Common Problems Why Your Printer Won't Print

It is frustrating to find your print job stuck in the queue or not coming out correctly. No matter how often you print, it isn't easy to understand what happened to it, much less how to fix it.

To help you, we will list the most common problems why a printer does not print. You'll be able to fix most issues with one of these recommendations. By reading this and trying some of the recommendations, you should be able to fix your problem and print your document.


Indicator Lights on the Printer

The first thing to check is whether the printer indicates what the issue is through the indicator lights. You will see small illuminated icons between the buttons or on the screen that highlights the printing error.

If you can not identify the icon, look for the printer manual that came with the printer. You can search for and download it online if you no longer have the manual. Usually, you can find it on the printer's official website by searching for your printer model.


Printer Is Not Connected

If you do not see any buttons illuminated, the print signal may not be reaching the printer. This may be due to a connection failure.  

This suggestion may seem simple, but ensure your printer is turned on and connected to the internet if you print wirelessly.

If the printer is turned on, check your computer settings to ensure you have selected the correct printer.

For Windows: click on Settings > Devices > Printers & Scanners

For MAC: go to System Preferences > Printers & Scanners


Find your printer and select it as "Default printer". If you have multiple printers added in your Settings, be sure to have the one you want selected.

If you do not find your printer in the list, it's probably not connected yet to the computer or device. Follow your manufacturer's instructions on how to set up a printer with your computer or device.


Wi-Fi Connection Issues

Lack of range from the modem to the printer, a power outage, or other issues between the modem and the printer may have affected the printer's Wi-Fi connection, preventing the printer from receiving a signal.

If the printer was connected wirelessly, it is recommended to turn off both devices (printer and modem); after a few seconds, turn them back on and let them reconnect.  

If that doesn't work, try unplugging it and reconnecting it for the first time.

Otherwise, the wireless settings may have been lost, and you'll need to follow the same steps as when you first connected it wirelessly.


Printer Driver Problems

Printers require you to install the latest printer driver to function properly. 

Even if the drivers were installed at startup, the release of a new version may be affecting the behavior of your printer. You'll need to update the driver to have it function again. Computer software upgrades, viruses, or other problems can also indicate a driver issue. So, it is recommended that you reinstall the drivers from the manufacturer.

Check your printer manufacturer's support page. We recommend you search the internet for the name of your printer manufacturer plus the word "Support"; most websites leave this information in the "Drivers" section.

Some support sites allow you to search directly for your printer's model number. Locate and download the latest driver for your printer model, then follow the installation instructions on the manufacturer's website.


Out of Paper & Paper Jams

First, check if the tray has the right paper size. It sounds too basic, but this is usually the issue. Most print jobs are for 8x11 paper, but if you are printing a different size, you must ensure that the correct size paper is available. 

Remove all the paper and paper trays from the printer in case of a paper jam. 

Before inserting the paper tray, peek through the space inside and look for any scraps of paper jammed inside. Use a flashlight and a pair of thin tweezers to look in all the nooks and crannies. Some printers will tell you which panel the paper is stuck in.

Once you are sure that nothing is jammed, re-insert the paper tray, add any extra sheets you need, and ensure they fit correctly.


Out of Ink or Clogged Printhead

If the print quality of your documents is not perfect, you may be out of ink or have a clogged printhead. If you suspect a clogged printhead, you should try a cleaning cycle, rebooting the printer and/or resetting the printer. 


If that doesn’t work, then print an ink supply page to determine if the printer is low or out of ink.

An example could be if your printer uses multiple color ink cartridges, the cartridge has enough color ink, but the printout has streaks or faded colors. The cartridges work by mixing the primary colors of the ink to create the colors of your design. So, if one color cartridge is running out, the printed document will not print correctly.

Something similar happens with black ink at the time of printing. There may still be ink in the cartridge, but the document will look much lighter, or you'll start to see white bars and lines in your text.

In these cases, replacing the cartridge with a new one is the best option.


New Cartridge is Not Working

If you have just changed the ink cartridge in your printer and it is not working, something may be wrong with the cartridge.

Start by checking which cartridge has been installed in the printer and that it is compatible with your printer.

Double-check the installation, that the protective seals are completely removed, that the cartridge is in the correct position, and the compartment closes smoothly.

Then check the expiration date of your cartridge and identify how it has been stored. Over 2 or 3 years of incorrect storage can result in dried ink. To understand the expiration date and how to properly store ink cartridges, please see our blog, What Does the Date on an Ink Cartridge Mean?

Check the manufacturer of your cartridge; did you buy a remanufactured or refilled ink cartridge? If you purchased a non-original cartridge for your printer, there might be factors that prevent printing. The most common is an incompatibility between the cartridge and the printer.

At Ink Genie, we never sell remanufactured or refilled ink cartridges. All of our cartridges are original, new ink and toner cartridges.


Printer Manufacturer Support

Each brand and printer model is unique, so they may have different ways of solving the same problem.

Here is a helpful list of common printing problems and diagnostics for different brands of printers:



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