5 Common Office Printer Problems and How to Fix Them


Multifunction printers are critical pieces of technology in any office, so if they experience problems, your entire business can suffer. If you have a multifunction printer, it is important to know how to fix some of the most common issues so you can keep your workplace running efficiently.

Printer Troubleshooting

Connection Problems

Slow Print Speed

Paper Jams

Unwanted Marks on Print Jobs

Print Costs

Problem: Your Computer Can’t Connect to the MFP

Probably the most common issue that users experience with their multifunction printers is losing the ability to connect to it. Unfortunately, this can also be one of the trickiest problems to solve because there are so many potential causes.

If you can’t connect to your printer, there are a few things you should do:

  • First, make sure your printer is plugged in and turned on. This might sound obvious but is sometimes overlooked when things get busy.
  • If your printer is turned on, try restarting it. Occasionally, network connectivity problems can be solved by simply powering down the printer and allowing it to reboot.
  • If restarting your computer doesn’t fix the issue, make sure your printer isn’t displaying any error messages or warnings. You should also verify your computer is connected to the network. Finally, make sure your printer has sufficient toner and is stocked with the appropriate media in the designated paper tray.
  • If the printer can copy and scan but cannot print, the problem could be with your computer or your network. First, check your computer’s printer driver to make sure you have installed the most current version. On a Windows PC, follow these steps:
    • Open the Start Menu, and navigate to Settings.
    • Navigate to the Devices menu.
    • Make sure Printers and Scanners is selected on the left side of the menu, and find the printer.
    • Select the printer, and then click Manage.
    • On this menu, you’ll have several options. You can choose to Run the Troubleshooter to have Windows try solutions automatically, or you can check your device’s driver settings yourself by selecting Printer Properties and then clicking on the Advanced tab.
  • If you have a Mac, the process for checking or updating a print driver is different. Please visit the Apple Support pages for help and information on detecting problems with your printer.
  • Still not working? There are other possible solutions, but they’re more technical and will most likely require more expertise. You may want to contact your IT staff for help in these situations.

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Problem: Print Jobs Take Too Long

If your office relies on the printer for large print jobs, you may wish there was a way to speed things up a bit. Fortunately, for most business-class MFP’s, there is. By making a few simple changes, you can speed up the printing process – and possibly save on expensive resources at the same time.

Network Speed

If it takes a long time to send print jobs to your printer, you may want to check your network connectivity. Many people connect to their printer via WiFi, but if you have a poor signal or use an outdated network protocol, large print jobs can take a long time to send. Try repositioning your router or upgrading it to a newer model to boost your signal strength and gain some more bandwidth.

Print Quality

One way you can speed up the efficiency of your print job is by adjusting the print quality. Most MFP’s default to High Quality mode, but this setting prints more slowly than other modes. By changing the mode to Draft or Standard, you can print faster and save resources. Keep in mind, however, that lower quality modes result in print jobs with lower resolution and “grey”-looking blacks. If image quality is a priority, you may just have to be patient.

Simplex and Duplex

Most MFP’s offer duplex printing – or double-sided printing. Duplex conserves paper, but it’s also slower. If every second counts for your print job, switching to simplex (single-sided) mode can save time.

Upgrade Your MFP

When all else fails, it might be time to upgrade your printer to a newer, faster model. Modern MFP’s can print dozens or even hundreds of pages per minute and offer a wide range of other productivity and security features as well.

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Print Solutions

Problem: Frequent Paper Jams

Every printer experiences a paper jam once in awhile, but if your printer is jamming frequently it’s often a sign of a larger problem. Here are a few things to check:

  • First, make sure you have the right size paper loaded in the paper tray and that the printer is set for the same size.
  • Make sure the paper is loaded properly. It’s very easy to place the paper in crooked or to overfill the paper tray, which can quickly lead to jams.
  • If you’re using a new kind of paper, make sure it’s not too thick or too thin. Heavy-weight paper can sometimes clog around belts and drums, while thin, lower-weight paper might wrinkle or tear easily and cause jams.
  • Printers that have been in use for a while can start to jam because they are clogged with paper dust or loose toner. Wipe or vacuum away dust from the inside of your printer to see if that helps it run more smoothly.
  • Paper jams are also frequently caused by humidity, which causes the paper to swell and clog more easily. If your printer is jamming frequently and there doesn’t appear to be any issue with it, you can try using a dehumidifier in your office to bring the humidity down.

If these tips don’t solve your paper jam problems, you may need professional help. Try following the troubleshooting tips in your printer’s user manual or contacting a factory-trained technician for support.

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Problem: Lines, Spots, or Marks on Print Jobs

One of the most frustrating printer problems is unwanted marks on your print jobs. These marks can take many forms, including faint lines, small spots, and smudges. If you’re noticing unwanted marks on your prints, there are a few steps you should take.

  • First, determine when the marks are appearing on your jobs. If they appear on print jobs and copy jobs, there could be an issue with your print drum or paper feeder, or there could be toner leaking into the interior of the printer and adhering to print jobs. If they appear on copy jobs and scans but not digital prints, the issue is most likely with your copy reader or glass.
  • If you find smudges or marks on the glass above the copy reader, you should first try cleaning it with a gentle glass cleaner and a soft microfiber cloth. Never use paper towels or regular cleaning cloths because they can scratch or mark the glass.
  • If there are marks on every printed page, there could be a problem with your print drum, developer, or paper feeder. This isn’t a problem you should attempt to fix yourself – instead, call technical support or schedule an appointment with a print technician.

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Problem: Printing Costs Too Much

Finally, one of the biggest problems many businesses experience with their printers is how much they cost. Constant printing uses lots of paper, toner, and electricity, and it can also result in secondary costs such as lost productivity.

If you find your MFP is costing your business too much, there are a few things you can do to alleviate the problem.

Change Default Settings

One way to reduce print costs is to change your default settings to more economical options like draft printing, duplex mode, and black-and-white-only printing. This will help you reduce your paper and toner costs over the long run.

Change User Permissions

By implementing print passwords or different settings for different users, you can reduce unnecessary or wasteful printing and keep track of heavy print users to ensure they are making the best use of your MFP.

Consolidate Printers

Does every desk in your office have a printer? This is a good way to ensure lots of unnecessary printing. By consolidating to fewer devices, such as a single business-class MFP, you gain more control and reduce your employee’s temptation to print when it’s not needed.

Use Managed Print Services

One of the best ways to control your annual print costs is to implement a managed print services strategy. Managed print service providers can reduce your annual print costs by outsourcing the management of your network printer fleet. This includes monitoring your usage and supply levels so you never run out of toner, providing you with usage reports to help develop smart print policies, and making suggestions to help optimize the use of your print devices. You even get remote monitoring and technical support to help catch and solve issues before they result in downtime.

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Get Help Today

If your multifunction printer is giving you problems, we can help. Xcel Office Solutions is Oklahoma’s only Xerox platinum dealer agent. Call (405) 748-4222 today or visit us on Facebook or LinkedIn for more tips and advice.

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