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Strange Colored Prints

Tuesday, November 9th, 2004 by | Filed Under: Digital Photography, Printing Help

Strange Colored Printouts

Have you ever perfected a photo in your imaging program, only to get bizarre colors when you went to print it? You know, the photo is all green, pink, etc? It used to work fine, but now the printouts are making your eyes water with all their hideous color.

Well, if you’ve never been there, just hang on—ya probably will be!

If your printer has been doing fine and all the sudden this situation crops up, it’s probably one of two ink related problems (it could be a monitor calibration issue too, but that’s another article :-).

Problem 1 – Your ink cartridge is empty. Like a baseball player who didn’t quite run fast enough, YER OUT!

The only solution is to visit your nearest office supply store and make a donation to your printer manufacturer for more ink.

Problem 2 – The other cause of this printer malady is a clogged printer head. If you haven’t used your printer in awhile and are reasonably sure you have ink in the cartridge, this is likely the problem. All it takes is one nozzle getting clogged for a ticket to weirdcolorsville.

The solution to this can be a bit tedious, but at least it’s easy. When the drivers for your printer were installed, there was probably (hopefully) a utility for cleaning the print heads. Finding it usually is the only challenging part.

Most of the time, if you hit the File menu, Print option of the program you’re working with you should get a “Printer Dialog” box.

From this point on, the way you access your printer settings is going to vary quite a bit depending on the manufacturer and software. Those with weak constitutions or heart conditions may want to skip this next part and call a computer savvy relative.

Still with me? OK.

On the dialog box, next to the printer name, you should see a button called “Properties“. Click it to get your printer’s properties box.

You’re looking for a button to clean the print heads. Most printers seem to have this option under a tab labeled “Utilities”, “Advanced”, “Options”, or something similar. Once you find the print head cleaning option, click it.

This is how mine looks—I can just about guarantee yours will look different :-)

From there, just follow the on screen instructions. Keep in mind that you may have to run this utility a few times to get things back to normal. Just keep a gallon or two of ink handy and you’ll be fine :-)

Happy printing!

~ Steve

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