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Problem

Sometimes printouts from your personal printer are smudged. Follow the steps below when this happens.

If a University printer is producing smudged printouts, contact our Help Desk. Be sure to include the blue VU tag number on the printer.

Solution - Dirty print heads

Your printer may be printing fuzzy, blurry, or other faint text because of dirty print heads. All modern printers have a cleaning, self-test, or diagnose mode that can be performed to check and clean the printer's print heads and other internal equipment. If you use your printer heavily or have had it for more than one year, try performing this function. This can be done either through the software included with your printer or by pressing one or more of the buttons at the same time on your printer. Additional information about how to do this can be found in your printer's documentation or online at the manufacturer's website. 

Solution - Ink or toner cartridge issues

In time you'll need to replace the ink jet ink cartridges or laser printer toner cartridges. If you've been using your printer for more than a few months, you may want to check the ink level or toner level. Often with most modern printers you can check these levels through software. Sometimes a light indicator will be lit up or flashing, indicating that one or more ink or toner cartridges needs to be replaced. 

Solution - Paper issues

When printing on nontraditional paper, your printer may experience smudges, uneven or crooked text, or text that runs off the edges of the paper. To verify this is not the issue try standard 8x11" paper in the printer and see if the issue continues.

If your printer is printing fine on standard paper but is unable to print on special paper, you could be experiencing any of the below issues with the special paper.

  1. Paper is not being fed into the printer properly. Special sizes of paper often require that you move a slider to the edge of the paper or feed the paper into the printer via a different method. Check your printer's documentation for steps on feeding different sizes of paper into the printer.
  2. Some paper has different textures or surfaces that may cause smudging, streaks, or lines to occur. If you're getting any of these symptoms, try different paper. If it is only occurring with a specific paper it's likely the paper causing the issue. If these issues happen with all paper, other causes may be responsible. 

Solution - Driver issues

If a printer is printing unreadable text, garbage, or other strange characters, it's likely that you're experiencing a driver-related issue. Download and install the latest drivers for your printer.

Solution - Other printer hardware issues

Finally, if you've tried all the above recommendations and continue to experience issues, it's possible your printer may be experiencing a hardware-related issue. Contact the printer's manufacturer for additional recommendations and suggestions on repair or replacements.

Still need help?

For additional assistance, contact the IT Help Desk.