How to Replace a Manual Typewriter Ribbon

by Stephanie Busby DavisUpdated September 26, 2017
green typewriter image by timur1970 from

A typewriter is a machine that contains keys that when pressed, causes an inked letter or symbol from a typical keyboard to be transmitted onto paper. For many years, typewriters were the primary word processing systems for the business world and were indispensable tools for the office and home office setting. Learning how to replace your typewriter ribbon is simple and can be completed in just a few steps.

Open the top of the typewriter by lifting the top portion off the machine.

Remove the old ribbon by lifting the spool out of the machine.

Place the replacement ribbon in the open slot where the old ribbon was removed and push it down until it snaps. The two spools are circular and the spool holders are also circular and are on the left and right sides of the interior of the typewriter.

Thread the ribbon in front of the roller and behind the metal ribbon holder piece. This is located just behind where the letters press as you type.

Tighten the spools a bit to ensure there is no loose ribbon hanging down.

Replace the typewriter lid.


Place the black side of the ribbon down when replacing the ribbon if you would like to type with black ink; place the red side down if you would like to type in red.

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About the Author

Based in Alabama, Stephanie Busby Davis has been writing and researching since 2001, primarily in areas such as communication studies, business and the entertainment industries. Her articles have appeared in "NCA Spectra" and numerous other publications. Davis holds a Master of Arts in communication studies from the University of South Alabama.

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