How to Decipher Printer Error Codes

by eHow Computers Editor

We've all been at the point in a long project where all you have to do is print and our printer refuses to do so. Errors come up with numbers and letters that you don't know how to decode. You find yourself scrambling for your printer book, trying desperately to look up the code. More often than not, you just find yourself frustrated. To avoid this mess, read on to find out how to decipher printer error messages.

Finding the Code

See if your printer has a small digital screen on the front. The error code should be in that screen. Sometimes on smaller printers it's a series of flashing lights.

Copy down what scrolls or flashes across the screen or make note of which lights are flashing.

Consult your printer user guide first. If you cannot find the error code, try online support.

Common Error Codes

Locate your error code on the list.

Check to see if your printer is out of paper if Code 11 appeared.

Pull out your printer cartridge and reinsert it if a Code 12 is present. This is an indication that something is preventing the printer door from closing completely.

Refer to your user's manual if Code 13 comes up. This is a paper jam and most printers have specific instructions for that model to clear up jams.

Notice if there's a difference of color in your print jobs if Code 16 comes up. This is often a problem with the toner in the print cartridge. Try shaking it, then reinsert it. If the problem persists, replace the cartridge.

Adjust the page margins or font type if you get a Code 20/21. You have a print job that is too large for the memory to accept. If you still have problems, call a local technician to add more memory.