Why is my printer not printing?

Why is my printer not printing?

Posted by Adrian Rigby on

Have you ever gone to use your printer- you turn it on, open your file and click the print button and then nothing happens? Whilst this can be a common issue, it doesn’t stop it from being unbelievably frustrating. Do you ever angrily wonder “why is my printer not printing?” Well- here are some of the most common culprits and give you places where you can start.  

Check Connections  

A great place to start is to check your electrical connections. Ensure the computer power cable is plugged in correctly at the wall and that the cable is securely pushed into the computer and has not fallen out, accidentally been pulled out, or been caught on something.  

If you are using a USB cable, to connect your printer to your computer, check to make sure the cable is in correctly. You may also want to try a different USB port to make sure that a faulty USB isn't the issue. Also, try another USB cable if you have one at hand.  

Many printers now offer Wi-Fi printing which can be a great feature. However, it can also be temperamental and relies on you having a reliable internet connection. If you are having internet issues on other devices, you may need to restart your router and reconnect the printer to the Wi-Fi. If you are unsure how to reconnect your printer to your Wi-Fi network, check online or consult your printer manual. 

When using Bluetooth to connect to your printer, make sure your printer is located close enough to your computer. Try repairing the printer with your computer and see if this fixes the issue. Again, if you are having issues repairing, consult your printer manual.  

Flashing lights 

Once you know the connection is secure, check that your printer is switched on (it's surprising how often this can be something people forget to check) and that there are not any lights flashing. If you do see any flashing lights on your printer, it indicates that there is an issue of some sort. A quick online search will be able to help you identify the reasons a particular light is flashing 

Paper Tray  

Often printers do not start printing because of a lack of paper. Either there is not enough in the tray, or it is empty. A quick check and refill of the paper tray will help you eliminate this as a cause of the issue  

Printer Queue  

When you print a file, your computer will automatically place it in a print job queue. Sometimes the print job can get stuck in the queue which stops subsequent documents being printed and the queue can become full.  

Check that the printer queue is not full. You can do this by clicking on the printer icon at the bottom of your screen. If it is full, try emptying the queue and starting again.  

Default Printer  

Ensure you are sending the print job to the correct printer. If you simply click print, it will send the print job to the default printer which may not be your printer. Sometimes, the default printer will change due to several reasons which you may not be aware of, so it is worth double-checking even if you are certain your printer is the default.  

Whilst the default printer will usually be yours, this is not a guarantee. If you realise your printer is not the default printer, use this as an opportunity to assign it as default. Open the Control Panel on your computer. Go to Devices and Printers. Right-click on your printer and select “set of default printer” 

Print a test page  

Most printers allow you to print a test page for this exact scenario- to help you determine what the cause of the problem is. Printing a test page will tell you if the problem is with the printer or if the computer is not talking to it correctly. If the test page prints out in good quality then you know it is not an issue with the printer’s capabilities itself. It has something to do with the printer’s connection to your device.  

Printing a test page will also test whether the issue is caused because you are low on ink or toner cartridges.  

Some printers have a button or a sequence of buttons that you can simply press to get a test page printed. If you cannot see an obvious button for this, refer to your printer manual and it will tell you how to do it. It is usually in the setting tab, but every printer is different.  

Try another program to print  

A printer error can sometimes be caused by the programme you are using rather than the printer itself. Try opening the document in another programme and printing from there instead.  

As this article suggests, many reasons could cause your printer not to work. The good news is, your printer can be fixed. It is usually a simple reason why the printer is not working. 

 If you have gone through all of our suggested methods and it still is not working, then you should get in touch with the printer’s manufacturers to see if they can help. Alternatively, you can get in touch with a professional who specialises in printer repairs. 

Whilst we do not fix printers, we have over 25 years of experience with printers and cartridges.  

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