If you have ever tried to print a document and it came out looking nothing like the soft copy then chances are you found yourself here because you’re looking to fix that problem.
Improving print quality does not mean that there’s necessarily something wrong with the printer.
Printing issues can occur at any time and they lead to less than stellar results.
They can affect the way you do your work and your productivity, not to mention the quality of the documents. If you need to improve your print quality then you’re in the right place.
Before we talk about how to improve print quality, let us review some of the common issues that you may face.
Problems You May Notice
Low-quality prints can take many forms. Some may be easy to spot whereas others can be a little harder to troubleshoot.
Here are some common problems that can affect the quality of your prints:
The Output Being Too Faint
If you have ever printed a document only to get a print with barely visible text or graphic then you are facing this problem. Some causes of this include low levels of ink or toner and a clogged print head.
Some prints come out missing certain colors. The output can be so distorted that it barely resembles the original image. Likewise, you may get incorrectly represented colors from a print.
There can be many reasons for this including a damaged cartridge, low ink levels, missing drivers etc.
The Output is Blurry or Appears Smudged
This can be very troublesome especially for photo printers. A blurry image greatly diminishes the aesthetic appeal of an image.
Misalignment or Banding
This issue presents itself as a printout appearing misaligned. Some artifacts of the intended content may be translated either vertically or horizontally resulting in prints that seem to have a ghosting effect.
The Printer Won’t Print Black Properly
Having a printer not printing black is also a fairly common issue. There can be many issues as to why printer is having trouble printing black ink.
Fortunately there are many fixes that you can try.
How to Improve Print Quality
Sometimes there is a simple solution that can help solve some of the problems mentioned above and improve the quality of your prints without having to call in a technician.
Here’s how to improve print quality.
1. Regularly Clean the Printer and Service It
Frequent maintenance and lack thereof can dictate the print quality you’re getting. Inkjet printers usually suffer from dried ink when they are unused for long periods. Other particles can also block the ink nozzles.
You can clean the printer heads and cartridges to remove any particles that may impair good printing. You won’t need any sophisticated equipment besides a soft fabric or cotton swabs. You can use this to clean the cartridge and its cradle too.
If you’re doing this on your own you need to be gentle and take care so as not to damage any of the components. Furthermore, it is important to ensure that the device has been turned off to avoid any electrical accidents that can damage the device.
2. Print in High Resolution
Sometimes the quality of the print can be diminished by the printing resolution used. Printing a detailed document with a low-resolution setting like 300 DPI instead of 600 DPI can lead to loss of a lot of information and the image may become blurry.
This problem can be eliminated by printing at a high resolution. By choosing the highest resolution setting possible, you can greatly improve the quality of the printed document.
Depending on the printer’s features printing at high resolutions can help maintain the level of details on the document.
It is important to note that with high resolutions, there is a lot of information to work with for both the computer and the printer. This will lead to longer printing times.
3. Choose the Correct Drivers for Your Printer
Faulty drivers can at times lead to very poor-quality prints. Most devices have specific drivers that help make use of its features and control how the device works.
The wrong drivers can lead to issues such as blurry images and can even cause smudges thus wasting ink in the process.
By installing the appropriate drivers, you reduce the chances of the occurrence of printing errors. For more information on the correct drivers for your specific device, make sure you consult with your printer’s manufacturer.
If you have the correct drivers and are still facing driver-based issues, you can try updating the drivers.
4. Keep the Printer Safe from the Elements
Electronics are usually very sensitive when it comes to things like moisture, dust, and extreme temperatures.
When exposed to these, your printer may not perform as expected and you may incur equipment failures in worse cases.
Sources of excessive heat like computers and other similar devices should not be continuously used close to the printers.
Usually, manufacturers stipulate the ideal operating conditions of their devices in the manuals that come with the aforementioned devices.
Consulting with the manual will let you know how the device is meant to be used and which conditions are unsuitable.
We recommend following those guides to ensure that the printer works optimally, thus, improving the quality of your prints.
5. Take Care of your Ink and Toners Cartridges
Since these are what is used by printers, it makes sense to ensure that they are well taken care of. Unused ink tends to dry up over time and can cause a lot of problems in printing quality.
Likewise, you need to take care of your toner. Exposing it to extreme temperatures can cause irreparable damage which can negatively impact the quality of your prints.
Exposing cartridges to direct sunlight for extended periods can similarly result in diminished quality of prints when you use them.
As a rule of thumb, always ensure that you follow the guidelines on how to use and store your cartridges to avoid any problems with them in the future.
6. Quickly and Carefully Attend to Mechanical Errors
Many printers have mechanisms that can report back to the user when they have encountered a mechanical error. These are problems that affect the physical device and have nothing to do with the software.
Mechanical errors can result in misaligned prints which are an unwanted occurrence.
Luckily, with most printers, the error is reported sometimes through LED status lights and it is your duty as the user to see to it that the device has been attended to promptly to avoid poor quality prints and any further damage.
For such an undertaking, you should refer to the user guide as it will guide you on troubleshooting the problem and resolving it.
7. Replace the Device
This is usually the last resort for when you have used the printer well past its prime and it is no longer as good as it was or when the printer has a problem that hasn’t been successfully resolved and fixing it is too expensive.
Whatever the case, sometimes to improve the quality of your prints, you may opt to choose a better-quality printer.
To Sum it Up
Printing high-quality documents is the dream of every printer owner. It is the most ideal scenario. However, at times the output may be low quality. In such cases, there’s a need to find out the source of the glitch and address it as soon as possible.
Caring for your printer will extend the lifespan and help to maintain good quality prints. By observing the directions offered above, you can take better care of your printer and it will, in turn, take care of you.
Andrew White is the founder of TechGearoid, a leading technology review & information website that is designed to help consumers make better decisions when it comes to their IT purchases. As a specialist tech writer (nerd) with over 10 years of experience, he enjoys writing about everything there is to do with modern technology & the newest market innovations. When he isn’t providing value for his readers, he’s usually drinking coffee or at the beach. Andrew lives in Sydney, Australia with his wife and family.