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Fixing Print Quality Problems for the HP Officejet 4610 All-in-One, Officejet 4620, Deskjet Ink Advantage 4610, and Deskjet Ink Advantage 4620 e-All-in-One Printer Series

  • PrintPrint

Issue

The quality of a printed document or photo is not as expected. The procedures in this document should help with streaked or faded printouts, color or black ink not printing, documents with blurred or fuzzy text, ink streaks or smears, and other print quality problems.
NOTE:Some of the following solutions require the full HP software. If you did not install the full HP software when you installed your product, click here to go to the software and drivers page , and then download and install the full feature software for your product.

Solution one: Use genuine HP cartridges

HP recommends that you use genuine HP cartridges. HP cannot guarantee the quality or reliability of non-HP cartridges or refilled HP cartridges. If you do not use genuine HP cartridges, the following solutions might not resolve your print quality issue.
To purchase cartridges or check cartridge compatibility for your printer, go to HP Home & Home Office Store (US only), and then click Ink Toner & Paper.
If you are located outside of the US, follow these steps to purchase cartridges using HP SureSupply.
  1. Scroll to the bottom of the page and make sure that the country/region location is correct.
Genuine HP cartridges can also be purchased from other retailers.

Solution two: Allow automatic servicing to complete

Your printer has an automatic servicing routine that can solve many print quality issues. There is nothing you need to do. The print quality should improve a few hours after you experience the issue.
If you cannot wait for the automatic servicing routine to complete, continue with the following troubleshooting steps.

Solution three: Check the paper

Follow these guidelines to make sure that the paper you are using is appropriate for the print job. If paper is not appropriate, reload the printer with an appropriate paper type.
NOTE:To learn the types of paper your printer supports, see the specifications for your printer.
  • Load the paper print side down in the input tray. Many papers have printing and nonprinting sides, like photo paper and other special media. Usually, the smoother side is the "print side," and sometimes the non-print side has a logo of the paper manufacturer on it.
  • Do not use wrinkled or curled paper. Load only clean, wrinkle-free paper into the product.
    Figure 1: Do not use wrinkled paper
    Image: Do not use wrinkled paper
  • Use the correct paper type for your project.
    • For everyday text documents, plain paper with ColorLok technology works well. Paper with ColorLok technology is industry-standard paper that works well with HP ink.
      Figure 2: Plain paper with ColorLok technology is recommended for text printing
    • For documents with dense printing, such as high contrast graphics or photographs, use HP Advanced Photo Paper for the best results.
    • Some media may not absorb ink as well as others. If your prints smear easily, make sure you are using a recommended paper.
  • 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 10-20 sheets of photo paper only when you are ready to print, and then put the unused paper back in the packaging.
  • Try using a different paper. This will determine if the problem is related to the paper.

Solution four: Check the print settings

  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 Paper/Quality tab.
  4. From the Media drop-down list, select the paper type that matches the paper you loaded in the product.
  5. From the Paper Size drop-down list, select the option that matches your paper size. For example, if you have legal paper loaded in your product, select Legal 8.5x14in.
  6. Click the Advanced tab. The Advanced Options dialog box opens.
  7. Under Document Options, make sure that Print in Grayscale is set to Off, unless you are printing in Grayscale intentionally.
  8. Click OK, and then click OK again to apply the settings.
  9. Click OK from the Print dialog box to start the print job.
Follow these steps to check print quality and grayscale settings on a Mac.

Step one: Check the print quality settings

  1. Open a document, click File, and then click Print.
  2. Select the Paper Type/Quality or Media & 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.
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 click Print & Fax or Print & Scan (depending on your Mac OS X version). Set the Default Printer to Last Printer Used.

Step two: Check the grayscale print setting

  1. Open a document, click File, and then Print.
  2. Select the Paper Type/Quality menu.
  3. Click the Color Options pop-up or tab if it displays. If you want color printouts, make sure that Grayscale is not selected. If the option does not display, 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 click Print & Fax or Print & Scan (depending on your Mac OS X version). Set the Default Printer to Last Printer Used.

Solution five: Check the estimated ink levels, and then replace any low or empty cartridges

Follow these steps to check the estimate ink levels, and then replace any low or empty cartridges according to the results.

Step one: Check the estimated ink levels

NOTE:Ink level warnings and indicators provide estimates for planning purposes only. When an indicator shows low-ink levels, consider having a replacement cartridge available to avoid possible printing delays. You do not need to replace cartridges until print quality becomes unacceptable.
  1. On the printer control panel, press the Setup icon ().
  2. Press the button () next to OK to select Ink Information.
  3. Press the button next to OK to select Estimated Levels. The Estimated Levels gauge displays.
  4. In the Estimated Levels gauge, check the ink levels for each cartridge. Note any that are low or empty.
    Figure 3: Estimated Ink Level gauge on the control panel
    Image: Estimated Ink Level gauge on the control panel.
  • If none of the cartridges are low on ink, you do not need to replace them yet. Skip to the next solution in this document.
  • If any of the cartridges are low on ink, continue to the next step to replace them.

Step two: Replace any low or empty cartridges

Watch this video for help to replace the cartridges, and then follow the steps to replace any low or empty cartridges.

Video of replacing the cartridges

The following video demonstrates how to replace cartridges.
NOTE:This video shows the HP Officejet 4620 e-All-in-One Printer series, but the steps are the same for your printer.
If you have trouble viewing the video or to view the video in a different size, click here to play the video on YouTube .
Follow these steps to replace the cartridges.
  1. Press the Power button () to turn on the product, if it is not already on.
  2. Locate the two slots on the sides of the product.
    Figure 4: Slots on the sides of the product
    Image:  Slots on the side of the product
  3. Place your fingers in the slots on the right and left sides of the product, and then lift to open the cartridge access door. The carriage moves into the carriage access area.
    Figure 5: Open the cartridge access door
    Image: Open the cartridge access door
  4. Wait until the carriage is idle and silent before proceeding.
  5. Press the tab inward on the front of the old cartridge to release it, and then pull up on the cartridge to remove it from the slot.
    Figure 6: Remove the cartridge from its slot
    Image: Remove the cartridge from its slot
  6. Pull the orange pull tab straight back to remove the new cartridge from its packaging.
    CAUTION:Make sure you remove the orange pull-tab completely and the label is slightly torn before you remove the orange cap in the next step, or ink can leak.
    Figure 7: Pull the orange tab straight back
    Image:  Pull the orange tab straight back
  7. Twist the protective orange cap counter-clockwise to snap it off the cartridge.
    Figure 8: Twist the orange cap to snap it off the cartridge
    Image: Twist the orange cap to snap it off the cartridge
  8. Hold the cartridge so that the cartridge contacts are facing toward the product.
  9. Match the colored dot on the cartridge with the dot of the same color on the carriage.
  10. Slide the new cartridge into its slot, and then gently press the cartridge down until it clicks into place.
    NOTE:Make sure that the colored dot on the cartridge label matches the colored dot on the slot.
    Figure 9: Install the cartridge
    Image: Install the cartridge
  11. Repeat these steps for other cartridges, if necessary.
  12. Close the cartridge access door.
    Figure 10: Close the cartridge access door
    Image: Close the cartridge access door

Solution six: Print and evaluate a Print Quality Diagnostic Report

Follow these steps to print and then evaluate the Print Quality Diagnostic Report.

Step one: Print the report

  1. Load plain white U.S. letter or A4 size paper in the tray.
  2. On the control panel home screen, press the Setup icon ().
  3. Press the button () next to the Down Arrow () until Reports displays next to OK.
  4. Press the button next to OK to select Reports.
  5. Press the button next to the Down Arrow () until Print Quality Report displays next to OK, and then press the button next to OK. The report prints.
    Figure 11: Example of the report
    Image: Example of the test report

Step two: Check the report for defects

If the printer and the cartridges are working correctly, all the color bars in the test report should be complete, unstreaked and uniform in color across the width of the page. The black text on the page should not have ink streaks.
The following table includes examples of defects on the Print Quality Diagnostic report. The examples are not all inclusive but they represent the most common print quality issues.
Examples of defects on the Print Quality Diagnostic Report
DefectExample
Large text is ragged on one endImage: Ragged large text
Irregularly streaked or faded color barsImage: Streaked or faded color bars
Ragged color barsImage: Ragged color bars
Color bars are streaked with another colorImage: Streaked color bars
Color blocks have regular white streaksImage: White streaks in the color bars
Jagged alignment patternsImage: Jagged alignment patterns
  • If you do not see defects on the test page, the print mechanism and cartridges work correctly. Do not continue the troubleshooting steps in this document. If printouts are still unsatisfactory, try the following general print quality guidelines.
    • Make sure that the image you are printing has sufficient resolution. Images that are enlarged too much might appear fuzzy or blurry.
    • If the issue is confined to a band near the edge of a printout, use the software you installed with the printer or another software program to rotate the image 180 degrees. The problem might not display 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
  • If you see one or more of these defects on the test page, continue to the next step.

Step three: Make sure that the cartridges are properly vented and seated correctly

If the vent on the top of the cartridge is clogged or obstructed, the cartridge might not work properly. Follow these steps to make sure that the cartridges are properly vented and seated correctly.
  1. Press the Power button to turn on the printer, if it is not already turned on. Wait until the printer is idle and silent before you continue.
  2. Locate the two slots on the left and right sides of the printer.
    Figure 12: Locations of the two slots
    Image: Locations of the two slots
  3. Slide your fingers into the two slots, and then lift up to open the cartridge access door. The carriage moves into the access area.
    Figure 13: Open the cartridge access door
    Image: Open the cartridge access door.
  4. Press the tab on the front of the cartridge inward to release it, and then pull up on the cartridge to remove it from the slot.
    Figure 14: Remove the cartridge from the slot
    Image: Remove the cartridge from the slot
  5. Locate the vent area on the top of the cartridge.
    Figure 15: Vent area on the top of the cartridge
    Image: Vent area on the top of the cartridge
  6. If the cartridge still has the orange pull-tab attached, pull to remove it.
    Figure 16: Orange pull tab
    Image: Orange pull tab.
  7. If the vent is clogged, use a straight pin to gently remove excess adhesive from the vent.
    Figure 17: Clean the clogged vent with a pin
    Image: Clean the clogged vent with a pin.
    1 - Clogged vent
    2 - With a straight pin, gently remove excess adhesive from the vent
    3 - Unclogged vent
  8. With the nozzle and contacts facing down, slide the cartridge into its slot. Press down on the cartridge until it clicks into place.
    NOTE:Make sure that each cartridge is installed in the correct slot. Match the shape of the icon and the color of the cartridge with the slot that has the same shaped icon and color.
    Figure 18: Reinsert the cartridge
    Image: Insert the cartridge
  9. Repeat these steps to inspect the vents on each of the cartridges.
  10. Make sure that each cartridge is firmly in place in its slot. Run your finger along the top of the cartridges to feel for any that are protruding, and if any are, press down firmly until each cartridge snaps into place.
  11. Close the cartridge access door.
    Figure 19: Close the cartridge access door
    Image: Close the cartridge access door
  12. Print, and then review another test page.
  • If these steps resolved the issue, there is no need to continue troubleshooting.
  • If the issue persists, see the next step.

Step four: Use an automated tool to clean the printhead

Follow these steps to run an automated tool to clean the printhead.
NOTE:Never turn off the printer when cartridges are missing. Make sure that you replace any missing cartridges as soon as possible to avoid print quality issues and possible extra ink usage or damage to the ink system. To avoid issues that require cleaning the printhead, always turn the printer off with the Power button on the printer itself.
  1. Load plain, white U.S. letter or A4 size paper in the input tray.
  2. On the printer control panel, press the Setup icon ().
  3. Press the button () next to the Down Arrow () until Tools displays next to OK.
  4. Press the button next to OK to select Tools, and then press the button next to the Down Arrow () until Clean Printhead displays next to OK.
  5. Press the button next to OK to clean the printheads. The printer cleans the printheads and then prints a test page.
  6. Evaluate the test page for print quality.
    • If the print quality on the test page is satisfactory, touch No to return to the current print job.
    • If the print quality on the test page is unsatisfactory, touch Yes to perform a secondary cleaning of the printhead.
      NOTE:There are three printhead cleaning stages. Complete all three stages if necessary. If the printhead is badly clogged, it might require another cleaning cycle. If so, wait 30 minutes after the last (third) cleaning stage to start the first stage of the cleaning process over again.

Step five: Update the printer firmware

If cleaning the printhead fixed the problem, select the link for your printer to install the latest firmware update. The firmware update can prevent future printing problems.
NOTE:Currently, firmware updates are only available for Windows operating systems.
  • If you do not see defects on the test page, the print mechanism and cartridges work correctly. Do not continue the troubleshooting steps in this document.
  • If you see defects on the test page, try the second-stage cleaning option the printer offers. If you still see defects on the test page, continue to the next step.

Step six: Align the printer

Follow these steps to align the printer if you found defects on the test report.
  1. Make sure that there is plain white U.S. letter or A4 size paper in the tray.
  2. On the printer control panel, press the Setup icon ().
  3. Press the button () next to the Down Arrow () until Tools displays next to OK.
  4. Press the button next to OK to select Tools, and then press the button next to the Down Arrow () until Align Printhead displays next to OK.
  5. Press the button next to OK to align the printhead. The printer aligns the printhead, and then prints an alignment page.
  6. Lift the scanner lid.
    Figure 20: Lift the scanner lid
    Image: Lift the scanner lid
  7. Load the alignment page print-side down in the right-front corner of the glass.
    Figure 21: Load the alignment page on the scanner glass
    Image: Load the alignment page on the scanner glass
  8. Press the button next to OK. The printer scans the alignment page.

Solution seven: Service the printer

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.
These steps apply to all countries/regions except Asia Pacific.
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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