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This chapter is from the book

Printing Problems

It usually happens when you are more pressed for time than normal. You send a document to the printer, go over to pick it up, and find nothing. What can you do?

Assuming that your printer has been properly installed with the necessary drivers, there are tons of other quirky things that can happen to make life with your printer miserable. Here's a bit of guidance to help keep you sane.

Where's My Document?

When you send a document to the printer and nothing comes out, consider the following:

  • Is the printer turned on and plugged in? Furthermore, is the printer securely attached to your PC?

  • Make sure that the printer has enough paper to complete the job. This is especially true in the case of shared printers, since you may not know who has printed what when.

  • Is the printer online? Printers may unexpectedly go offline, which requires you to press the Online/Offline button on the printer to generate output. (Consult your printer's documentation for the exact location of this button.)

  • Check the printer's LED screen to see if it's given you a specific error message. You'll most likely need to consult the documentation or the printer manufacturer's Web site for an interpretation of anything but the most basic problems.

  • If the print request is routed through a server, as may be the case with a computer attached to a network, contact the server's administrator (or the house nerd in the case of a home network) to verify that the request actually made it. If it didn't, there could be a loose network connection.

  • If there is output, although blotchy, disfigured, or completely black, it may be time to change the toner/ink cartridge.

  • Do you see the printer icon in Control Panel? If so, double-click it, locate and select your current print job, and choose Cancel. Then try to print again.

  • If everything listed here fails to remedy the problem, it is time to call a professional. Keep in mind that unless you purchased the printer from the company that manufactured and/or sold your PC, you will most likely need to call a different technical support number.

Partial Printing

Sometimes print jobs are not complete. This typically happens due to one of the following reasons:

  • Obviously, if your printer runs out of paper halfway through the print job, you will end up with an unfinished product.

  • Go into the application's Print dialog box and make sure that the All Pages option is checked. (You will find this by clicking File, Print in most any Windows application.)

  • Did you exit the application before the entire document could be downloaded to the printer's memory? Some older applications will abort a print job in this situation.

  • If the document was a frame-based web page, you may not have gotten the frame you intended to print. Go into the web browser's Print dialog box, select the applicable frame, and then resubmit the job.

  • Could there have been a power surge that interfered with the process? If so, simply resubmitting the job may be all you need to do.

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