Solving printer pickles

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With the cost of inkjet printers now so low, nearly every household has one hooked up to their PC. We examine some commonly experienced printing problems

Most printers these days come with some form of software that accompanies the driver to make your life easier and this should be your first port of call. Yet there will be times when you’ll need more help with a specific problem – hopefully we’ll point you in the right direction.

When I try to print multiple copies of a Word file in Word 2002 it will only print a single copy.

First, clear the background printing option by going to Tools/Options, select the Print tab, clear the check box next to Background printing and press OK. Next, try printing directly to the printer, rather than using the Windows spooling feature. To accomplish this, follow the instructions in step two of the walkthrough below. Another suggestion to try is adding an extra page to the end of your document. Go to the end of your document by pressing [Ctrl] + [End] and select Insert/Break. Then select Page Break and click OK.

I spent ages formatting a long Word document and it printed out fine on my home printer. When I tried to print out the same file at work the page breaks were all over the place.

You first need to make sure that the fonts you’re using are on both PCs and are therefore available to both printers. If not, your work PC may be substituting a different font which will affect the formatting.

However, the issue may be down to the printers having different resolutions. This can cause slight variations in the character width, which across a large document can throw your formatting out. Try changing the dpi setting on the printers so that they are in alignment with each other. The problem may also be down to the print language used, the two most common being PostScript and PCL. If one of the printers supports both languages, use the same language as was used on your other printer. If you still can’t resolve this, you may find that the last resort is to have to go through the document and revise the formatting to suit the second printer.

I don’t do much printing, but experience a lot of paper jams.

Look at how you store your paper. Most inkjets have a feed for paper that can hold about 100 sheets, which are held vertically above the printer feed. Most people keep paper stored here and print off as required, but paper shouldn’t be stored this way for long periods of time.

Keep it stacked horizontally and insert paper as you use it. Don’t put more than 100 sheets in the paper feed tray at a time. Before printing, fan the stack of paper and tap the edges before you load it. Another tip is to try turning the paper over, as often printer paper is designed to be used with one particular side face up, usually indicated on the packet the paper comes in.

Sometimes when I print out an email from Outlook I get pages of blank paper printed before the message. Other times it prints OK.

This can occur when you have multiple recipients on the To line of the email. There’s no way to fix this, but you can get round it by printing the message before adding all the recipients if it’s a mail you’re sending. If it’s a mail that has been sent to you with multiple recipients you can’t delete these, so forward the mail to yourself again and you will have a copy of it with a single recipient, which will print out OK.

When printing photographs I get horizontal stripes across the image. Can I do anything about this?

This is known as horizontal banding and is often a problem with ink-jet printers, but there things that you can try to reduce the effect. The first things to ensure are that you are using the highest-quality setting on your printer and printing on photo-quality paper. The former can either be achieved by increasing the DPI setting to its maximum, or on many printers it will involve setting the driver quality setting to ‘Best’.

It’s also worth ensuring that you have selected the type of paper you are using in your printer software. Next you will want to make sure that your ink cartridges are not low on ink, as this can cause banding to worsen. It is also worth cleaning the heads. This isn’t a manual task; rather, it will be an entry in the maintenance section of your printer software. Finally, an often overlooked cause of banding is if your printer is on an uneven surface. Ensure that you printer is both stable and standing level.

Fix spool32 errors in Windows 98

Three tips for getting rid of this nasty printing error. Perform each one in turn and try to print after each step

1. Press Start, Programs, Accessories, System Tools, System Information, System Configuration Utility. Click Selective Startup and clear Process Config.sys File, Process Autoexec.bat File, Process Winstart.bat File, Process System.ini File, Process Win.ini File and Load Startup Group Items.

2. Print direct to the printer, rather than spooling by pressing Start, Settings, Printers. Right-click your printer icon and select Properties. On the Details tab, click Spool Settings. Check the radio button next to ‘Print directly to your Printer’, select the print format RAW and apply.

3. Create a shortcut to the Windows/System/Spool32.exe file in the StartUp folder. Now search for your Win.ini file and open it in Notepad to edit it. Add C:\windows\system\spool32.exe to the Load=, or Run= lines in the Windows section of the Win.ini file. Save your changes.

If you need more help...

...visit the top resource for all your printing problems

If you’re still having problems with your printer that you are unable to resolve and visiting the manufacturer’s Web site hasn’t produced a solution, then we recommend a visit to the Microsoft Printing Solution centre at This superb resource is a new addition to the Microsoft support site and includes help on driver issues, network printing, specific error messages and more. You’ll also find tips and articles covering a range of different applications, so that for example, if you only experience problems when printing from Excel, you can go straight to a section of the site that will have all the common printing problems related to this application.

There’s also a selection of articles designed to help you get the most out of your printer. A section is dedicated to printing photos and this doesn’t just provide solutions to problems. You’ll find features on how to get the best possible prints, how to customise layouts so that you make the most of that expensive photo paper and even a ‘Learn more’ section that takes you through to a range of advanced techniques for digital photography and printing. Even if you aren’t having printer problems, we recommend a visit here.
This material is the copyright material of or licensed to Future Publishing Limited, a Future Network plc group company, UK 2004. All rights reserved.

Artikel-id: 835817 – senaste granskning 8 juli 2008 – revision: 1