Troubleshoot Printer Paper Jams - dummies

By Dan Gookin

So, your printer has jammed and you need to troubleshoot. The solution to a printer jam is to find the jam and remove the paper. If the printer is smart enough to tell you where the jam occurred, heed its advice. Otherwise, follow the paper’s path from tray to output, by opening various printer hatches and covers to find the errant sheet. Remove the jammed sheet and then resume printing.

  • If the page that jammed needs to be printed again, use the Print dialog box to print only the single sheet that jammed.

  • Some printers may not recover from a paper jam until you open and close the cover.

  • Don’t turn off a printer to recover from a jam; when you do, you often have to reprint the entire document.

  • Some printers are smart and recover well from a jam, reprinting the page that was jammed.

  • Sometimes the printer says it’s jammed but has merely experienced a misfeed from the paper tray. Remove the paper and fan it out, to puff some air between the pages. Then try printing again.

  • Avoid using overly thick paper in your printer, because it tends to jam.

  • If you must use thick paper, check to ensure that your printer doesn’t have a straight-path option, where the paper simply moves from the front of the printer to the back without making too many turns.