Why Is My Printer Not Printing in Color

For certain reasons, sometimes, the printer does not print only in black or does not output a particular color tint. If it is said about the absence of a certain color on the used sheet, but the printing itself works, then it is most likely that the reason lies in the consumables (cartridges, ink). But do not exclude systemic failures. Poor printing with a lack of colors can happen on a printer from absolutely any manufacturer (HP, Canon, Epson, Brother, and others).

From this article, you can find out why the printer does not print with color ink, although there is ink. This knowledge will help determine what to do in the first place in your situation so as not to harm the device even more. As practice shows, problems are often observed in color inkjet devices with a black cartridge; ink tanks with pink, blue, and yellow are less whimsical. However, they can also deliver enough surprises to their owners.

Physical Malfunctions

ink cartridge open

Connection and Paper

The first step is to check the quality of the power cord connection and connection to a personal computer or laptop. Do not forget to turn on the printer with the button on the case. If you are using a WiFi network connection, you should ensure the quality of the signal. The indicators should signal that the equipment is ready to start work immediately in green.

See if there is enough paper in the tray if it is securely fixed there. Check that there are no jams inside the device. Use only sheets that match the characteristics of the model and do not have external defects. It is not recommended to reuse pages that have printed images or text.

Clogged or Dried Out Cartridges

If you often print a lot without the prevention of technology, then clogging the ink passage channels inside the cartridge or print head will not take long. And in the case when the work with the printer is very rare, drying of paints on the surfaces is possible. These situations easily cause the cartridge to stop printing even if it is still full of ink.

You can use one of two solutions to fix such problems: software or physical. The first involves manipulations using a special utility; the second requires manual user intervention—namely, the washing and cleaning ink residues.

Incorrect Refilling of the Cartridge

  • Poor quality paint. Bad ink can refill in both black and color cartridges. Paints can only purchase from an official manufacturer or a reliable supplier.
  • Wrong dye. If the device refuses to print, but there is ink, check if they are suitable for the printer model. The dye marking is on the packaging, and recommendations for choosing ink are in the instructions for the technique. When choosing ink for inkjet printers, you need to consider that they are pigmenting and water-based.
  • Overflow of ink. When refilling the cartridge, you need to pour ink no more than 90% of the total volume. If a color printer starts smearing black on the paper, then there is a problem with the black cartridge, and when it smears, for example, in red, then there is a problem with the container containing the color dye.
  • The seal of the cartridge is broken. The container must pull out, checked for leaks, and, if necessary, sealed the hole through which the filling took place with tape.
  • Cartridge installed incorrectly after refilling. It is enough to remove the container from the device and install it again until a characteristic click appears.

Checking the Level of Ink in the Cartridges

You can check the level visually if the situation allows. Some models are equipped with transparent plastic cartridges, which is very convenient. Level the ink tank and make sure more than half of the liquid is inside. Add a little more if necessary.

If the first method of checking the presence of paints is not suitable, then this can do using a special program. For many models, it is “sewn” into the driver. Therefore it is already installed. The following steps are:

  • Go to “Control Panel” – “Hardware and Sound” – “Devices and Printers.”
  • Find the desired printer in the list and right-click on it.
  • Select “Printing Preferences” from the list of options.
  • In the “Maintenance” tab, click on “Status Information.”
  • Select the Ink Information tab. If the printer stops printing with color ink, you need to check their level first since this is the main reason for refusing to print for color printers.

Non-original Cartridges or Incompatible Ink

If the cartridges in the printer at the time of purchase are out of order or worn out over time, you most likely have purchased new ones. When these were non-original “consumables,” then over time, a problem may arise in a printer refusing to print, even if there is ink. You will have to rebuy the original product or similar to those currently in use in such a situation.

The same problem concerns the quality of the coloring liquids used. They can make by the manufacturer, which entails a high cost, or compatible with your cartridge model. You can find more detailed information on this matter by comparing the markings on the can with paint and those indicated in the characteristics of the cartridge. They must match.

Print Head Problems

The print head itself cannot exclude from the list of possible culprits. This is one of the most expensive parts of any printer. Self-diagnosis and, even more so, home repairs are impossible. In such cases, you need to contact the service center. And if the equipment is under warranty, then this is a prerequisite.

Software Problems

open printer for repair

Settings in the Windows System

Incorrectly specified important settings in the operating system also need to be corrected. Pay attention to these options.

Installed default printer. Should your model be marked with a green checkmark? If the checkbox is on another device, then this must correct through the context menu of your printer.

There are a lot of documents in the print queue that are “hanging” and not being printed. Go to the queue window and check this assumption. Cleaning can do in several ways; all are described in a separate article here.

In the same window, in the File menu, there are items “Work Offline” and “Pause Printing.” There should be no marks next to them. Remove them with a mouse click if they are still there.

Checking CISS Sometimes, the continuous ink supply system causes black or color not to print.

Possible Problems Are:

  • not transferred to the working position from the transport;
  • Tanks are low on ink;
  • the feed loop has been transferred;
  • ran out of ink; airlock in the ink loop;
  • The ink has dried up due to a long period of inactivity.

There are Different Ways to Solve Problems:

  • CISS is transferring to the working position;
  • ink containers are placed in the correct position;
  • air is pumped in the loop, squeezing / kinks of hoses are eliminated;
  • the head is cleaned by the program method;
  • the page is printed, and the print quality is checked.
  • The software does not “see” the gas station.

Often, manufacturers install special paint counters in their equipment. When the printer makes several prints, the system reports that the ink is running out. Although the inkwells are not always empty, this may be the case. Therefore, physical replenishment of consumables is not always sufficient to continue printing with black or color cartridges. The user must reset this counter.

There Are Several Ways to Reset the Ink Level Sensor:

Use special software for such purposes. The most popular programs are “IpTool” and “Mtool.”

Reset using sealing contacts on the cartridge itself. This method is most often used for HP equipment.

Purchase and install compatible non-metered supplies.

Video Instructions for Different Brands

If an HP, Epson, or Canon printer does not print black or color, although there is ink, we recommend that you reset the counter in the same way as indicated in the corresponding video below.


  • Resetting the diaper of a Canon printer using the example of the G3400 model
  • Instructions for Canon printers on resetting the absorber.


  • Resetting an Epson diaper at home
  • A step-by-step manual for users.
  • Resetting the ink level in Epson L series printers
  • It should be used after each refilling of cartridges.


If you are tired of constant notifications about low ink levels, you can turn them off. Go to the printer settings, go to the “Maintenance” tab, click the “Status Information” button at the bottom, and in the “Parameters” at the end of the list, make the necessary settings. Uncheck the corresponding box.

Need to Update the Printer Driver

Perform a software update through Device Manager.

  • On the “My PC” icon, right-click and select “Properties.”Click on the “Device Manager” shortcut in the properties window on the left.
  • In the list of equipment, find your printer and select it.
  • At the top, click on the update driver icon.
  • Perform the procedure according to an automatic script or specify the path to previously downloaded software files.

If Nothing Helped

What to do if the printer does not print, but there is ink in it, when none of the methods gave a positive result. The only option for further action is to contact the service center of the equipment manufacturer. Very rarely, but the device’s system board fails; this entails problems with printing one or several cartridges at once.

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