Why Won’t My Printer Print? 

As IT Support technicians, we encounter many issues in our client’s workplaces from computers that need updates to malware that is harming devices. None, however, seems to cause such annoyance and frustration as a printer that won’t print.  Has the printer run out of ink? Is the paper jammed? Is the printer not connected properly? Could it be that my computer is not sending it to the right printer? Is the network down? The list of questions could go on and on for eternity.  The good news is that many printers and printing issues can be fixed with a little elbow grease and some know-how. Let’s take a closer look at the possibilities and a checklist of items to investigate before you decide to throw the printer out the window or trade it in for a newer model. 


Quick Fixes

Let’s start with some of the most obvious issues and work our way up from there.  Many times a printer can be made operational once again with a few quick fixes. Start by physically checking the paper tray to ensure that there is paper in the printer. Then confirm that there is ink in the cartridges and that your printer is not creating a notification of “low ink.”  If those two possibilities are not the problem, switch your thinking over to connection issues. For instance, is there a loose USB cable? If it is a wireless printer, confirm that it is properly connected to the network. If you need to attach a cable, do so until a connection can be maintained.  While you are checking wires and connections, confirm that you are printing to the correct printer. Often workplaces have multiple printers and it would be easy to accidentally switch printer locations. 

Workplace Usage Issues 

If you have checked the paper, ink, and connections and those don’t seem to be the issue, consider the queue. Is there another employee’s work in front of you in line that is slow to print or is having an error? That could cause a delay or stoppage of printing.

Paper Jams 

Paper jams are a common issue in workplaces. Overuse and misuse along with dust and fibers from the papers can cause mechanical jams. Open your printer and confirm that there is not a rogue piece of paper that is stuck in the turning mechanisms. Sometimes there are “ghost jams” that occur because static and fibers of the paper get caught in the mechanisms. Try to fan out your paper which will reduce debris, dust, and static. Then reinsert it into your paper tray. 

Wi-Fi Slow or Not Connecting

If your wireless printer is working at a much slower pace than your connected printers, consider moving your printer and router closer together to strengthen the connection. If necessary, switch to a wired connection and back to check the connection.  Try this checklist to confirm that your misbehaving printer can not be easily fixed by one of these methods, then talk to your IT department or IT Support company to help guide you through steps to get your printer working once again.