Take Precautions, Avoid Printer Problems & Fix Them When They Do Arise

If you think printing a page is a snap, think again. Your printer decides to misbehave when you are in a hurry and what should be a matter of a minute or so takes more than fifteen minutes.

Take these precautions and avoid printer problems.

Before you start a print job:

  • Check that the cables are fitting perfectly in the ports–
    This will help avoid issues of garbled printouts. Just to be sure, unplug and replug the cables before switching the printer.
  • Check that there are no pieces of paper jamming the paper pathway in the printer. This will help avoid paper jams and waste of time.
  • Check that the printer shows up correctly on your computer system. If it is an inkjet printer the cartridge levels should be displayed. This will help avoid issues of error message or the printer ejecting paper without any
    print on it due to insufficient ink.
  • Check printer settings. If you are printing only text, set printer for “economy” mode or for lower dpi resolution. This will help conserve ink and result in fast printouts. If you are printing images, check color calibration, set printer and monitor profiles and the color space in both the program from which you are printing and in the printer set up dialog boxes. If the color space is set to RBG, your CMYK printer will print colors that are quite off. Also check the paper type selection in printer dialog box. If you are printing on glossy photo paper, select the paper type accordingly and choose vivid for more saturated colors, along with highest quality settings for graphics.
  • If you have more than one printer installed, select the right printer and set it as default printer so that Windows directs the print job to the selected printer.
  • Most printers, inkjet or laser, will accept paper from 70 gsm to 130 gsm. Thinner or thicker paper is likely to jam
  • If you are using inkjets to print on glossy paper, you may have smudged prints since the water based inks are not easily absorbed by the glossy coat.
  • If inkjet cartridges are exhausted, do not refill them. Instead, buy new, same brand cartridge for quality prints.
  • Before printing, insert paper carefully, aligning it square so that it feeds correctly and helps you avoid issues of paper jam.
  • When printer is not in use, switch it off and cover it with a dust cover to prevent ingress of dust particles. This prevents clogging of print heads and jamming of rollers as well as printhead slideways. When you switch on inkjets after a long time, first run the cartridge head cleaning option in the printer dialog box and take a test printout.

Common issues:

  • Printer does not print the page as displayed on the computer: Check for page size in your program as well as in printer setting and insert correct paper size in the printer paper tray.
  • Garbled printouts: incorrect printer driver, improper cable connection, clogged print heads. Remove existing driver and re-install driver. Unplug and replug connector at printer and computer sockets. Run print head cleaning option if you are using inkjet printers. You may need to remove and clean heads but this is a delicate operation best left to professionals.
  • Low ink level warning: Replace ink cartridge following instructions of printer manufacturer. Cleaning heads will also resolve issues of blank white lines in your printouts.
  • Slow Wireless Wi-Fi printing: move printer closer to the router.

These are the most common issues you can avoid or tackle as they crop up. For others, you need expert care, either at the manufacturer’s service station or a professional repair shop.