Printer printing lines on paper printouts – Troubleshooting

There are many different printers out there to choose from, but there is always the chance that you might come across problems with your printer at some point. One of the most common issues that you can have with a printer is that it prints lines through the page.

This is super frustrating, and it can stop you from using the printer at all. But how can you stop your printer printing lines, and get it to print as normal? Well, here’s a couple of things that you can do to make sure that this doesn’t happen.

Printer printing lines on paper printouts – Troubleshooting

If you’re printer is printing lines, then there are some things you’re going to want to try. They include running the cleaning program on your printer, cleaning the cartridge manually yourself, cleaning the printers transfer belt (laser only), checking your ink levels and ultimately, change the cartridge if necessary.

Following this list should enable you to find and resolve the problem yourself. This is a pretty common problem for any inkjet printer that uses ink cartridges. It can do anything from just having a small effect on your print quality to creating white lines through your text, making your printout unreadable.

Lets look at each stage in a little more detail so you can try and figure out which of them you may need to do.

Run Clean Program

The good thing about inkjet printers is that they actually have a function on them to clean them. This is the same for all of the major printer brands out there; HP, Epson and Canon printers will all have the ability to do this.

However for all the different brands, the way that you do this will actually be a little different to one another. Generally, the first thing that you’re going to need to do is align the printheads on your printer.

This is usually as simple as pressing as either running a test print and then aligning them, or simply finding this function in your printer setup. This will clean the print head of your printer, which is important to stop any white lines.

From there, the next things that you’ll likely need to do is run the cleaning cycle of your printer. You can typically do this by going into your ink management section of your printer and finding the clean function. On Epson printers, you just need to hold the power button for a few seconds to do this.

And finally, you’ll want to make sure that the printers nozzles are cleaned too. A clogged printer head can often be the cause of problems with lines being printed on your paper, so it’s definitely a good idea to do this. Plus, if you only run it occasionally, you could be suffering from dried ink.

It’s also a good idea to run the cleaning function on your printer more than once to try and resolve it. One time might not be enough to fix your issue, so give it a good few goes before you give up.

Cartridge Check


If you’ve run the clean function of your printer and you’ve not managed to get any luck in fixing the problem, then you’ll want to go ahead and actually take the cartridge out of your printer. This is the next step on the things do to try and stop your printer printing lines on your paper.

Typically, when you open the printer up and get your cartridges out, you’re going to want to be looking for some things specifically. This includes one of the main causes of lines, which is typically going to be any cracks or leaks in the cartridge itself.

Another very common cause of lines being printed can be if the cartridge has become blocked up with ink. So, make sure to check this too if you want to try and resolve the problem.

Clean the Transfer Belt (Laser printer only)

Although you might not be aware of it, laser printers actually have something in them that we refer to as a transfer belt. Essentially, this belt is rotating within the printer, and attached to it are different colours of the toner that you’re using. In a laser printer, this can be one of the main causes of lines being printed on your paper.

When the belt itself has too much toner on it, it can end up causing issues. Fortunately, there’s a very easy way that you can clean the transfer belt inside your printer. The main thing that you’re going to need to clean the transfer belt is some isopropyl alcohol.

Get yourself a small paintbrush and use this to wipe the transfer belt inside your laser printer down. You should be able to see the results of what you’re doing pretty clearly, and this can help to resolve your printing problem if you do it properly.

Check your ink levels


If you’re suffering with different colour lines being printed up and down the sides of your paper, then this is also a pretty common problem that many different folks have had to deal with down the years. It’s typically going to be related to the amount of ink that you have stored in the printer itself.

And if you don’t have enough blank ink in your printer to use properly, then this can cause the issue of other colours being printed on your paper instead. Fortunately, there’s a very easy fix to this problem – top your printer up with some more black ink.

Replace the Cartridge

Finally, if you’ve tried everything to try and fix your printers issue and nothing seems to have worked, then it might be time for you to invest in new cartridges. This problem can happen with older cartridges, so if you have alternative ones that you can use in your printer, then it’s definitely worth giving them a go.

Replacing the printer cartridge in your printer is pretty straightforward, and it’s likely to be the final piece in the puzzle if nothing you’ve done so far has worked properly. So, switch out your cartridge and see if this resolves the issue.

Go into your settings

Whilst it’s usually a physical problem stopping your printer from working properly, it can actually something be an issue with your software or settings too. This will vary depending on the printer that you’re using.

You need to make sure that the printer nozzles are lined up properly by calibrating your printer. This will perform a nozzle check and set them up correctly with your paper print outs. You can usually find this within Settings, and then Preferences.

So whilst print cartridge can be the problem, that’s not always going to be the case. Sometimes, fiddling around with your settings can get your printer working correctly.


In conclusion, there are a few different reasons why your printer might be printing lines on your paper. And whilst it can be very frustrating if it happens to you, fortunately there are a lot of ways that you can fix the issue. So, all you need to do is find the cause of the issue and you’ll be one step closer to fixing it.

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About Jon

Hey, I'm Jon. I'm an engineer by trade, so it makes sense that I'm obsessed with anything technology related! On the weekends, you can find me playing around with my computers or fixing something around the house. Feel free to leave a comment if you want to get in touch.

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