Why is My Printer Printing Blank Pages? (macOS + Windows)

Today we’ll look at why your printer is printing blank pages, how to figure out the root cause of the issue and provide step-by-step solutions for Mac and Windows.

If your printer is printing blank pages lately and you are not out of ink there could be other reasons that we’ll explore.

4 Reasons Your Printer is Printing Blank Pages

If your printer is giving you empty pages instead of printing what you want, it can happen for a few different reasons. Here are some common reasons and causes why your printer might be printing blank pages:

  • Empty Ink or Toner Cartridges: If your ink or toner cartridges are empty or low on ink/toner, it can result in blank pages. Some printers use separate ink cartridges for each color, so there’s a possibility that you’re running low or have run out of one or more colors.
  • Cartridge Issues: Even if your cartridge is full, it might be installed incorrectly or slightly dislodged. Another common issue is that you might have forgotten to remove the protective tape from the ink head before inserting it into the printer.
  • Driver or Software Issues: Outdated or corrupted printer drivers or software can mess up your print command, leading to printing problems, including blank pages. Incorrect settings or incorrectly configured printers such as selecting the wrong paper size or type, or setting the printer to grayscale instead of color, can result in blank pages.
  • Hardware Concerns: Faulty hardware components like a damaged or malfunctioning print head, clogged nozzles, sensor, or roller can lead to blank pages. If you are using a wireless printer, a poor or unstable connection between your device and the printer can be the issue.

Diagnosing the Issue (macOS & Windows)

1. Check the ink levels on your printer

Many modern printers allow you to check your printer’s ink levels using the manufacturer’s Printer app that was installed on your computer when you added the printer. If you don’t have a dedicated printer app, you can directly check the ink levels from the printer’s display panel or indicators.

Open the Printer companion app and look for an option to check ink or cartridge levels. It is usually located under the Maintenance tab or Printer Status.

For Windows:

  1. Open Control Panel and go to Control Panel > Hardware and Sound > Devices and Printers.
  2. Right-click the Printer device you want to check and select Printing Preferences.
  3. Now, look for link-level graphics.Printing Preferences
  4. If you see a ! mark icon on one or more cartridge icons, it means the ink is running low, and if you see an X symbol it means the cartridge is dry.Check ink levels

For macOS:

  1. Click the Apple logo and go to System Preferences > Printers and scanner. Alternatively, click the magnifying glass and search ‘Printers and scanners’.System Preference
  2. Select the printer device from the left panel and click Options and Supplies.Office & supplies
  3. Then, go to the Supply Levels tab and check for ink levels.Supply level

2. Check the Cartridges

Check if your ink cartridges or printer head are blocked. If they are, your printer might not work right. Make sure each cartridge is in the correct place and fits well. Also, see if you’ve taken off the protective tape (usually orange/yellow in color) that covers the nozzles or the cartridge.

3. Check the Paper and Paper Tray

Make sure the papers are correctly placed in the paper tray or feeder of the printer and aligned properly. Lift the cover or panel of the printer and look inside the printer for any paper that might be stuck or jammed.

Check that the paper size and type you’re using correctly match the print settings. If you are sending a multi-page document, check if the document includes any blank pages.

4. Perform Nozzle Check

If you haven’t used or serviced your printer in a while, the nozzle head might become clogged. To check if this is the case, you can use the built-in Nozzle Check feature. This function prints a test pattern to help you check if the print head nozzles are clogged.

For Windows:

  1. Go to Control Panel > Hardware and sound > Devices and Printers.
  2. Find and right-click the printer you want to check and select Printing preferences option.printing-preference-
  3. In the Printer app, switch to the Maintenance tab and click the Nozzle Check button.Nozzle check
  4. When prompted, click Print Check Pattern to continue.Print check

For Mac:

  1. Click the Apple logo and go to System Preferences > Printers and scanner.
  2. Select the printer on the left and click on Options & Supplies.Options
  3. Then, select the Utility tab and click the Open Printer Utility button.
  4. Finally, click on Nozzle Check to print test patterns.Nozzle check

If your printer gives a blank page even when you’re printing a nozzle check pattern, it indicates that your printer’s ink levels are very low or malfunctioning cartridges.

Steps to Fix

Before you proceed with any of the following troubleshooting procedures, consult your printer’s manual for guidance.

1. Restart the Printer

Sometimes, a restart can fix small problems like the blank paper issue you’re having. Here’s what you can do:

  1. Turn off your printer and unplug the power cord and any other cables from the printer.
  2. Wait for about 10 to 15 minutes, then restart your PC.
  3. After your PC is restarted, plug the power cord and cables back into the printer.
  4. Turn on the printer.
  5. Print a test page to see if it fixes the issue.

2. Replace or Refill Cartridges

If your link levels are low, replace the cartridges or refill the ones you already have. But don’t take out the ink cartridge until you get a new one, otherwise, the print head nozzles may dry out.

  1. Turn on the printer and open the cartridge cover.
  2. Identify the cartridges that need to be replaced.
  3. Gently push or pull the latch that holds the cartridge in place, then firmly grasp the empty cartridge and gently pull it out from its slot. Remove cartridge
  4. Take the new ink cartridge from its packaging and remove any protective tape (Yellow tape)or coverings to expose the vent slots. If you are refilling the cartridge, carefully follow the instructions provided in the manual.
  5. Hold the new or refilled cartridge by its sides and slide it into the empty slot. Gently press until it is properly aligned and clicks into place. Make sure the colors on the cartridge match the marker at the top of the printhead.
  6. Once the cartridge is correctly inserted, close the cover carefully.

3. Update or Reinstall Printer Drivers

Bank pages issue is often caused by an outdated or faulty printer driver on your computer. To fix this you may need to update or reinstall the printer driver on your system.

For Windows

  1. Click the Start button, search device manager, and select the Device Manager control panel.Device manager
  2. Expand the Print queue section, right-click on your printer’s name, and choose Update driver. Update driver
  3. After that, select the Search automatically for drivers option.Search automatically

For Mac

  1. Click the Apple icon in the top-left corner and select System Preferences.System preferences
  2. Then, select Software Update.Software updates
  3. Check if your printer’s name is in the list of available software updates. Then, click Update to download and install the updates.

If this doesn’t work, download the latest drivers from the printer manufacturer’s website. Then, run the installer and follow the on-screen instructions to install the drivers.

4. Align the Printer Cartridges

If you recently changed your old ink cartridges, it’s important to align and set up your printer correctly. If the cartridges aren’t positioned correctly, it might lead to blank prints or skewed printing.

For Windows:

  1. Open Control Panel and go to Hardware and sound > Devices and Printers.
  2. Right-click on the problematic printer and select Printing Preferences. Alternatively, open the Printer app.
  3. Under the Maintenance tab, look for Print Head Alignment or Aligh Cartridges and select it.Print Head Alighnmnet
  4. Then, click Align Print Head or Print Alignment Page button.ALlign

For Mac:

  1. Click the Apple menu and select System Preferences.
  2. Then, click on Printers & Scanners (or Print & ScanPrint & Fax).Printers and scanners
  3. Select the printer and click on Options & Supplies button.
  4. Next, go to the Utility tab and click on Open Printer Utility.Open Print utility
  5. Select Print Head Alignment.Print head alignment
  6. After that, click Next, then click Print to print an alignment sheet.Print

5. Clean the Print Head

If the head of the printer is clogged with ink and dust, it must be cleaned with automatic cleaning or manual cleaning methods.

Automatic Cleaning

Modern printer control panels have built-in features to automatically clean the print head. Here’s how you can use that:

  1. Turn on the printer and load the papers.
  2. Next, open your printer’s control panel or software (Windows or Mac) and go to the Maintenance tab.
  3. Then, click the CleaningDeep Cleaning, or Head Cleaning option. Print head cleaning
  4. Follow any on-screen prompts to start the cleaning process. Your printer may print a test pattern or perform cleaning cycles.

Manual Cleaning

In some cases, if the automatic cleaning doesn’t work, you might need to manually clean the print head. Check your printer’s manual for specific instructions on this process.

  1. Turn off and unplug the printer.
  2. Mix equal parts of water and alcohol in a bowl or a container.
  3. Open the printer’s lid and carefully remove the ink cartridges. Set aside the cartridges on a paper towel.
  4. Next, lift the latch behind the cartridge carriage to release the printhead from the printer. Remove the printhead by pulling it upwards. You can skip this step if cartridges have built-in printheads.
  5. Dampen a soft lint-free cloth with the distilled water and gently wipe away any excess ink and dirt from the printhead nozzle.
  6. Soak printhead or cartridges in the mixture and make the nozzle faces downward to prevent damage.
  7. Let the printhead soak for approximately five to ten minutes.
  8. Then, remove the printhead from the mixture and carefully dry it with a microfiber cloth or paper towel.
  9. Reinsert the printhead unit and cartridges and then print a test page.

6. Change the Printer Preferences

Before you print a document with multiple pages, make sure to check if it contains any blank pages and delete them accordingly or enable the Skip Blank page option in the printer settings to let the printer handle this automatically for all documents.

For Windows

  1. Open Control Panel and go to Hardware and sound > Devices and Printers.
  2. Right-click on the problematic printer and select Printing Preferences.
  3. Find and enable the Skip Blank Pages option. It is usually located under the Layout.Skip Blank Pages

For Mac:

  1. Click the Apple menu and select System Preferences.
  2. Then, click on Printers & Scanners (or Print & ScanPrint & Fax).
  3. Select the printer and click on Options & Supplies button.
  4. Move to the Options tab and turn on the Skip Blank Pages option. Then, click OK.Skip blank

7. Configure the Printer Spooler service

The blank printouts can also happen due to damaged or missing print spooler files. This can be fixed by resetting the Printer Spooler service files.

For Windows:

  1. Press Windows+R, type services.msc and hit Enter.Services.msc
  2. In the Services window, find and double-click the Print Spooler service.Printer Spool
  3. Click the Stop button to stop the Print Spooler service.Stop
  4. After that, press Windows+E to launch File Explorer, and copy paste the below path in the address bar, and hit Enter.File Explorer
  5. Click Continue if prompted to get access to the folder.
  6. Then, select and delete all the content in the PRINTERS folder.Delete files
  7. After deleting the files, go back to the Services app, and open Print Spooler service properties (Steps 1 – 2).
  8. Now, make sure the Startup type is set to Automatic and click the Start button to restart the service.
  9. Close the Service app and restart your computer.

For Mac:

  1. Click the Apple menu > System Settings > Printers & Scanners (or Print & Scan).
  2. Control-click on the list of Printers in the left side panel and select Reset printing system.Reset printing
  3. Click Reset to confirm. Enter your password and click OK.

When to Seek Professional Help?

Dealing with printer problems, like it printing blank pages, can be really annoying. In most cases, the above troubleshooting methods can solve the issue. However, there are times when you might need help from an expert or consider getting a new printer. Here are some signs that show when the problem might be too complicated to solve it by yourself:

  • The printer keeps printing blank pages.
  • Making weird noises like strange grinding or clicking sounds, along with odd smells.
  • The error messages persist.
  • Producing bad print quality even after cleaning.
  • Frequent paper jams
  • Connection and software problems.
  • The printer is old and repairs cost more than the printer’s value.

When to get expert help or replace your printer:

  • Complicated Fixes: If the problem needs advanced technical knowledge or taking the printer apart, it’s best to ask a professional printer technician.
  • Warranty Check: If your printer is still under warranty, contact the manufacturer’s support or an approved service provider to avoid losing the warranty.
  • Time and Effort: If you’ve tried hard to fix the issue but it’s still not working, it’s time to get professional help.
  • Repair cost is expensive: Compare the repair cost to a new printer’s cost. If repair costs more than the printer’s value and your printer is old, getting a new one might save money.
  • Printing Needs: Assess whether your current printer fulfills your printing needs. If it’s outdated or lacks necessary features, it might be a good time to upgrade.

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