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Troubleshooting Print Skew Problems

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Print skew is the term that is used to describe an image that is placed crookedly on the printed page. Print skew, paper jams, and carriage stalls might occur when using a two-sided printing module on an HP Deskjet 930C, 950C, 960C, 970C, or 990C series printer. This document discusses these issues and offers troubleshooting steps to correct them.

What print skew looks like

Figure 1 shows what your printed output might look like when print skew is occurring.
Figure 1: Printed page with print skew
Image: Printed page with skewed print

About print skew

Skew occurs when the movement of paper in the mechanism is not square with print cartridge movement. The result is inconsistent print margins along the paper's edge (printing appears tilted on the page). Several factors come into play when considering skew:
  • The measured skew is a result of printer skew and paper skew.
  • Proper loading and handling of the paper can minimize skew. Make sure that the paper is loaded evenly against the right wall of the In tray and that all paper guides are in place.
  • Use envelopes with rectangular flaps rather than triangular flaps.
  • Maintain a stack of paper in the In tray.
  • Load only one type of media (paper or transparencies) at a time in the In tray.
  • Some types of paper and preprinted forms can impact print skew.
  • Understand how to measure and correct print skew.
    NOTE: Always load a stack of paper into an empty In tray, rather than placing paper on top of paper already in the In tray.

Measuring paper squareness

Skew can be impacted by the squareness of the paper. The industry standard for paper squareness is 0.008 centimeter per centimeter (0.003 inch per inch). This measurement must be added to the print skew specification to obtain a true overall skew tolerance specification. Test the paper squareness by printing on one side of the paper, flipping the paper over, and then printing on the other side. If the print slopes down on one side and up on the other side, the squareness of the paper might be impacting skew. In this case, try a different, higher quality, paper product to improve the skew.

Troubleshooting print skew

If the system has a two-sided printing module, and the paper loads unevenly in the printer causing the printed output to appear skewed on the page, follow these steps:
If the system does not have a two-sided printing module, skip to Step 8.
  1. Without pressing the buttons on the two-sided printing module, try to pull it out of the printer.
  2. If you can pull out the module, or if you can pull out one side, the module is not seated correctly.
  3. Press the side buttons on the module, and then remove it completely from the printer.
  4. Without pressing the buttons on the module, push the unit back into the printer until it snaps firmly into place.
  5. Print something to see if the print is skewed.
  6. If the print is still skewed, remove the two-sided printing module. Depress the side buttons, and then pull the unit out of the printer.
  7. Replace the rear access door, and then print something. Check to see if the skew remains.
  8. If the print is still skewed, remove the rear access door, and then check to see if all six rollers in the door are present.
  9. If one of the rollers is missing, see the following note:
    NOTE: If one of the rollers on the rear access door is missing, the rear access door/cleanout access door assembly requires replacement. This is a user replaceable part. Contact HP Customer Care to request the part number. To order parts, supplies, or accessories, contact the nearest authorized HP dealer or reseller. Click Contact HP () on this page to go to a list of dealer locator phone numbers, or check the User's Guide that came with the HP product.
    NOTE: Printed output can be skewed when rollers on the rear access door are missing or if the door is not properly fastened and locked into position.
  10. Replace the door. Make sure that you fasten the latch securely in the locked position.
  11. Remove the paper.
  12. Gripping the paper tray on both sides, pull it back. It will stay connected to the printer. Push it back in; it will reseat itself.
  13. Restack the paper, and then put it back in the paper tray. Make sure that the paper guides and paper tray are in the proper position. The paper guides should rest gently against the side and the end of the paper stack.
  14. Try printing. If the problem is still present, return to Step 6.
  15. Open the top cover of the printer, remove both cartridges, and then unplug the printer power cord from the power source.
  16. Remove the paper, and then set it aside.
  17. Locate the four main roller wheels under the silver carriage bar.
  18. Use a slightly damp cloth (water only) to wipe the exposed section of each of the wheels.
  19. Roll the wheels down, and then wipe the new exposed section of each wheel.
  20. Repeat Step 7 until you cannot roll the wheels any farther.
  21. Insert the cartridges. Replace the paper in the lower tray (and also follow the procedure in Step 4), and then close the top cover of the printer.
  22. Plug in the power cord.
  23. Try printing again. If the problem persists, try a different type of paper. If the print skew persists with new paper, the printer might require service.
Click Contact HP on this page for more support options.

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