How to Print Directly on a CD From an Inkjet Printer

by Contributor

It takes a special kind of printer to print directly onto a CD. Once you have one, learning how to print directly on a CD is a snap. Using your inkjet printer to label CDs is less of a headache than affixing sticky labels. It looks better and works better too. Follow these steps and print CDs directly off of an inkjet printer.

Find a printer that prints directly on a CD; this is becoming a popular feature and these printers are getting more affordable.

Buy some printable media. Printable media is a bit harder to find and a bit more expensive but you need a special surface that will absorb the ink. They will be marketed as "inkjet printable" discs. Look for them online or at your electronics store.

Set up your printer for CD-R printing. Chances are your printer can print on paper and CDs, so you'll have to let your printer know what you are up to. In your printer properties, select CD or DVD as your media type. You can do this from the print dialog right before you print.

Clean the rollers. You can do this by running a clean sheet of paper through the printer without printing anything. Load up several sheets of paper and press the cancel button to feed it through. Do this a couple times.

Pull out the tray. This may be a separate part of your printer or built-in. Read the manual and learn how to pull it out properly before you go yanking at random and breaking things.

Place the CD in the tray. Make sure there is no dust or paper scraps on the tray and place the CD on the tray so it lies flat and the printable side is facing up. For smaller CDs, place the adapter first and then put the CD down.

Insert the CD tray into the printer. If the tray was attached to the printer, put it back where it came from. For separate trays you may need to wait until you are ready to print and load it into the manual feed.

Design your label. Your printer will have come with label designing software. Take some time. Make it pretty.

Print. Double check your print settings and print directly onto your CD. Choose "File" then "Print" and click "Okay." If you are loading manually, now is the time. Manual loading slots are usually on the back.

Allow your CD to dry. It is recommended to let it sit for 24 hours. There is a lot of ink on there and you do not want to ruin it with smudges.


  • check As an alternative to printable media, you can stick a traditional label on a normal CD-R and run it through the printer. However, this defeats the purpose of printing directly.
  • check If the label is not centered, you can use the software's alignment feature to fix it. Also, you can adjust the print density if it smears.
  • check Make sure your CDs are clean and dry before printing.


  • close If ink gets on the tray, wipe it clean before using it again. Otherwise the rollers will get dirty.
  • close Getting a perfect print is often a matter of trial and error and adjusting and readjusting. Be patient.

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