How to Troubleshoot Blank Lines on Inkjet Printers

By Bonnie Conrad

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If your inkjet printer is working but leaving blank lines on the pages it is important to find the root of the problem as quickly as possible. The longer you continue printing with this problem, the more ink--and money--you will be wasting. A number of things can cause blank lines on the page, so it is important to troubleshoot carefully.

Step 1

Open the print head cleaning utility that is installed for your computer. Most major printer manufacturers provide a software-based utility that printer owners can use to test, clean and realign the tiny inkjets the printer uses to create the finished output. If there are blank spots on the paper when the printer is through there is a good chance that some of these inkljets are clogged with dried ink, paper dust or other debris.

Step 2

Follow the instructions for the program and use it to clean, align and test the print head. During this process, you should have several sheets of paper available; the program works by printing a series of horizontal and vertical lines and asking the user to check the quality of the output. It might take several passes to clean the print heads completely.

Step 3

Test your printer, either by printing a self-test page or by printing one of your own documents. Carefully examine the output for blank lines or variations in color quality. If you still notice blank lines or inconsistent printing quality you need to clean--and possibly to replace--the ink cartridges.

Step 4

Lift up the printer cover to expose the ink cartridges, then flip up the plastic piece that covers the cartridges. Pull the cartridges toward you, and gently lift them up and out of the printer. Set the printer cartridges aside, making sure not to touch the metal sensor on the bottom of the cartridge.

Step 5

Examine the interior of the printer, particularly the area where the print cartridges fit into the printer. If you notice any ink or paper dust, carefully wipe it away using either a slightly damp cloth or a cotton swab.

Step 6

Turn the print cartridges over so that the metal connector is upright. Look for any dried ink or dust, and use a cotton swab to wipe it away. Make sure that the cartridges have been cleaned thoroughly before putting them back in the printer. After you replace the cartridge, flip down the plastic cartridge cover, close the printer cover and turn the printer back on.