Epson Stylus Photo R300M

The Windows driver software looks very much like other Epson printer drivers, across the top are the usual "tabs" to jump to the three basic sections of the driver; Main, Page Layout and Utility.

The MAIN page lets you select the Quality Option based on the print job; Draft, Text, Text & Image, Photo or Best Photo. Paper Options; Source, Borderless, Type (Plain Paper, Bright White Paper, Photo Quality Inkjet Paper, Matte Paper - Heavyweight, Photo, Glossy, Premium Glossy, Premium Luster, Premium Semi-Gloss, Color Life Photo Paper, Inkjet Transparency, CD/DVD, CD/DVD Premium Surface) and Size. Enable PhotoEnhance, Reverse Order and Print Preview options. Visibly check the ink levels in all six cartridges. Set the Orientation for Portrait or Landscape.

Clicking on the "Advanced" button from the Main page which display this page of options. You have the ability to set or override just about all the important printer settings; media type, print quality, high speed on/off, flip horizontal (mirror for transparency or backlight media) and color controls galore. Color management is handled by Windows ICM or you're free to manually "diddle" with just about everything.

The Page Layout options let you enlarge or reduce, set number of copies, print multi-pages per sheet, adjust the borderless expansion, print a watermark image or enable double-sided booklet printing.

The Maintenance page lets you start the Status Monitor, run a Nozzle Check, perform Head Cleaning, Align the Print Head and set Printer Option information.

Whenever you have an active print job the Epson Status Monitor pops up and shows you the current ink levels and the progress of the printing. You can also get all sorts of printing "tips and tricks" if desired.

Checking the "Print Preview" option on the first driver page is always a good idea. I use the print preview function as my last visual confirmation that I have selected the proper orientation and printing format. Unfortunately the Epson print preview does not have a ruler scale or indicate the chosen paper size which would really help you make sure that you also selected the right media type and size.

The paper size and orientation is chosen from the Page Setup menu of Mac apps. The Print Settings menu gives you acess to the Media Type, Color or Black (ink) and Mode, click on Advanced to access the Best Photo and RPM modes as well as the Super Microweave, High Speed and Mirror options.

The Color Management menu lets you adjust the Gamma (1.8, 2.2 or none), manually adjust the brightness, contrast, saturations and colors or select ColorSync to use the Mac's builtin color management or No Color Adjustment for none.

The maintenance options are accessed by running the Printer Utility program found in the Applications folder. You can run a Nozzle Check, initiate the Head Cleaning cycle or Align the printheads. You can also start the Status Monitor - see the next frame.

The Status Monitor lets you visually see how much ink is left in the cartridges.

The Mac driver lacks a preview function but some applications such as iPhoto, which comes with the iMac, provides a print preview of its own as shown above.