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How to Troubleshoot Mac Printing Problems

Eventually, you will encounter printer issues when you try to print your Mac document. Fortunately, if your document won’t print, the fix is usually replacing your printer’s ink or toner cartridge or restocking your printer’s paper.

  • Running out of ink or toner: Ink is perishable, especially with an inkjet printer. The symptoms will be obvious. The characters on a page get lighter and lighter each time you print, to the point where they become barely legible. The software that came with your printer may give you an estimate on how much ink you have left each time you print. You can also check supply levels by clicking the Options & Supplies button in the Print & Fax section of System Preferences, and then clicking Supply Level. You can also click Supplies in the print dialog box.

  • Running out of paper: Your Mac won't give you a warning when you're running low on paper, so keep an eye on your printer’s paper tray. Wherever you buy your ink and paper, buy enough so that you have spares on hand.

Sometimes a printer stops working for no apparent good reason. In the Print Queue, try clicking Resume or Start Jobs. If all else fails, turn off and restart your printer.

Does the paper you buy make a difference? Some experts believe it does. Scientists maintain that the ink and paper combination you use to print digital photographs has a major effect on how the images will endure through the decades. Wilhelm Imaging Research has conducted accelerated aging tests that have indicated that, even on the same printer, prints made on high-quality paper could last more than 70 years when exposed to light, as compared to just 2 or 3 years using inferior paper. Regardless of the paper you use, you can bolster the lifespan of printed photographs by keeping them from light, humidity, and cigarette smoke and other pollutants.

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