Explaining HP Large Format Print Categories and Ink Coverage

Most HP Large Format devices support two different billing methods, Print Categories and Ink Coverage, in addition to standard square footage tracking.

Print Categories

HP’s Print Category billing method is widely used by HP dealers to bill for usage, and enables customers to have a single device that can print, and report, different types of printing. The standard HP Print Categories are:

  • Monochrome line drawing
  • Color line drawing
  • Low density image
  • High density image

In addition, there are two more optional categories that can be enabled:

  • Premium Quality Image (When enabled, any print job printed on certain paper types, regardless of ink usage, are assigned to this media for billing purposes)
  • Blueprint (used primarily in regions where government projects require CAD drawings submitted on blueprint paper)

Because Argos tracks Print Category billing by page, not print job, you may have multiple documents in a single print job that have different print categories. In these cases, Argos will separate the pages into individual jobs for billing purposes.

Billing by Color/BW only

HP Large Format devices are inkjet, and typically use color ink for every print, regardless of whether the output is in color or not. However, many billing contracts require separate prices for color and BW output.

To support this method, we recommend creating two Argos media types:

  • HP Large Format BW
  • HP Large Format Color

Map the “Monochrome Line Drawing” category to HP Large Format BW, and all other categories to HP Large Format Color. Standard BW output, which is typically line drawings, will be mapped to the BW media, and color output, regardless of the amount of ink used, will be assigned to the color media.

Ink Coverage

While most modern HP Large Format devices support Print Category billing, legacy devices may not. For older devices, Argos offers an alternate billing method based on the amount of ink present on each print job. Ink Coverage billing is similar to Print Category billing, with a few notable differences:

  • Ink Coverage is calculated over the entire print job, not per page
  • Color and Monochrome line drawings will be recorded as the same media
  • Ink Coverage categories are calculated in Argos, rather than defined by HP

Basic line drawing: is a typical CAD output (floor plans, elevations, etc.). 0-46 microliters per square foot.

Dense line drawing: is a CAD document with a large amount of text or a large number of lines or other vectors. 48-186 microliters per square foot.

Drawing or map with images: is a document that mixes lines, text, and large areas of color. 186-557 microliters per square foot.

Full color, full bleed image is a presentation board, poster, or other high-coverage document. Over 557 microliters per square foot.

We recommend using Print Categories for PageWide XL printers, and Ink Coverage for Designjet printers.



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