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Troubleshooting Print Quality Issues

  • PrintPrint

Issue

The printer is working, but the output is not acceptable. Printouts may be streaked or faded, missing black or other colors, have blurred or fuzzy text, or ink streaks or smears, or show other problems.
NOTE:If the problem is black ink in yellow printed areas, these steps will not solve the issue. The Black/Yellow printhead needs replacing. Contact HP, and please be prepared to tell the agent how often the problem occurs, and what steps, if any, you have taken to solve the problem. In areas supported by Authorized Return Centers, a print sample showing the problem might be required.

Solution one: Use genuine HP cartridges

HP recommends that you use genuine HP cartridges. Genuine HP cartridges are designed and tested with HP printers to help you easily produce great results, time after time. HP cannot guarantee the quality or reliability of non-HP supplies. Warranty will not cover product service or repairs required as a result of using a non-HP ink supply. HP recommends that you make sure that you are using genuine HP cartridges before continuing.
NOTE:Low ink levels should NOT cause print quality problems. When the printer gets low on ink, it should generate a message.
  • If these steps resolved the issue , you do not need to continue troubleshooting.
  • If the issue persists , continue to the next solution.

Solution two: Check the paper

Use the following guidelines to make sure that the paper you are using is appropriate for the print job. If it is not, reload the product with an appropriate paper type.
  • HP papers, inks, and printers are designed to work together. Many non-HP media could be incompatible with HP inks and printing systems.
  • Use the correct paper type for your project:
    • For everyday text documents, plain paper with ColorLok technology works well.
    • For documents with dense printing, such as high contrast graphics or photographs, use HP Advanced Photo Paper for the best results.
  • Load the paper print side down in the input tray. Many papers have printing and nonprinting sides.
  • Do not use wrinkled or curled paper. Load only clean, wrinkle-free paper into the product.
  • Store photo paper in its original packaging inside a resealable plastic bag. Store the paper on a flat surface in a cool, dry place. Load photo paper only when you are ready to print, and then put the unused paper back in the packaging.
  • Try using a different paper. Paper that does not accept ink well is also prone to print defects. HP designs ink and paper to work together.
  • Some media may not absorb ink as well as others. If your prints smear easily, make sure you are using a recommended paper.
Figure 1: Plain paper with ColorLok technology is recommended for text printing
Example of the ColorLok logo
Figure 2: Horizontal streaks in printout
illustration of horizontal streaks in printouts

Continue with the following troubleshooting steps if your printout contains horizontal streaks, or other print-quality issues besides vertical streaks.
Figure 3: Vertical streaks in printout
illustration of vertical streaks in printouts

Do not replace cartridges or printheads for vertical streaks in a printout. Instead, check the paper as described earlier in this document, or search for a document that covers this issue. Vertical streaks in copies can often be fixed by cleaning the scanner glass.
  • If these steps resolved the issue , you do not need to continue troubleshooting.
  • If the issue persists , continue to the next solution.

Solution three: Check the print settings

Click the plus sign () next to your operating system for more information.
Follow these steps to check the print settings for your print job.
  1. In the software program you are trying to print from, click File and then click Print .
    The Print dialog box opens.
  2. Select your product, and then click Properties .
    The printer Properties dialog box opens.
  3. Click the Printing shortcuts tab.
  4. Under Printing shortcuts , click the type of job you are trying to print.
  5. Review the following options, and then make any necessary changes.
    • Paper size : Make sure that the selected option matches your paper size.
    • Paper type : If one of the options matches your paper type exactly, select that option.
    • Print quality : If you are not satisfied with your printed page quality, or want more densely printed prints, increase the print quality. To print more quickly, or for lighter prints, decrease the print quality.
  6. Click the Features tab.
  7. Check the Print in Grayscale setting
    • If you are trying to print in color, select Color Options , and then make sure that Print in Grayscale is not selected.
    • If you are printing a black and white image, select Print in Grayscale to fix streaking in black areas.
  8. Click OK , and then click OK again to start the print job.
Check the print quality settings:
  1. Open a document and choose File , and then Print .
  2. Select the Paper Type/Quality menu.
  3. Review the following options, and then make any necessary changes:
    • Paper type : If one of the options matches your paper type exactly, select that option.
    • Quality : If you are dissatisfied with the quality of your printouts, increase the print quality. To print more quickly, decrease the print quality.
  4. Click the Color Options pop-up or tab if it appears. If you want color printouts, make sure Grayscale is not selected (if the option does not appear, it is not available for the printer).
NOTE: To save these settings for future print jobs, choose Save in the Presets menu, and then name the new preset. If multiple printers are installed, open System Preferences , and then Print & Fax , and then set Default Printer to Last Printer Used .
  • If these steps resolved the issue , you do not need to continue troubleshooting.
  • If the issue persists , continue to the next solution.

Solution four: Print and evaluate a Print Quality (PQ) Diagnostic page

The PQ Diagnostic can help determine if the printer needs to be aligned, or if the printheads need to be cleaned, or if the linefeed needs to be calibrated.

Step one: Print the PQ Diagnostic page

  1. Make sure the printer is loaded with unused white paper.
  2. Press the Setup button.
  3. Select Print Report .
  4. Select Print Quality Page .
  5. Press OK .
Figure 4: Print Quality Diagnostics Page
Illustration of the Print Quality Diagnostic page
If the patterns on the test page are extremely streaked or are missing some portions, follow these steps to check the ink supply tubing:
  1. Open the product lid. The carriage moves to the left side of the product.
    If the carriage does not move to the left side, press and hold the OK button until the carriage moves. Wait until the carriage is idle and silent.
  2. Look in the center of the product for the four ink tubes that connect to the printhead, and then examine the ink tubes. The ink tubes should be bundled neatly, and they should not appear kinked or bent.
    Figure 5: Ink tubes, correctly bundled and not kinked
    Illustration: Ink tubes, correctly bundled and not kinked.
  • If the ink tubes are bundled correctly and are not kinked , continue to the next step.
  • If the ink tubes are bundled incorrectly but do not appear to be kinked , service the product. You do not need to replace the printheads.
    NOTE:Incorrect bundling of the ink tubes does not directly cause print quality problems, but it is an issue that must be corrected. When the product has been serviced, continue troubleshooting with the next step in this document.
  • If the ink tubes are bundled incorrectly and are kinked , service the product. When the product has been serviced, replace the printhead associated with the kinked tubes:
    • If the black or yellow tube is kinked, replace the black and yellow printhead.
    • If the magenta or cyan tube is kinked, replace the magenta and cyan printhead.

Step two: Examine Test Pattern 1

If the lines in Test Pattern 1 are not straight and connected, follow these steps to align the printer.
  1. Make sure the printer is loaded with unused white paper.
  2. Press the Setup button.
  3. Select Tools .
  4. Select Align Printer .
  5. Press OK . Press OK again when the alignment is done to continue.

Step three: Examine Test Pattern 2

If any of the colored blocks in Test Pattern 2 show white lines, or are faded or missing completely, follow these steps to clean the printheads.
Figure 6: White lines in Test Pattern 2
Illustration of white lines in test pattern 2
NOTE:If there are white lines through ALL the color blocks, and also white lines through the gray blocks in Test Pattern 3, and then do not clean the printheads - instead go to the next step and calibrate linefeed.
  1. Make sure the printer is loaded with unused white paper.
  2. Press the Setup button.
  3. Select Tools .
  4. Select Clean Printhead .
After cleaning, print another PQ Diagnostic page and look for defects:
  • If there are no defects, stop troubleshooting here.
  • If there are defects on the page, try another printhead cleaning.
  • If there are still defects on the page after another cleaning, go to the steps in this document to replace printheads .

Step four: Examine Test Pattern 3

If any of the gray blocks in Test Pattern 3 show dark lines or white gaps where the arrows are pointing, calibrate linefeed.
Figure 7: White gaps in Test Pattern 3
Illustration of white gaps in test pattern 3
  1. Make sure the printer is loaded with unused white paper.
  2. Press the Setup button.
  3. Select Tools .
  4. Select Calibrate Linefeed .
  5. Press OK .
  • If these steps resolved the issue , you do not need to continue troubleshooting.
  • If the issue persists , continue to the next solution.

Solution five: Check the image

If you see no defects on the print quality diagnostic report, the print mechanism and ink supplies are working correctly. There is no reason to clean, align or calibrate, or to replace printheads or ink cartridges. Instead, try these solutions:
  • Recheck the first steps in this document. Many non-HP media could be incompatible with HP inks and printing systems. HP cannot guarantee the quality of non-HP inks.
  • Make sure that the image you are printing has sufficient resolution. Images that have been enlarged too much might appear fuzzy or blurry.
  • If the problem is confined to a band near the edge of a printout, use the software you installed with the product, or another software program to rotate the image 180°. The problem might not appear on the other end of the printout.
Garbled, illogical text, and incomplete printout (graphic)Windows only: If you are experiencing garbled, jumbled or illogical text, incomplete printouts, or missing text or graphics, go to Continuous Pages of Strange or Garbled Characters Print in Windows (c01954177).
  • If these steps resolved the issue , you do not need to continue troubleshooting.
  • If the issue persists , continue to the next solution.

Solution six: Replace one or both printheads

If, after repeated printhead cleaning, the Print Quality Diagnostic page shows white lines across the color blocks in Test Pattern 2 (but no white lines in the gray blocks in Test Pattern 3), one or both of the printheads will have to be replaced. The Print Quality Diagnostic page shows which printhead should be replaced.
Look at the color blocks labeled Test Pattern 2. Some of them should show white horizontal streaks (if none of the blocks are streaked, the printheads are okay).
  • Black block has lines – replace the Black/Yellow printhead.
  • Red block has lines – replace the Black/Yellow printhead.
  • Green block has lines – replace the Black/Yellow printhead.
Figure 8: Streaked black, red, or green color blocks - replace Black/Yellow Printhead
Illustration of streaked black, red or green color blocks in test pattern 2
  • Cyan block has lines – replace the Magenta/Cyan printhead.
  • Magenta block has lines – replace the Magenta/Cyan printhead.
Figure 9: Streaked cyan or magenta color blocks - replace Cyan/Magenta Printhead
Illustration of streaked cyan or magenta color blocks in test pattern 2
Important: To check if your ink supplies can be replaced under warranty, go to hp.com/go/learnaboutsupplies , select your country, and look for ‘ink supplies warranty’.
  1. Lift the carriage-access lid. The top cover rests in an open position.
    Figure 10: Lift the carriage-access lid
  2. Press and hold the OK button until the carriage moves to the left side of the product. Wait for the carriage to stop moving.
    CAUTION:Do not proceed until the carriage is on the left. If the carriage does not move to the left automatically, turn the printer off and back on and then try holding down the OK button again.
  3. Inside the product, lift the blue printhead latch.
    Figure 11: Lift the printhead latch
  4. Grasp the handle of the old printhead, and then lift upward to remove the printhead from its slot.
    Figure 12: Remove the printhead from its slot
  5. Without removing the replacement printhead from its packaging, rapidly shake it back and forth six times.
    Figure 13: Shake the printhead six times
  6. Remove the printhead from its packaging, and then remove the orange protective caps from the nozzles.
    CAUTION:Do not shake the printheads after removing the orange protective caps.
    Figure 14: Remove the printhead and the protective nozzles
    CAUTION:Do not touch the nozzles on the printhead. Touching the nozzles can permanently damage the printhead.
    Figure 15: Do not touch the printhead nozzles
  7. Hold the printhead by its sides with the nozzles toward the product, and then insert the printhead into its color-coded slot.
    • Insert the Black/Yellow printhead into the slot on the left.
    • Insert the Magenta/Cyan printhead into the slot on the right.
    Figure 16: Insert the printhead into its slot
  8. Repeat these steps if necessary to replace the other printhead. Make sure to shake the other printhead back and forth six times before installing it.
  9. Lower the printhead latch, and then press down until the latch snaps into place.
    Figure 17: Lower the printhead latch
  10. Close the carriage-access lid.
    Figure 18: Close the carriage-access lid
  11. Wait for the product to align the printheads and print an alignment page.
    Figure 19: The product prints an alignment page
  • If these steps resolved the issue , you do not need to continue troubleshooting.
  • If the issue persists , continue to the next solution.

Solution seven: Service the All-in-One

NOTE:Keep a print sample that shows the problem. If the ink cartridges, printhead, or printer is replaced under warranty, the support agent will request the print sample. If the printer is returned to HP, the print sample must be returned with the printer. Place the sample in the output tray when you package your printer for shipping.
If you have completed all the preceding steps and are still experiencing a problem, service the product.
Determine if your product is in warranty or out of warranty. If you need help determining your product’s warranty status, go to HP’s Warranty Check Tool .
  • If your product is in warranty , contact HP.
  • If your product is out of warranty , fees might apply for contacting HP.

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