Reviewed: Geetesh Bajaj
September 13th 2008
February 23rd 2009
Printing, assembling, and mailing things like PowerPoint handouts can be a tiresome process even if you have someone to take care of these things -- although they may still not be able to help you if you need it all in the middle of the night or if you are halfway around the world. Local copy shops can also be a pain since you may not get consistent output.
Mimeo.com is a online service which provides on-demand printing, finishing, and distribution for your documents from your desktop. In this review, we'll do a test print, and see how Mimeo fares.
Mimeo.com is from Mimeo, a Memphis, Tennessee, USA based company. You can learn more about the Mimeo service from their site.
Mimeo is not just about online printing -- they also help create complex bound documents as per your exact specifications. You can choose color or black & white printing, add different bindings, covers, paper stocks and finishing options, including customized tabs, dividers and slip sheets. Delivery is quick, one or more copies can be delivered to single or multiple addresses overnight at the highest quality.
You can even store any or all of your documents electronically as part of your free Mimeo Doc Center where you can update and revise specific sections without rebuilding your entire document. Combine different files to create new documents and only print out what you need, or print as and when required.
Mimeo works through their Windows based print driver that we discuss next.
You first need to sign up for a Mimeo account. Signup is free and takes a moment.
Soon thereafter, you can download the Mimeo print driver. The printer driver is available for all Windows versions from Windows 95 to Windows Vista. As of now there are no Mac OS drivers, but you can use the PDF output options built inside the Mac OS, and upload those PDFs to your Mimeo account.
Once the Mimeo driver is installed, you'll find it listed in the Printer dropdown list within any Print dialog box from any application (see Figure 1).
Figure 1: Mimeo's printer driver shows up in all Print dialog boxes.
Working within Mimeo.com is intuitive -- here's a typical workflow:
- You print from any print-capable Windows application -- in this
case I decided to print handouts from
a PowerPoint presentation, and
chose Mimeo as the selected printer
(refer to Figure 1).
- Mimeo then presents you with a dialog box so that you can provide
a name to the document, by default
this comprises the program and
document names (see Figure 2).
Figure 2: Name your print file
- Mimeo then compresses the print file so that the documents
can be loaded faster to the Mimeo
Figure 3: Files are being compressed
- You then need to sign into your Mimeo account (see Figure
4). If you don't already have a Mimeo account, you can sign
up through the Sign-up now button.
This launches the sign-up page
Figure 4: Sign-in, or sign-up to create a new Mimeo account
- One you sign-in, Mimeo uploads the print file to your account
library on Mimeo's servers.
Figure 5: Transfer the print files
- When the transfer is complete, you need to click the Continue
button on the Mimeo interface to
continue to the next step (see Figure 6).
Figure 6: Print files have been transferred
- This opens your Mimeo account in a browser window (see Figure
Figure 7: Your documents are now within your Mimeo library
- You click the Continue button (not visible in Figure 7, above)
to proceed with printing the active
document. Next you choose whether
you want to print in color or black
and white -- or if you want to
print on one or both sides of the
paper -- look at Figure 8, I like
the fact that you can see the cost
of your prints even at this stage.
Figure 8: Choose basic printing options
- In the next screen, you see an online proof, and add finishing
touches -- choose the paper stock,
binding type, the hole punch type,
and the cover finish -- this itself
lends to dozens of possibilities
-- I'm glad the Mimeo folks made
this so intuitive to use (see Figure
9 ). Note
that all times, your total cost is
displayed on the top right. When you are done, click the Add to
Shopping Cart option.
Figure 9: Add finishing options
- You can now opt to save your printing and finishing options
-- thereafter, the experience is
like any other shopping cart --
you can choose one or more recipients,
quantities, shipping options,
However, there are small touches that make the experience better -- you can maintain an address book so that frequent recipients on the list are easily accessible. You can also customize a greeting for the packing slip.
Finally, you add funds to your Mimeo account as required through your credit card -- once you are done, Mimeo provides you with a tracking code via email for the shipments.
Mimeo pricing depends so much on the many combinations of quantities, printing, finishing, and shipping charges.
Support is through a live chat option on the Mimeo site, a toll free number, email, and online demos.
I found pricing for Mimeo services to be competitive compared to copy shops, and the output is very professional. If you travel often, or if you frequently need good finishing options for your documents, Mimeo provides you with a very well thought of, and complete solution.
Here's a picture of the document I received as part of my test order.
Figure 10: Mimeo output and packaging
I do wish Mimeo opens newer centers worldwide other than the US
so that users can print and ship economically to recipients worldwide.