale’ text is printed Pages still inserts some color into the printed page. Even though I have chosen to use black ink only, Pages adds color ink without any indication that it is doing so.

The biggest problem here is not that you can’t print in black and white. The biggest problem is that Pages is giving you the impression that you are printing in black and white when in fact it is sending color information to the printer.

The biggest problem is that Pages is giving you the impression that you are printing in black and white when in reality it is sending color information to the printer.

If your workplace is using Apple pages and it prints any greyscale documents this will be costing them money. If a workplace is on a commercial printing plan where they pay different rates for color or black and white copies this will be costing them money. This is extremely hard to track down in a large organisation that has multiple users printing in both black and white and color and where the accounts are paid by the accounts department who don’t know which documents you are trying to print. So when the accounts department tell you to use less color to reduce printing costs, it may in fact be that you are not using color but Pages is turning your greyscale documents to color!

If your workplace is using Apple pages and it prints any greyscale documents at all this will be costing them money.

The worst part is that Apple is covering this problem up and failing to acknowledge the problem.

Feel free to leave a comment below if you think you may have been affected by this issue. And also feel free to make a ‘feature request’ to Apple about this. I guess the ‘feature’ you are asking for is that Apple don’t put color information in their greyscale, although I’m failing to see how this is a ‘feature’!

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Apr 12

A bug in Apple’s OS X printing software could see consumers unknowingly pay thousands of dollars extra in printing bills. The bug causes some black and white documents to be billed as colour documents by an attached printer. Businesses on a commercial printing plan will be potentially paying thousands of dollars extra in printing bills.

The bug causes some black and white documents to be billed as colour documents by an attached printer.

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Dec 14

The “Create Booklet” PDF action stopped working when Mojave was released. It seems to be to do with Apple requiring an increased level of application signing. What this means is that the old version of Create Booklet (that was free) that I wrote about here no longer works. You need to download the new version from the Apple App Store. (It costs $20). I’m not sure if it’s worth $20 just to be able to make a booklet. It may be worth it to you. In my opinion it should be a feature that the built in OSX print driver can do. But for now I cannot find any free options to do this.

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Nov 04

I have a Fuji – Xerox A3 printer that can staple and fold, but sometimes the paper curls up and so the printer doesn’t staple properly. I just discovered this fantastic tip from the Fuji Xerox website which has solved my problem so I thought I’d pass it on.

Paper should be fed with the grain direction parallel to the feed path. That is, a long grain A4 should be fed “long edge feed”. If you are not sure on the grain direction, simply tear a corner off one sheet, lick it and it will curl parallel to the grain direction.


I was feeding all my A4 pages long edge first, so that they came out sideways. This is the default way that my printer feeds. (It is an A3 printer and so it prints A4 pages sideways.) The printer prints faster this way because the page is shorter in the direction of travel.

But I did not realise that this is printing ‘against the grain’ and is what causes the paper to curl. I started printing lengthways and it’s a great improvement, especially when it’s a bit humid.

This only applies if you are printing with a laser printer because it heats up the page. This would not be an issue for an inkjet printer.  If you have an A4 printer this will probably not be an issue either because it can only print lengthways on a4  piece of paper.

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Sep 12

Many printer manufacturers have a built in counter on the drum cartridge in their laster printers. This is so that the drum cartridge will get replaced at a regular interval and remain in good condition. The drum can in many cases continue to function a long time after the counter has expired. It is possible to reset the counter in the drum cartridge to extend it’s life. Then you can wait until there are marks or faded patches on the printed pages before you replace the cartridge. In some cases I have been able to reset the drum cartridge 3 times, extending the life of my cartridge to 400,000 copies instead of the the recommended 100,000.

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Mar 01


It can be a bit of a pain trying to print from you iOS devices or an Android phone.  Apple have helped by introducing Airprint,  but not all printers support Airprint so in some ways this has made the problem worse.  Yet again Google have come to the rescue. Google allow you to set up any of your printers as a ‘Google cloud printer.’  Here’s how.

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May 14

Preview app

This might be a bit obscure, but if you ever need to do it then this will save you a lot of time! Today I had 33 separate pdf files that I wanted to print out.  I wanted them all printed out in alphabetical order. It took me 3 attempts.  Here is how to get them to open in Preview in alphabetical order first go so you can print them in bulk.

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Jan 05


I have a Docucentre C4350 Fuji Xerox printer which does not have postscript installed. The normal drivers from Fuji assume you have Postscript installed. Here’s how to get the non-postscript printer going. Continue reading ⟩

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