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Home Printing Or Online Printing Services: What’s The Best Way To Print Photos?

Home Printing Or Online Printing Services: What’s The Best Way To Print Photos?

When it comes to printing your digital photos, you have two options: develop and print your photos at home, or utilize local or online printing services. Practically speaking, for someone who only needs to print occasionally, using printing services may seem like the better and more cost-efficient option. Maintaining your own photo printer at home, however, may actually be beneficial. With home printing, you can control and manage every single detail of the process, from resources to cost, whenever you print.

Online printing services (also referred as e-printing, digital printing, print-on-demand, etc.) are typically touted as the best way to print just about anything, which is basically true. They are very flexible, allowing customers to choose from a variety of packages starting from around $0.10-$1.00, depending on the quality and materials used. And you have a wide variety of photo or specialty paper at your fingertips. Home printing, on the other hand, can be limiting, whether we like to admit it or not. The output you can get will depend on whatever resources you can afford to have in stock. Thus, if you need a really professional-looking document, then you better have the right supplies at hand.

You may now be wondering: Why I shouldn’t dump my print buddy and switch to those printing services? Hold on, guys! Both ways have good and bad points. We just have to weigh a few things up here before you make any moves.

Home Printing: What Can It Do For Me?

Look at your own printer, but don’t get sentimental. Just imagine how simple it makes everything for you. Plain text, reports, graphics, office files, business documents, photos and images are just some materials that it can produce. Some consumers even consider it as an investment to have a printer. The initial cost of such devices is fairly low nowadays, ranging from $135-$500+ (based on the review posted in CNET by Calvin Yu, entitled Best Photo Inkjet Printers).

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Of course, there are supplies you need to buy first, like paper media and printer ink. However, in general, the overall cost per page of printing at home is much cheaper than the combined cost of charges that you have to pay for any printing services. Plus, you don’t have to walk through all the necessary processes involved in ordering online. You also don’t have to wait until the package gets delivered to your doorstep, even if it is just a day or two (unless you’re willing to drive to the store for a pickup).

Here’s another noteworthy advantage of home printing: with the right tool — I mean with a really competitive photo inkjet printer that can match up with the quality of prints one can get from a printing service — there’s no need for you to spend a couple of bucks per print when you can print with almost the same quality at the comfort of your home. That ultimately leads to the question: Which printer to choose? Well, that depends on your demands. Again consider it as an investment. A high-end model may run to a couple of hundred dollars more, simply because of extra features. So, first check the level of quality it can produce, as features and functionality may follow.

Printing Services: Why Should I Choose Them?

Firstly, let’s feature some of the best printing service providers that everyone talks about in the print industry. Here are some of the well-known online digital printing services you might want to look at:

SnapFish – Owned by Hewlett-Packard and membership is free. It offers storage, manageability and quality combined. It has a wide selection of photo gift categories, including calendars, posters, mugs, stationery, blankets, and clothing, as well as products and accessories for home and office. Pricing starts at $0.09 per print.

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ShutterFly – Has an online community blog for members, where showcasing and learning awesome print projects are possible. Members can have a personal space (blog/site with a personalized URL) to host their own gallery with unlimited space. Plus network sharing is one of its fun features. Typical digital prints and photo gifts are covered. Pricing starts at $0.15 per print.

SmugMug – Recommended for photographers. It provides your own gallery, which can be viewed publicly or exclusively. Be sociable with your networks via the Like, Tweet, and Bookmark buttons for each photo. It’s more than just a digital photo printing service. Pricing starts at $0.19 per print.

York Photo – It requires membership and is more like a social networking site, rather than a printing service. Covering all basic digital prints and photo gifts, like playing cards, homewares and home décor. Pricing starts at $0.08 per print.

These four services come under the digital photo printing services category, which also includes:

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  • RitzPix
  • Walgreens Photo Center
  • Walmart Photo Center
  • Sam’s Club Digital Photo Center
  • Costco Photo Center (Requires membership starting at $55)

And here’s a shortlist of the top competing online printing services currently available to choose from:

  • U Printing
  • FedEx Office
  • Next Day Flyers
  • Vista Print
  • Mimeo
  • Overnight Prints
  • Print Place
  • Print Pelican
  • 48Hour Print
  • PS Print

Note that online printing services may cover fewer categories and features when compared to digital photo printing services with a wider scope. Online printing services are best suited for printing standard business documents and marketing materials. Whereas, digital photo printing services, as the name itself implies, are bound to satisfy the specific needs of digital photography.

Online Printing Services: Tax And Shipping Cost

Tax and shipping charges are applied on top of the total purchase amount of prints you ordered. So to give you an idea, let’s use SnapFish’s shipping standards and product pricing (prices were originally taken from their official website). Shipping and handling fees vary from different online printing services.

In SnapFish, once an order has been placed, order processing takes 2-4 business days. Orders using standard shipping take 3-4 business days, so your order should be at your doorstep in 5-8 business days.

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For pricing, here’s a table of the calculated shipping cost for a 4×6 print order. Take note that state and local sales tax will be applied to all orders.


Standard
Price (each)
2-day
Price (each)
Overnight
Price (each)
Canada
Price (each)
International
Price (each)
1-5 prints 99¢ $8.99 $10.99 $1.99 $4.99

 

Quality-wise, these online photo printing services are indeed reliable, but can be costly and time-consuming. Should you need better print quality than you think your own printer can possibly deliver, then I guess it won’t hurt to spend your hard-earned money on some online printing services once in a while. Furthermore, a dedicated photo-inkjet printer comes with limitations. Most cannot print on mugs and shirts, for example! Primarily, it is the quality that you’re after, not to mention the perks that come with all these great services.

Now in light of all this new information, have you thought of putting up your own online printing service? Kidding aside, home printing can also perform some of the options being offered by websites. On top of printing out photos, having your own inkjet printer allows you to print business documents or school reports. A home printer is more than capable of fulfilling most of your needs. You just have to learn how to use it properly to fit to your preferences.

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Last Updated on May 18, 2020

25 Essential Windows Keyboard Shortcuts You Need to Know Now

25 Essential Windows Keyboard Shortcuts You Need to Know Now

If you are using Windows regularly, using these Windows keyboard shortcuts will definitely increase your productivity. Compiled below is an exclusive list of shortcuts that will help you breeze through your daily work.

You might know some of them, but there are certainly some hidden gems that you wouldn’t have heard of before. Once you start using them, you will notice how easy navigating and operating on Windows has become.

Basic Windows Keyboard Shortcuts

These are the most basic shortcuts and ones you’ll likely have heard of. They are key in moving through your work quickly and easily.

1. Ctrl+Z : Undo

shortcut

    Irrespective of what you are doing, or where you are doing it, Ctrl + Z is a lifesaver. One possibly can’t survive without this function.

    Whatever program you’re running, this function helps you get back to your last input. So don’t worry about all the mistakes as this particular shortcut will save you every time.

    2. Ctrl + A : Select All

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      Again, irrespective of which program you are running, this shortcut key selects all of the text, files, folders, or elements in any given program or page.

      Instead of spending your time dragging your mouse all over the page, use this to grab everything in one go.

      3. Ctrl + C : Copy

      shortcut

        You’ve selected what you wanted to. Now you’d like to copy it.

        This is probably one of the top shortcut keys people use when working on their Windows system. Easily copy whatever you like, and it stays with you until you are ready to paste it.

        4. Ctrl + V : Paste

        shortcut

          Easily paste all that you have copied. It could be a text, file, image, or folder. In any case, this is a very useful feature to bring everything together.

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          If you would like to paste plain, simple text without original formatting, just add Shift to it, i.e. Ctrl + Shift + V.

          5. Ctrl + X : Cut

          shortcut

            Don’t want a piece of text/table/image/file in a particular place?

            Simply select it and use the shortcut Ctrl + X. The piece gets removed and copied. Then, use the paste shortcut to paste it anywhere you like.

            6. Alt + Tab : Switch Screen/Tabs

            shortcut

              This one has been around for a while and has been enhanced with upgrades in the Windows OS. Simply press Alt and then the Tab key, and you will switch to the next tab/screen.

              Holding down the Alt button and tapping on Tab let’s you move and choose between multiple screens. Talk about multi-tasking!

              7. Ctrl + Alt + Del : Start Task Manager

              shortcut

                What happens when an application starts to lag or stops responding, or your windows OS stands still and you can’t move a thing? You summon Ctrl + Alt + Del! When you press them together, a magical box called the task manager opens up.

                You can then check out which programs/apps were making your PC slow and shut them down from the task manager itself, bringing your PC back to life.

                8. Alt + F4 : Close App

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                  This shortcut has been around for decades now! Simply press Alt plus the function F4 key and the application you’re using will close.

                  However, it is smart enough to ask you to save your work before it shuts down. It also works almost on anything right from your browser to games and custom applications.

                  9. Ctrl + F : Find

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                    You know you just wrote that sentence, and now you can’t find it! Or you really need to find a particular keyword in a document or a browser? Ctrl + F is the handy shortcut that will open a quick bar where you can type in the keyword, and it will show you all the results in the document matching your request.

                    10. Ctrl +H : Find and Replace

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                      You just finished your essay, and you realize you’ve been spelling the name of that scientist wrong the whole time! Now you not only need to find the keyword but replace all uses of it with something else. Not a problem at all. The Ctrl + H shortcut comes in handy here.

                      Just hit the keys and a box will open. You can simply type in the word that you need to find and replace. This works for most document types.

                      11. Ctrl + E : Select the Search Box

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                        Whether you are in your file explorer or browser, pressing Ctrl+E will select your search/navigation bar, and you can directly start typing into it. This will make your life easier when you need quick search.

                        12. Ctrl + N : Open a New Window

                        shortcut

                          Pressing Ctrl+N together will open up a new file or a window depending on if you are working in your browser or offline. This Windows keyboard shortcut works well with most offline applications and online browsers made for Windows.

                          13. Ctrl + Mouse Scroll Wheel : Zoom In/Out

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                            Text too small? Want to see the details more clearly? Viewing an infographic that requires zooming in? This shortcut provides exactly that.

                            If you are in a document, this command will make your files and folders appear larger, and if you are on your browser, it will simply zoom in on the page. Talk about attention to detail!

                            Advanced Windows Keyboard Shortcuts

                            14. Win + L: Lock Screen

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                            These Short Keys are Going to Make Your Life So Much More Productive

                              Stepping away, but don’t want to shut down or put your system to sleep? Win + L is a great shortcut. It helps you lock down your screen, and unless you re-enter your password nobody can open it (assuming you have a password set for your system).

                              15. Win + D : Show Desktop

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                                This is actually a quick minimize option. No matter how many tabs/windows are open, this shortcut quickly minimizes all of them and shows you the desktop, allowing you to access files or an application in a couple of clicks.

                                16. Win + Tab (+ Shift) : Toggle Task View

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                                  This shortcut is very similar to what Alt + Tab does, but it is a more advanced level Windows app navigator. When you press it, you will see tiles of all the open programs and most used programs.

                                  You can scroll or jump between them by additionally pressing the shift key with the Win + Tab command.

                                  17. Win + C : Opens Cortana

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                                    Are you a fan of voice control or like using Cortana to get things done quickly? You can summon her by using the Win + C shortcut. She’ll then be available to grant your every request.

                                    18. Win + Prt Sc : Save Screenshot

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                                      While Prt Sc allows you to take a screenshot, pressing the Windows button at the same time allows you to automatically save the screenshot. There is a folder named “screenshot” in your pictures destination, where PNG files of the screenshot will get saved. No need to add another screenshot tool!

                                      19. Win + I : Open Settings

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                                        Need to quickly open the settings tab? Now, you don’t need to browse through 3-4 destinations to reach the settings tab. Just hit Win + I to open up the settings menu for Windows.

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                                        20. Win + S : Search for Windows

                                        10 Great Keyboard Shortcuts to Make Life Easy

                                          You will always have that file or application that you can’t find on your PC. For this, Windows introduced the search bar.

                                          You can easily open it by pressing Win + S and typing in the file name you want to look up. Additionally, since Cortana is integrated with the search function, you can use it to ask additional questions as well.

                                          21. Fn + F2 : Rename

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                                            Depending on the hardware manufacturer, F2 keys perform various tasks, like volume up/down or turn Wifi off/on. However, using the Fn + F2, you can quickly use the Rename file option when a file/folder is selected. Say goodbye to the right click.

                                            22. Fn + F5 : Refresh

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                                              Your PC stuck is stuck and the processor can’t keep up. Refresh is a good method to get things moving. Pressing Fn + F5 can refresh Windows, or if you are working on your browser, it can refresh that, too.

                                              23. Win + X : Hidden Menu

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                                                Did you know that windows had a hidden menu? Press Win + X and see it pop-up. It will give you access to all the essential areas of the system.

                                                24. Win + V : Navigate Through Notifications

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                                                  If you have configured notifications and alerts on your systems, this shortcut will help you easily toggle through all of them. It’s extremely useful for people who are especially popular or busy.

                                                  25. Win + Ctrl + B : Open App That Displayed a Notification

                                                    You’re working, and a notification pops up that needs your attention. Use Win + Ctrl + B, and the explorer will switch to the application that sent you the notification. Swift.

                                                    The Bottom Line

                                                    You might be excited to start using all of these Windows keyboard shortcuts right away. While I advise you to try them all out, it entirely depends on how you engage with your system and what work you do. Any number of them can be generally useful. Start experimenting today.

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