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Why doesn't my printer print colours properly?

Why doesn't my printer print colours properly?

Do you want to print out that lovely holiday photo, frame it and put it on your office desk? Unfortunately, when you print it, the result bears little resemblance to the digital document. Perhaps the colours don’t look the same or, worse still, the image has blurring, spots or white spaces that shouldn't be there. Before you give up on having that beautiful portrait on your desk, there are a few things you can do to resolve the problem. Read this post to find out why your printer doesn't print colours properly. In most cases, the error has a quick and easy solution.

Reasons why your printer does not print colours correctly

A printer not printing colours correctly is an extremely common issue — a quick search on any search engine will confirm this. But before you throw your cartridges and printer out of the window or start screaming at a customer service agent, check out this list of the reasons why this often occurs and fix your problem.

The printheads are dirty, clogged or misaligned

When the printheads are dirty or clogged with dried ink build-up, it's common for there to be a blank or white area on your printed document. Print a test page or nozzle check to see if this is the issue. If the sample does not print correctly, you should clean the printheads (this can be done from the computer using the 'Head cleaning' option in your printer software and, on some devices, also from control panel of the printer itself). Remember that cleaning the printheads will use up ink. After cleaning, print another test page to check if the problem has been solved.

If the test print shows incomplete patterns, white horizontal streaks or blurry colours, then it is most likely that the printheads are misaligned. Go back to your computer and click on the 'Printhead Alignment' option in the printer software and follow the on-screen instructions.

You did not select the colour option in the print settings

Although it seems obvious, we may sometimes forget to disable the black and white printing option and set the colour one. After doing so, check if your document prints out correctly.

You are not using the correct colour profile

The right colour profile must be used to ensure that what we see on the screen is reproduced in the printed image. There are two colour modes: RGB and CMYK. RGB (red, green, blue) should be chosen for colour images that are designed for a digital format. However, for printed colour documents, it's best to choose CMYK (cyan, magenta, yellow, black) mode.

Also, bear in mind that not setting the print quality correctly for the image can also lead to errors when printing colour documents. If the quality is set to 'low' in order to save ink, you will not get optimal results. For maximum colour accuracy, the highest print quality must be selected.

Two-way communication has not been enabled

Make sure that bidirectional communication (between the computer and the printer) is turned on. Failure to do so may result in colours that are different from those displayed on the screen.

You are not using the same type of paper as the one selected in the print settings

The paper choice has an impact on the printing results; using photographic paper is not the same as using a standard sheet of paper. Load the same paper type that has been selected in your printer settings in order to achieve optimal print quality. Also, note that the porosity of the paper will affect the ink absorption and therefore, the end result.

Your ink cartridges are spent

If the cartridges are completely empty, the printer will not print at all. However, when the ink level is low it will print, although it may not print with the desired quality. So check the ink level of your cartridges (via the printer software or the buttons on the panel) and, if necessary, replace them.

And finally, a couple of pointers: after printing, the colours need some time to set while the ink dries. While this is happening, the colours may appear different. Also bear in mind that the printed colours will never exactly match the colours that appear on screen. Nevertheless, if you follow all the above tips, you can be sure to get satisfactory results.

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