7 Most common printer issues and how to fix them

7 Most common printer issues and how to fix them 1
Canon S520 ink jet printer

It’s easy to get frustrated when a printer doesn’t work as expected. But you don’t always have to visit the local technician or have a lengthy phone call with the printer vendor’s technical support team to have a printer issue resolved.


Disclosure: This is a guest post and the author’s views here do not necessarily reflect those of the blog owner.

Listed below are the seven most common printer issues along with quick-fix remedies to solve them:

See also how to set up NVIDIA SHIELD TV.


7 Most common printer issues and how to fix them

1. Web pages and spreadsheets are not printing properly

Web pages aren’t generally designed to be printed; they aren’t limited by the size of the paper in your printer. Spreadsheets on the other hand are often too wide (more columns) or too long (more rows) to fit in properly when printed on paper.

Therefore, it is a good practice to always use the Print Preview option to check what you’ll get.

Remove unnecessary data such as ad banners, comments, sidebars, etc. from web pages before printing them. In the case of spreadsheets, shrink rows/columns or reduce the font size.  You can also select a set of cells that you need to print and not the entire spreadsheet.

  • Print web pages and spreadsheets in the Landscape Mode if they are too wide.
  • If the document at hand is a bit too big to fit on the paper, use the printer’s shrink-to-fit option.
  • Use the ‘Print’ button on a web page, as and when you find it, instead of the web browser’s print menu.

2. Print quality is very poor

Blocked ink nozzles on an inkjet’s printhead can result in poor colors or horizontal streaks on prints. Cleaning the printhead will resolve this issue. You can do it manually. Some printers allow users to initiate printhead cleaning cycles from the printer software or the printer control panel. Look this up in the owner’s manual; check the maintenance section.

The paper-type also affects print quality. Avoid using the photocopier paper if you want the best quality. It may be absorbing too much ink. For the highest quality prints, buy good quality paper, preferably the one recommended by the printer vendor.

Print quality in case of laser printers is less dependent on paper. If you notice spots or smudges in the same area each time you print something, it means there’s some dirt on the drum. Use a piece of soft, lint-free lint free cloth and isopropyl alcohol to gently wipe off the dirt.

3. Wireless printing is too slow

If your printer delivers prints at normal speed when connected via USB or Ethernet cable but wireless printing is too slow, it’s almost certainly due to low data transfer rate over the wireless connection.

Consider moving the router closer to the printer. Make sure the router that you’re using can handle wireless printing with 802.11n support; it should offer 5GHz band and have 2.4GHz. Also, do check if the printer software requires an update.

4. Frequent paper jams

Follow the following tips to prevent frequent paper jams:

  • Make sure the paper that you’re using is supported by your printer.
  • Store paper in a dry environment; moisture can make printing difficult and even result in a paper jam.
  • In order to remove any dust or static charge, try fanning the stack of paper.
  • When using thicker paper for certain print jobs, use the bypass tray to manually feed each sheet of paper into the printer.
  • Make sure the paper is positioned correctly in the input paper tray; misaligned paper is a common cause of paper jams.

Inspect the paper path; if you find any foreign object or jammed material lose inside the printer, gently pull it out. Paper stuck inside the printer should be pulled out straight; avoid tearing it. Use a pair of long tweezers to pull out a piece of paper if it’s hard to reach. In case the jammed paper is caught between the rollers, you need to release the pressure first.  

5. Can’t print from smartphone or tablet

First things first, make sure your printer supports mobile printing. If you want to print from an iPhone or iPad, the printer should have wireless access point and also support AirPrint. Most printer models today support AirPrint but there’s still large number of printers, particularly older ones, that don’t offer AirPrint support.

If you’re using an Android device, install Google Cloud Printer app from Google Play store. Add the printer connected to the PC. When the PC and printer are switched on, you can print from your android phone or tablet.

If the printer is connected to a Mac, you can turn it into an AirPrint printer by installing HandyPrint.

All major printer vendors such as Epson, HP, Canon, etc. have dedicated apps for mobile printing. Install the correct app to wirelessly connect your mobile device to the printer.

6. Printer cartridge runs out of ink or toner too soon

  • Do not always print at a high resolution; use the Draft or Economy mode to save on ink or toner.  
  • Avoid printing photos and graphics-rich documents too often unless your printer uses ultra-high-capacity ink tanks.
  • Use ink/toner-saving fonts such as Garamond, Calibri, and Eco Font.
  • Use smaller fonts.
  •  Use high-yield printer cartridges that hold more ink/toner and help you save up to 20% on cartridge replacement costs.
  • Make sure you buy the right ink cartridge or toner.

7. Cartridge empty or low ink/toner error after having replaced the used printer cartridge

Printer warnings aren’t completely reliable. You may have just replaced the old printer cartridge with a new one and the printer still insists that it needs a new cartridge. Unless the ink cartridge or toner itself is damaged, you can easily fix this issue by performing a ‘hard reset.’ The exact instructions for resetting a printer will vary across different models. You can easily find an online video tutorial on how to reset a specific printer model.  

This is a guest post by George Mendelson.

My name is George Mendelson. I am the PR Media Manager at InkjetsClub, a nationwide leading ink and toner retailer. One of my passions is educating and helping people through all the issues related to Printers, Ink Cartridges and Toners.


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