How bad is it to print personal documents using an office printer? I would do it maybe once every six months, printing around 100 pages on average.

  • 9
    Ask your supervisor.
    – Kevin
    Commented Jul 30, 2014 at 15:20
  • 16
    One thing you want to especially avoid doing is printing your resume or any other job application documents. I saw someone get fired for that when a manager saw them before they were picked up.
    – HLGEM
    Commented Jul 30, 2014 at 15:34
  • 5
    I'd really like to point out that you can not simply go ahead and do it as some answers here suggest. Yes, many employers will be fine and don't care - But regardless of that, you can not simply assume your employer is fine with that. Using office equipment for personal use is stealing and can get you fired, even a single piece of paper (at least in Germany; there are lots of court orders were people have been fired for "stealing" leftover food which would have been thrown away). Just ask and you want risk your job because of something like that.
    – dirkk
    Commented Jul 30, 2014 at 16:09
  • 7
    I find it incredibly hard to believe that people get fired or disciplined for printing some pages. If that does happen, I am sure that the printing is being used as a pretext (or last straw) for a long-standing desire to get rid of the person in question. That said, if you have to ask, it is probably better to just print it via web at a local printer and pick it up on the way home (eg kinkos in the US). The quality and options are far better than the average office printer and you have privacy.
    – teego1967
    Commented Jul 30, 2014 at 20:39

5 Answers 5


Regardless of the amount, using office equipment for personal stuff is 'not done' (formally/officially). I would not be surprised if that is written somewhere in your contract/agreements/company rules.

Just ask. Usually, for small amounts, companies don't see a problem and give you permission.

  • 1
    True, I aksed them, ta Commented Jul 30, 2014 at 15:24
  • Legally at first it is exactly the same thing as taking your work printer to your home. Formally it is taking property of your company and using facilities of your property for personal needs. Of course in some companies it is overlooked, like using the company car to pick up your wife from the airport, but that is individual allowance and has to be asked beforehand.
    – Falco
    Commented Jul 31, 2014 at 12:25
  • And imagine the scenario where a macro-virus is in the private document you are printing. You can damage computers or the printer in the process, since you missused it for personal gain, it can lead to serious consequences, like having to pay for damages and losing your job. Especially if the stuff you're printing is considered illegit in any way (copyright and so on...)
    – Falco
    Commented Jul 31, 2014 at 12:28

100 pages? What, are you printing a novel?

Every office I've worked in has turned a blind eye to the odd bit of personal printing. Paper confirmation for a ticket? Letter to the Tax Inspector? Sure, go ahead.

Ask your boss ahead of time, I can't imagine anyone caring about 1 or 2 pages.

But 100 pages? That's taking advantage of your company's good nature.

Honestly, a cheap laser printer is under £50 new. If you're going to be printing a lot, invest in one.


In my experience, printing a few things infrequently is fine - just like making infrequent, personal phone calls is fine and taking care of banking or something using your work computer is fine. 100 pages might be borderline, since that's enough that it can disrupt actual work for other people that need to print.

As long as you're getting your work done, not preventing others from getting their work done, and not using up hundreds of dollars of paper... it's usually fine.

  • 1
    Problem is that if your position at the company is under threat and someone is actively looking for things you were doing wrong, then suddenly private printing could come up.
    – gnasher729
    Commented Jul 30, 2014 at 16:00
  • 10
    @gnasher729 - how is that a problem? If your position is under threat, people are going to find (or make up) something.
    – Telastyn
    Commented Jul 30, 2014 at 16:01
  • @Telastyn, this depends very much on your jurisdiction. In germany, for example, it's very hard to fire someone if the company is big enough and the employee has been with the company for a long time, and there have been lots of cases in the last few years that made it to the newspapers when people have been fired for eating food instead of throwing it away, or charging their smartphone ("electricity theft"). Of course, these were cases when the company was searching desperately for a court-proof reason, but they might do the same to every employee in order to not damage their legal options. Commented Jul 31, 2014 at 11:52

It's not bad per se, many companies allow their employeed to print their personal stuff on the printer, such as tickets etc. When it's goint to the Master's thesis, it's in interest of the company to have worker higher qualified, at least usually. The costs are, be honest, minimal, so there's no really good reason for the company to forbid workers to print private stuff. It's really rare that the workers will have so much stuff to print that it would generate significant costs. It's often considered as a kind of benefit.

Of course, the company is free to forbid you doing so, and in that case, you must simply obey, no matter if you agree or not.

If you have any doubt on that matter, you should ask your management if it's OK or not.


I have seen people getting into issues because they printed personal documents. Usually printers are shared between offices and an employee from a different department will not be pleased to find out that they can't get their documents because someone is using the printer for personal purposes.

Talk to your supervisor and justify the cause. In case anything goes wrong, it is good to know that you talked to someone about it. I justify it by telling my manager how long it will take me to go to a local print shop and getting my documents.

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