Does your printer not printing? Printers are becoming essential for personal and commercial usage in the digital era. They make it simpler to communicate information, keep physical records, or enjoy the convenience of having a physical copy on hand by enabling us to convert digital documents into real, tangible hard copies. However, sometimes a printer won’t work with you and doesn’t provide the prints you need. This annoying occurrence may be caused by a variety of things, from simple difficulties like paper jams or running out of ink to more complicated technical issues with the printer’s hardware or software.
In this post, we’ll examine some typical causes of printer problems and discuss various troubleshooting techniques to get your printer producing again. Understanding the potential reasons for a printer not printing may be very helpful in effectively fixing the problem, whether you’re a casual home user or a professional that depends on a printer for your daily activities.
The History of Printing Technology and How It Works
The development of printing technology has spanned thousands of years, from the earliest printmaking techniques to the sophisticated digital printing techniques we use today. The growth of society, the preservation of knowledge, and the sharing of information have all benefited greatly from printing technology. Let’s examine the significant turning points in the development of printing and its mechanism.
Dot Matrix Printer
In 1957, IBM produced the first dot matrix printer. Centronics, however, unveiled the first dots matrix impact printer in 1970. The print head, which includes pins, is positioned over an ink ribbon to produce letters and pictures. A sheet of paper supports this ribbon. The pins push into the ribbon as the print head travels over it (often horizontally), imprinting ink onto the sheet much like a typewriter. You can see how this printer earned its name since these pegs produce several dots.
Charles Babbage created the initial mechanical printer to go with the Difference Engine he created in 1822. Babbage’s printer produced a text on rolls of paper passed through the mechanism using metal rods with characters written on each rod.
While employed by Xerox at the beginning of the 1970s, Gary Starkweather modified one of their models, seven thousand copiers, to create the first laser printer. However, laser printers weren’t made more accessible and inexpensive until Hewlett-Packard unveiled the HP Printer LaserJet 1984. The Apple Laser Writer, which brought PostScript technologies to the printer market the next year, was a product of Apple. Compared to earlier models, laser printers are more complicated. See our definition of a laser printer for more on how they operate.
In 1984, Chuck Hull invented the 3D printer. Using different materials, including plastic and metal alloys, 3D printers reproduce objects layer by layer based on a digital model. For further details, see our definition of a 3D printer.
Although inkjet printers were first created in the late fifty-first century, it was in the late decade of 1970 that they could reproduce high-quality digital pictures. Many businesses, including Epson printer, Canon, and Hewlett-Packard, produced these higher-quality inkjet printers. In that they produce pictures of dots, inkjet printers are comparable to dot matrix printers. Instead of employing a ribbon and pins, an inkjet printer shoots dots onto the paper. Additionally, an inkjet printer prints more quickly and produces fewer dots. For more details about this printer, see our page on inkjet printers.
How to Fix Printer Not Printing Issue
Technology may be strange at times. I can use my voice to control my thermostat, yet I still find printers as difficult and unreliable as they were 15 years ago. Here’s how to fix the issue so you can resume working if your printer is giving you an error message or not responding to your requests.
Check the Error Lights on Your Printer.
Despite how frustrating they may be, printers sometimes inform you what the issue is so you don’t have to go through the troubleshooting procedure by trial and error. A succession of cryptic, colorful lights on your printer might be blinking cryptically to indicate a problem.
However, it’s sometimes obvious which lights indicate which, so you might seek advice from the handbook to figure out what your printer is trying to tell you. If you misplaced the manual, you can often obtain a PDF version from the printer manufacturer’s support website. Once you’ve identified the issue—printer jam or ink shortage—jump down to the relevant part of this tutorial to conduct a more thorough analysis.
Get Clear of the Printer Queue
Your computer’s print queue may sometimes get backed up with older files that failed to print for various reasons, delaying printing the document you require. To see a list of presently queued items, right-click the printer icon on the Windows notification area and choose Open All Printers. The queue may be seen on macOS by going to System Preferences > Printers and Scanners > Open Print Queue. To start things moving again, right-click any outdated items and clear them.
The print spooler may also be restarted in Windows, attempting to print the documents as if they had just been added to the queue. There are a few options, but the Command Prompt is probably the simplest. Search for “Command Prompt” in the Start menu, right-click the result, and select Run As Administrator.
Solidify the Connection
This may seem ridiculous, but I could purchase a Snickers bar in halves if I had a nickel for each hour I’ve spent trying to diagnose problems with unplugged devices. Ensure the power cable is hooked to the wall and the USB cable is connected firmly at both ends. You can never be sure when someone will disconnect it to charge their phone secretly.
Connecting your computer through USB if you’re attempting to print via Wi-Fi. If it solves the issue, you may focus on fixing the Wi-Fi connection. Is the signal to your printer strong enough? Examine your router’s network list to check whether the printer appears there, or try relocating it closer to the router to examine if it’s just out of range. Since the Wi-Fi connection is already poor, my father-in-law’s printer won’t function until all the upstairs doors are open.
Check That You Have the Correct Printer
Another simple question, but are you certain you’ve sent the document to the right printer? Windows could be attempting to send documents to the incorrect printer if you’ve utilized your computer with numerous printers, such as if you often go between your home and workplace or just purchased a new printer for your home.
If you wish to print the document again, use the menu option File > Print rather than a keyboard shortcut. After that, pay particular attention to the alternatives; if the drop-down menu displays a printer other than the one you choose, click it to make your selection. You should click See More for a complete list of linked printers in certain apps, like Google Chrome.
Install the Software and Drivers
When you link a printer to your computer, Windows will often automatically download the required drivers. However, in certain rare circumstances, you may have to visit the printer manufacturer’s website, find the support page on your model, and manually download the driver or software set. If you haven’t already, do it right now.
Before Windows provides your printer as an option, you need to add it to the list of compatible printers if you’re using Wi-Fi. Click the Add a Printer or Scanner option in Windows 10 by going to Settings > Devices > Printers & Scanners. Click Add Device after opening Settings > Bluetooth and Devices> Printers and Scanners in Windows 11.
Click the add button under Printers & Scanners in System Preferences on a Mac. Once your computer has finished searching for printers on the network, select the one you’re looking for to add it to your list. You must be able to print a document at this point.
Make Sure the Paper Tray is Loaded
Even though you most likely previously checked to ensure paper is in the tray, fill it with paper just in case. Printers may be picky; even if there is paper loaded, if the printer doesn’t get a hold of it, it will assume there is none. Remove the paper tray, adjust it, and then put it back in.
In other cases, the mechanism will clogged with paper. In most cases, your printer will inform you of this; all you have to do is open the access panel and remove the crumpled paper. When no paper is jammed in the mechanism, your printer may report a paper jam in specific circumstances. When that occurs, there can be invisible tiny pieces of paper or other debris lodged within the rollers. This implies that you must remove some components to solve the issue. Bring it to a PC repair shop if you feel uncomfortable fixing it yourself.
Fiddle With Ink Cartridges
You may do some things if your printer claims to be out of ink, even if you know it isn’t. First, check whether the print head is blocked or unclean; if so, use the printer’s built-in cleaning procedure to clear it. Alternatively, you may wipe it off with a moist paper towel if your printer heads are on the little copper strip that protrudes from the ink cartridges. Before re-installing the cartridge, quickly blot the towel with a dry paper towel once the ink flows more freely.
If you shake the toner cartridge before re-inserting it into your laser printer, you can squeeze more toner. It’s also conceivable that your printer needs to made aware of installed fresh ink cartridges. There could be an option on the printer that enables you to “reset” the fill levels if it doesn’t immediately detect fresh ink. See your printer’s manual to find out how on your particular model.
Authentic cartridges of the printer manufacturer should be tried to determine whether they perform better, keeping in mind that certain third-party cartridges may also create issues.
Run the Self-Test
Some diagnostic tests can be helpful if you’re still having trouble identifying the issue. You may print test pages on your computer and printer to assist you in identifying the problem. When your printer powers up, you can often do a self-test by hitting the buttons described in your printer’s manual. Go to Settings > Device > Printers and Scanners to print Windows test pages. Click Settings > Print a Test Page after choosing your printer.
Select your printer under System Preference > Printers & Scanners on a Mac. Select Print Test Page by clicking Open Queue > Printer. You may be relatively certain you have a software issue if Windows raises an error, yet your printer’s test sheet prints perfectly. If the printer cannot print even a test sheet for itself, you should concentrate on fixing the printer rather than the driver or software.
Your printer could even send you a test sheet with a decipherable fault number or other messages if you’re fortunate.
Common Reasons for Printer Failure
It always seems to occur when least expected. You immediately press the “Print” button to print a document, but nothing occurs. Desktop printers are susceptible to various issues, but thankfully, most issues quickly identified and resolved. Here are some common reasons for printers not printing.
It is possible that a printer is not functioning because it is not receiving electricity. Ensure your printer and the power source securely connected to the power cord. Make sure the surge protector turned on if the printer cord hooked into one. Try using a different wall outlet if the printer connected to one.
No Computer Connection
Occasionally, a printer won’t print because the computer and printer’s connection have broken. Ensure the printer cable firmly connected at both ends for a wired configuration. If it doesn’t work (assuming you’re employing a USB printer cord), try a different USB connector on your computer.
Verify that your router switched on if your configuration is wireless. Verify the correct network is selected and that your computer & printer connection. Check whether the Bluetooth function is enabled when using a Bluetooth configuration, then attempt to find the printer again. Try moving the computer & printer closer to one another if it can’t be found.
Using the Wrong Printer for Printing
You probably have various printer choices, even if you have one printer. For instance, fax printer options are available on all-in-one printers (i.e., machines having printing, scanning, copying, & faxing capabilities). The printer feature that also included in Adobe Acrobat and Microsoft OneNote applications. So, if your document won’t print, double-check to see whether you send it to the right printer.
Stuck Print Job in Print Queue
The print jobs you submit to the printer managed by your computer’s operating system using a print queue. A print job stuck in the print queue if it has an issue. Any further attempts to print documents will likewise fail.
Try deleting the problematic print job to restart the printing of your papers. Double-click the printer symbol in the System Tray or click the printer symbol in the Dock to open the print queue. Retry printing your document after canceling or erasing every other document in the printer queue. Occasionally, your IT provider of services will have to destroy printer jobs if they can’t erased in this manner.
Use Printer Offline
The “Use Printer Offline” feature is available in the Windows operating system. You may activate this option to save the files you send to the printer in the print queue, even when it’s disconnected. Those papers will automatically print once the printer is back online. Windows ought to then deactivate the “Use Printer Offline” option. However, this sometimes does not happen. Additionally, the Windows OS periodically makes this choice available for no apparent reason. Both scenarios will cause printing tasks to halt.
Open the queue to make sure the “Use Printer Offline” option is off. (If your printer does not appear as an icon in the System Tray, you can still access the queue by entering “devices” into the search bar, selecting “Devices and Printers” from the list of results, right-clicking the printer, and choosing “See what’s printing,” as shown below.) Click “Printer” in the upper-left corner of the printer queue. Clear the checkbox next to “Use Printer Offline” if it selected.
Once the paper tray is empty, your printer will probably let you know. However, a paper tray that overstuffed or almost empty might also stop a printer from printing. Therefore, check the paper tray even if your printer does not give you an out-of-paper notice.
Similar to a paper jam, a file cannot print if there is one. Most likely, you’ll get a notification informing you of the congestion. Pull the paper in the right direction of the paper path to remove it. If not, you risk damaging the printer.
A file may be unable to print due to ink or toner issues. For instance, even if the other ink cartridges are full, certain color inkjet printers won’t print if the ink cartridges are empty. In other words, even if just black ink required, the document won’t print if a blue cartridge is empty. It is essential to pay attention to any low ink notifications if you have this sort of printer.
Defective Printer Driver
On the computer from which you wish to print, a driver must be installed for the printer to function. Between the computer’s operating system & the printer, the printer driver transmits data. In particular, it may become corrupt if it is not the most recent driver available.
Tips for Maintaining Your Printer to Keep It in Working Condition
Your office or home-based business depends on your printer(s). You may spend a lot of money and effort having your documents printed by other providers. Maintaining a printer you don’t use often is a pain, but it may help prevent printer “fits” when you have to print immediately!
Utilize the Printer More Frequently
The ink cartridge in your printer might dry up if you use it sparingly, creating a number of problems for your home or office-based company. If you do not need to print, typically choose a laser printer. Laser printers employ heat to combine a powder into the paper; therefore, the powder in a cartridge wont dry up.
Clean the Printer to Avoid Printer Malfunctions
Given how important high-quality printing is to run a successful company, maintaining your printer’s performance is essential. Any machine, regardless of the type, may malfunction if it is not properly maintained, particularly when utilizing an inkjet printer.
Be Cautious when Changing Your Cartridges
Sometimes you have to shove new cartridges into your printer to print a document quickly. Care must be used while replacing cartridges. To prevent degrading your prints’ standard, avoid contacting the cartridge’s bottom. If your printer is brand-new to you, carefully read the directions before changing the cartridges, and save the documentation in a secure place.
Keep Your Printer Clear of Dust
Now and again, dust off your printer. Your printer’s smallest components are readily accessible to dust and debris. With a clean, soft cloth or a light alcohol cleaning solution, dust off your printer. Consider covering your printer with a dust net if you use it sparingly to keep dirt and dust from getting inside.
Use the Latest Drivers and Software
Updating the most recent drivers and software cannot overstated. Install the most recent drivers available from the manufacturers to stay current. This will enable you to maintain the functionality of your printer. Need help determining where to go for the most recent drivers? Visit the manufacturer’s website.
The Importance of Using a Printer
Using a printer is still important in many fields and for many different things. Despite the considerable advancements in digital technology, printers are still essential to our personal and professional lives. Here are some main arguments in favor of printing:
Creation of Documents and Hard Copies
Printing out copies of significant papers is possible thanks to printers. A physical and trustworthy format for sharing, reference, and archiving may be provided by possessing hard copies of any document, whether it is a corporate report, a legal contract, educational resources, or personal records. For legal or official reasons, physical copies required, and they provide a feeling of security as a backup in the event that digital data lost.
Accessibility and Convenience
There is no requirement for technological gadgets or an internet connection to view printed information. This accessibility is especially useful when using an electronic device, such as at meetings, conferences, or in distant locations, is impossible or practicable. Additionally, printed materials are handy for on-the-go reference since they can be taken with you and read at any time.
Improvement of Reading Experience
Reading and understanding information in print rather than on a screen is simpler for many individuals. Readers may interact with the text differently with printed materials since they provide a more tactile and concentrated reading experience. People who like reading printed books, periodicals, and newspapers still choose them because of the physicality & aesthetics of reading on paper.
Presentation and Professionalism
Printed materials often help create a more polished and official presence in business settings. Business proposals, marketing materials, resumes, and printed presentations may make a good impression on customers, employers, or coworkers. Printed materials’ tactile quality might suggest effort, attention to detail, & professionalism.
Applications in the Arts and Creative
Printers are crucial tools for painters, designers, photographers, and other creatives who depend on tangible outputs for their work. The exact color and fine details of artwork, pictures, and designs reproduced using high-quality printers. It is now possible to express one’s creativity and personalize products thanks to the capacity to print on various surfaces, including fabric, canvas, and specialty papers.
Education and Learning Materials
Printers are essential in educational environments for producing lesson plans, handouts, worksheets, and study tools. Students get printed materials, which helps with learning and understanding. They also enable teachers to comment uniquely on students’ tasks and exams.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can a computer printer save data?
To save print jobs printer settings, print buffers, and printer typefaces, every modern computer printer has a modest amount of memory.
Why won’t my ink printer print?
Several factors, such as the following, might be the root of this issue: emptied toner or ink cartridges that need to be replaced. cartridges for ink or toner that have been displaced from their original location. The input tray filled with the incorrect paper size.
Can you reset a printer by disconnecting it?
For most devices, do a simple reset. Switch on the printer. Remove the plug for 15 seconds. Replug it in.
Should I always have my printer plugged in?
However, keeping your printer on is preferable for better print heads & more effective ink utilization. Please limit the number of times you turn your printer on and off since doing so can shorten its lifetime.
Does my computer need a printer?
A computer printer regarded as a peripheral. Hence it is not a necessary piece of equipment. Without a printer, many individuals use computers every day. However, they will have to go someplace with a printer if the necessity arises for them to print anything.
After investigating and troubleshooting printer issues, it is important to remember that different printers may need different troubleshooting techniques and that adhering to the manufacturer’s recommendations is strongly advised. In general, persistence, careful examination, and methodical problem-solving are essential when dealing with a printer that is not printing. With the proper approach, the problem can often be effectively fixed. I hope this guide helps you return your printer to its good condition again to continue your printing process.