July 6, 2022
We’ve all encountered poor quality printing results at one time or another. And even though we now have self-driving cars and smartphones equipped with more technology than the original space shuttle, our printers have the same problems they did ten years ago. There’s a reason for that — printers have to do things that other smart devices don’t: they move individual sheets of paper, deposit inks and toners with precision, and sort and collate at high speeds.
While some printing problems may be serious, minor malfunctions are far more common and can be easily fixed. And printer problems aren’t as frustrating when you’re armed with a few helpful tips.
1. Align the Printer Cartridge or Head
Misalignment of your cartridges may occur over time. Alignment can be adjusted on most printers using an automated system that you can access through the printer’s control panel.
Each printer will have a different process for this. For example, on most HP devices, you can access this function in the Setup menu. Check your user guide or search online for specific instructions for your device.
2. Adjust Print Speed
If the ink has bled or the page has warped, your printer may be having an issue with ink over-saturation. You can solve this issue easily by increasing the print speed.
If the pages appear faded, you can increase ink saturation by decreasing the print speed or increasing the quality setting. Usually, these settings can be found in the Advanced Properties menu.
2. Print From High-Resolution Files
If you are printing a high-quality image, logo, or document, print from the highest resolution file available. Often, files get saved in low resolution to decrease the file size. Unfortunately, these images will print poorly because the dots that make up the picture will be too far apart.
You may have to reconfigure your printer to use higher resolution quality to achieve great results. If you don’t feel your printer is set up for high-resolution printing, contact your print provider for proper configuration.
4. Clean the Printer, the Heads, and the Cartridges
A printer’s heads, nozzles, and other components can become dirty or clogged, which could show up as white lines running across your page. Your printer may have a head-cleaning feature available through your device software located on your computer or from the control panel on the printer itself.
Be sure to use proper cleaning techniques when cleaning any components on your printer as inappropriate cleaning processes or substances can easily cause damage. Your user manual will have complete instructions.
5. Choose the Right Paper
To the casual eye, one ream of paper looks much like another. But cheap paper is cheap for a reason. If you’re seeing flecks of toner, blurred print, or fading, try switching to a higher-quality paper.
6. Respect Your Ink and Toner
It may be tempting to try to save money on ink and toner, but it’s always best to use the toner recommended by the manufacturer. It may not seem like it, but cartridges, inks, and toners are highly sophisticated. If you’d like to save money on printing supplies, there are definitely better ways.
Furthermore, toner cartridges can be damaged easily. Follow handling instructions provided by the manufacturer and always store them on a level surface. They should be unpackaged carefully and handled as little as possible.
7. Protect the Printer From Heat and Humidity
Printers may produce poor quality printing if they are exposed to too much heat. Don’t place your printers in a high-temperature area or near other devices that produce excess heat. In addition, keep them away from windows, where heat and humidity can be high.
8. Check for Driver Updates
If you aren't using the most up-to-date software, your print quality may suffer. Read our Introduction to Printer Drivers blog to determine how to keep your printer driver up to date. You can also find helpful links to printer drivers here.
9. Use the Manufacturer's Troubleshooter
Sometimes the most time-consuming part of fixing a printer is figuring out what’s gone wrong. Many modern copiers now have a built-in troubleshooting feature that makes pinpointing the problem much easier.
10. Call a Professional
If you are unable to fix the poor quality printing with these steps, a professional may be necessary to identify what is causing your quality issue. Contact your service or print provider to schedule maintenance.
In addition to trying these fixes, be sure to perform regular printer maintenance as outlined in your manufacturer's guidelines. All of the printer's major internal parts need to be serviced or replaced periodically. Alternatively, you can partner with a Managed Print Services provider that will schedule and perform the maintenance for you, and save you quite a bit of money on energy and supplies in the process. View our Managed Print Services Case Study Collection to see how we have implemented these services for other organizations just like yours.