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HP Deskjet 3520 e-All-in-One Printer support

Fixing Print Quality Problems for the HP Deskjet 3520 and HP Deskjet Ink Advantage 3520 e-All-in-One Printer Series

  • PrintPrint

Issue

The quality of the printout or printed image is not as expected.
Try the following solutions in the order presented to resolve the issue. When one of the solutions resolves the issue, there is no need to continue troubleshooting.
NOTE:Some of the following solutions require the full HP software. If you did not install the full software when you installed your printer, click here to go to the software and drivers page , and then download and install the full feature software.

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.
Which cartridges you use might depend on your country/region. Follow these steps to purchase cartridges or check cartridge compatibility for your printer using HP SureSupply.
  1. Scroll to the bottom of the page and make sure that the country/region location is correct.
NOTE:For the United States only, go to the HP Home & Home Office Store .
Genuine HP cartridges can also be purchased from other retailers.

Solution two: Allow automatic servicing to complete

Your HP 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

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 printer with an appropriate paper type.
  • 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.
NOTE:Inappropriate paper usually causes vertical streaks in printouts (or if the problem occurs on a copy, dirty scanner glass usually causes the issue). Do not replace cartridges to fix vertical streaks.
Examples of horizontal streaks and vertical streaks in printout
Figure 3: Horizontal streaks in printout
Image of horizontal streaks
Continue with the following troubleshooting steps if your printout contains horizontal streaks, or other print quality issues besides vertical streaks.
Figure 4: Vertical streaks in printout
Image of vertical streaks
Do not replace cartridges 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.
Try printing again after trying the preceding guidelines.

Solution four: Check the print settings

Follow these steps to check the print settings to make sure that they are appropriate 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 Paper/Quality tab.
  4. 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.
  5. From the Media drop-down list, select the paper type that matches the paper loaded in the product.
  6. Click the Advanced button. The Advanced Options dialog box opens.
  7. Under Document Options, make sure that Print in Grayscale is set to Off, unless you want to print in Grayscale intentionally.
  8. Click OK, and then click OK again to apply the settings.
  9. Click OK or Print 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 ink levels, and then replace low or empty cartridges

Follow these steps to check the estimated ink levels on your printer, and then replace low or empty cartridges according to the results.
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.
On the printer control panel, press the Down Arrow () to select Ink Levels, and then press OK. The Ink Levels screen displays with gauges for all four ink colors.

Solution six: Print and evaluate a Print Quality Report and troubleshoot defects

Follow these steps to print, and then evaluate a Print Quality Report.

Step one: Print a print quality report

  1. Load letter or A4, unused, plain white paper into the paper tray.
  2. On the printer control panel, press the Down Arrow () to select Settings, and then press OK.
  3. Press the Down Arrow () to select Tools, and then press OK.
  4. Press the Down Arrow () to select Print Quality Report, and then press OK. The report prints.
    Figure 5: Example of a print quality report
    Image of a print quality report.

Step two: Check the print quality report for defects

In general, if the printer and its cartridges are working correctly, all the color bars should be present, unstreaked, and uniform in color across the width of the report. The black text on the report should not show ink streaks.
Review this table for examples of defects that can exist on the report. These examples are not inclusive, but tend to represent the most common issues.
Examples of defects on a print quality report
DefectExample
Large font text is ragged on one endImage of ragged large text
Irregularly streaked or faded color barsImage of streaked or faded color bars
Ragged color barsImage of ragged color bars
The color bars are streaked with another colorImage of streaked color bars
The color blocks have regular white streaksImage of white streaks in the color bars
Jagged alignment patternsImage of jagged alignment patterns
  • If you see no defects on the report, the print mechanism and ink supplies work correctly. If printouts are still unsatisfactory, try these general print quality guidelines, and then do not continue the troubleshooting steps in the remainder of this document:
    • Make sure that the image you are printing has sufficient resolution. Images that are 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 printer, or another software program to rotate the image 180°. The problem might not appear on the other end of the printout.
  • If you see one or more of these defects on the report, continue to the next steps.

Step three: Make sure that the cartridges are properly vented

  1. Grasp the handles on either side of the cartridge access door, and then raise the door until it locks into place. The carriage moves to the access area.
    Figure 6: Open the cartridge access door
    Image: Open the cartridge access door.
  2. 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.
    • If the error message mentions a specific cartridge, locate that cartridge, remove it from the carriage, and then continue with the next step.
    • If the error message does not mention a specific cartridge, remove all the cartridges, one at a time, and then continue with the next step.
    Figure 7: Remove the cartridge
    Image: Remove the cartridge.
  3. Examine the vent area on each cartridge, above the HP logo on the top of the cartridge.
    Figure 8: Vent area
    Image of the cartridge vent area.
  4. If the cartridge still has the orange pull-tab attached, pull to remove it.
    Figure 9: Orange pull tab
    Image: Orange pull tab.
  5. If the vent is clogged, use a straight pin to gently remove excess adhesive from the vent.
    Figure 10: 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
  6. With the nozzle and the contacts facing down, push the cartridge into its slot. Press down on the cartridge until it clicks into place. Make sure that the color icon on the cartridge label matches the color icon on the slot.
    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 11: Insert the cartridge
    Image: Insert the cartridge.
  7. Repeat these steps to inspect the vents on each of the cartridges.
  8. 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.
  9. Close the cartridge access door.
    Figure 12: Close the cartridge access door
    Image: Close the cartridge access door.
  10. Try the print job again.

Step four: Clean the printhead automatically

Follow these steps to run an automatic utility to clean the printhead.
  1. Load letter or A4, unused, plain white paper into the paper tray.
  2. On the printer control panel, press the Down Arrow () to select Settings, and then press OK.
  3. Press the Down Arrow () to select Tools, and then press OK.
  4. Press the Down Arrow () to select Clean Printhead, and then press OK. The printer cleans the printhead, and then prints a test page.
  5. Review the print quality on the test page.
    • If these steps resolved the issue, there is no need to continue troubleshooting. The following precautions might prevent the issue in the future.
      • Avoid leaving unprotected cartridges out of the printer for an extended period of time.
      • Always use the Power button () to turn the printer off. This protects the cartridges from exposure to air.
    • If the issue persists, continue to the next step.

Step five: Align the printhead

  1. Load letter or A4, unused, plain white paper into the paper tray.
  2. On the product control panel, press the Down Arrow () to select Settings, and then press OK.
  3. Press the Down Arrow () to select Tools, and then press OK.
  4. Press the Down Arrow () to select Align Printer, and then press OK. The product prints an alignment page.
  5. Open the lid.
    Figure 13: Open the lid
    Image: Open  the lid.
  6. Place the alignment page on the scanner glass with the printed side down, and then position it on the front right corner of the glass.
    Figure 14: Place the alignment page on the scanner glass
    Image: Place the alignment page on the scanner glass.
  7. Close the lid, and then press OK. The product scans the alignment page.
  8. Follow the control panel instructions to complete the alignment.
  9. Recycle or discard the 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: Replace the problem cartridges

If none of the preceding steps resolves the issue, replace the cartridge that corresponds to the defect on the print quality report. For example, if one of the magenta color bars is defective, replace the magenta cartridge. Use the following steps to replace the problem cartridge.
If you have a defective cartridge or printhead, it might be under warranty. To check the warranty on your ink supplies, go to hp.com/go/learnaboutsupplies , select your country/region, and then review the limited warranty information for your supplies.

Step one: Replace the problem cartridge

Video of replacing a cartridge

The following video demonstrates how to replace a cartridge.
NOTE:This video shows the HP Deskjet 3520 e-All-in-One printer, 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 .
  1. If the product is off, press the Power button () to turn on the product. Wait until the product is idle and silent before continuing.
  2. Grasp the handles on either side of the cartridge access door, and then raise the door until it locks into place. The carriage moves to the access area.
    Figure 15: Open the cartridge access door
    Image: Open the cartridge access door.
  3. 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 16: Remove the cartridge
    Image: Remove the cartridge.
  4. Pull the orange tab to remove the plastic wrap from the new cartridge.
    Figure 17: Remove the plastic wrap from the new cartridge
    Image: Remove the plastic wrap from the new cartridge.
  5. Remove the orange cap from the cartridge. Twist the cap counter-clockwise until it snaps off.
    Figure 18: Remove the orange cap from the cartridge
    Image: Remove the orange cap from the cartridge.
  6. With the nozzle and the contacts facing down, push the cartridge into its slot. Press down on the cartridge until it clicks into place. Make sure that the color icon on the cartridge label matches the color icon on the slot.
    Figure 19: Insert the cartridge
    Image: Insert the cartridge.
  7. Repeat these steps to replace any other cartridges.
  8. Close the cartridge access door.
    Figure 20: Close the cartridge access door
    Image: Close the cartridge access door.

Step two: Align the printer

After you load new cartridges and close the cartridge access door, the printer automatically prompts you to print an alignment page. Follow these steps to align the cartridges.
  1. Load letter or A4, unused, plain white paper into the paper tray.
  2. On the product control panel, press OK. The product prints an alignment page.
      If the product does not prompt you to print an alignment page, follow these steps:
      1. On the product control panel, press the Down Arrow () to select Settings, and then press OK.
      2. Press the Down Arrow () to select Tools, and then press OK.
      3. Press the Down Arrow () to select Align Printer, and then press OK. The product prints an alignment page.
      4. Follow the remaining steps to complete the alignment.
  3. Open the lid.
    Figure 21: Open the lid
    Image: Open  the lid.
  4. Place the alignment page on the scanner glass with the printed side down, and then position it on the front right corner of the glass.
    Figure 22: Place the alignment page on the scanner glass
    Image: Place the alignment page on the scanner glass.
  5. Close the lid.
  6. Press OK. The product scans the alignment page.
  7. Follow the control panel instructions to complete the alignment.
  8. Recycle or discard the alignment page.

Solution eight: 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 Asia Pacific.
If you have completed all the preceding steps and are still experiencing a problem, you may need further assistance from HP to remedy your concern.
Please contact HP using one of the options found in Contact HP.
HP Deskjet 3520 e-All-in-One Printer

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