Even the highest quality printers will give you a little trouble from time to time. The key is to become familiar with your printer so that you can troubleshoot the simple issues when they occur. Keep your owner’s manual handy and always follow the manufacturer’s instructions. While you shouldn’t attempt to actually service your printer, there are a few relatively simple issues that you can fix yourself.
From time to time, your printer may experience a paper jam. Usually, this is when you are printing an important job, but most of the time, it is minor. When this happens, you may have to lift the lid of the printer and gently pull any paper that is jammed. You will probably be able to continue with the print job as soon as the paper jam is fixed. Be sure and check to see that all pages printed properly as one or more of them may have only partially printed.
Some printers will accept generic ink cartridges and some will only accept manufacturer cartridges. While you can get generic ink cartridges much cheaper, if your printer does not accept them, do not try to force the issue. Some printers are designed this way and even if the cartridges appear to fit, they may not print. In addition, be very careful if you attempt to refill an ink cartridge yourself as you could ruin the printer if the ink leaks. Again, follow manufacturer’s instructions when it comes to which ink you use.
Many printers are plug and play, meaning they will print as soon as you connect them to your computer; however, some will require that you install printer drivers. If this is required, you should have gotten a driver CD with your printer. If you cannot find it and you receive a message that tells you to install printer drivers, most of the time, you can look online to find the drivers you need. Go to the manufacturer’s website and look under support.
Not all printers come with a printer cable so before you sit down and get ready to print, make sure you have the right cable for your printer. If you are shopping online, look to see if the printer comes with a cable; if not, you may need to purchase one separately.
Sometimes, your printer may display the message that you are out of paper when you’re really not. If this happens, remove the paper from the tray and reset it. It could just be that the paper shifted and the part that picks the paper up can’t reach it. In addition, if your printer starts picking up multiple sheets at once, you may need to reset the paper. Always keep your printer clean as you can have issues when dust and dirt accumulate. It is also important to make sure your printer is sitting on a flat surface.
If your printer doesn’t print, check the cable first to make sure it is securely connected. Also, make sure the printer is plugged in and turned on. Most printers have a power light when they are on. Sometimes, there are issues when your computer does not “see” your printer so you may need to go into the printer properties and make sure there is a checkmark beside your printer.
If you are printing a very large print job, it can take a few minutes for your printer to begin printing so be patient. If you keep hitting the print button, you will be surprised when your printer makes several copies of your document. If you are curious as to whether your printer is about to begin printing, look in the printer queue to see if it has received the job.
While printer problems can be extremely frustrating, most of them can be easily fixed, assuming you do have a working printer. Most manufacturers have a website where they offer support and many of them have user manuals online too. Try the printer troubleshooting steps listed in your owner’s manual first and if that doesn’t work, you may need to seek support from the manufacturer.