Sometimes, even if your document including PDF, image, or Word file is properly aligned, the printer can still print off-center. Correcting the document alignment won’t solve this problem either.
So, why is my printer printing off-center?
The printer will print off-center if you use the wrong paper size or if the paper size setting is wrong. Use the recommended paper size and adjust the paper size setting on your PC. Stuck paper in the printer and clogged cartridges can be the culprit too. You also need to adjust software calibration and printer & paper formatting to get rid of this off-centered issue.
Don’t go yet. This article will describe the solutions to all the possible reasons for this problem. So, keep reading!
Why is My Printer Printing Off-Center?
Your printer can print off-center for many reasons including the wrong paper size, printer software miscalibration, and wrong cartridges. Let’s discuss all the reasons in detail.
Reason 1: Wrong Paper Size
Using paper sizes that are not compatible with your printer is a common reason for the print to go off-center.
Use the correct size of paper in the printer. Usually, all the printers are compatible with some common paper sizes. For example, letter paper (8.5 × 11 inches), Tabloid (11 × 17 inches), A4 paper (8.27 x 11.69 inches), and Legal paper (8.5 × 14 inches).
Check your user manual to find out the compatible paper sizes that you can use in your printer.
Reason 2: Wrong Paper Size Setting
Even after using the correct size of the paper, due to the wrong paper size setting in the printer, it can print off-center.
You have to change the paper size on your computer. Here’s how to do it.
Changing default paper size in Windows 10:
Step 1: Press the Windows icon on your keyboard or go to the start menu.
Step 2: Type “Printer” on the search bar and go to the printer’s menu.
Step 3: Right-click on the printer you are working with and select “Properties”.
Step 4: Select “Paper Tab” and choose the paper size you are using. If your paper size is not on the list, select “Custom” and manually add the paper size.
Step 5: Click “OK”.
Changing default paper size on Mac:
Step 1: Click on the Apple menu and go to “System Preference”.
Step 2: Select “Printers & Scanners”
Step 3: Click on the “Default Paper Size” arrow and choose the paper size you are using.
Step 4: If you can’t find the right paper size in the list, select “custom” and input your paper size.
Now do a test print and check if the print is aligned.
Reason 3: Stuck Paper in the Printer
Paper getting stuck in the printer is a common and annoying problem. When you print on a jammed printer, the stuck paper causes the new paper to shift from its correct printing path. As a result, the print is off-centered.
You have to check and clear the jammed printer. Follow the steps given below.
Step 1: Turn off your printer before starting the process. Also, unplug it.
Step 2: Remove all the paper from the paper tray. And check if any paper is stuck here. Hold the paper with both hands. Gently pull the stuck paper out. If there is no stuck paper in the tray, proceed to the next step.
Step 3: Open the printer cover or scanning unit and check if any paper is stuck under the printer holder.
Step 4: Shift the printer holder to the left or right to expose the paper depending on where the paper is stuck.
Step 5: Hold the stuck paper with both hands. If you pull the paper with one hand, you might tear it. Now carefully pull out the paper at 45 degrees angle. Make sure no bit is left in the printer.
Step 6: Adjust the printer holder and reinstall the cover. Now the printer is cleared.
Reason 4: Dirty or Clogged Cartridges
Dirty Cartridges cause the ink to bloat or streak around which can make the prints on the page look off-centered. Dirty cartridges can also leave roller marks on your paper.
You have to take out the cartridges and clean them properly. Here is the process of cleaning the printer cartridges.
- Dry Soft cotton cloth
- Cotton buds
- Lukewarm water
Step 1: Turn the printer off. Remove the power cable from the printer.
Step 2: Locate the cartridges in your printer. Usually, they are found in the front of the printer in a cage with a flap-openable cover.
Check your printer’s manual for the exact location of the cartridges.
Step 3: Flap open the cover and take out the cartridges.
Step 4: Take a dry soft cloth and wipe the outside of the cartridges.
Step 5: Wet a cotton bud in lukewarm water and gently wipe the print head with it.
Step 6: Take another wet cotton bud and carefully wipe the colored circuitry.
Step 7: Let the cartridge dry completely before putting it back into the cartridge case.
Reason 5: Wrong-sized cartridges
If you have recently changed the cartridge and the problem has been happening since then, you might have installed the wrong-sized cartridges.
You should always buy cartridges with the Printer’s recommended size. You can acquire the cartridge size recommendation from three sources.
- Your printer’s owner’s manual should have the size numbers that are compatible with the printer.
- If you don’t have the owner’s manual, you can visit the official website of your printer’s brand and find out what size cartridge you need.
- Some printers like HP provide a cartridge size card along with the printer for your convenience.
Also, don’t forget to install the cartridge correctly.
Reason 6: Printer Software Miscalibration
Sometimes, due to the printer’s software miscalibration, it can print off-center.
You have to calibrate the printer from its software. Here’s how you do it.
Step 1: Open the printer’s software.
Step 2: Click on the “Maintenance” option and select tools/Utilities.
Step 3: Click on the “Alignment/Calibrate Printer”.
Step 4: Complete the alignment process by following the wizard’s instructions. Select “Finish” once the process is done.
Reason 7: Wrong Printer & Paper Formatting
If you are facing the off-center issue from a Mac, the formatting might be set to “Any PC” rather than your PC. Due to this formatting, the print can be off-centered by around 3/8″ (10mm).
Step 1: To set the correct formatting, follow the steps below.
Step 2: Go to any document you want to print
Step 3: From the top left corner of your screen, click on “File”.
Step 4: Select “Page Setup”.
Step 5: You will see an option “Format for” and it is set to “Any Printer”. Click on the arrow and change the format to “My Printer”. Now you should be able to print in the center.
Reason 8: Misaligned Roll of labels
If you are printing labels, sometimes you can face this issue if the roll of the label is misaligned.
There is nothing you can do about it as this is a manufacturing fault. Change the roll and try again. Use the faulty roll of the label for less important printing.
These are the solutions to the off-center problem. If the problem is still persistent, or you are not comfortable fixing it yourself, you should consult a professional. Also, don’t forget to clean your printer regularly to make it function longer.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):
How do I fix uneven printing?
To fix uneven printing, you have to use the recommended paper size and type, do a system calibration, and make sure the cartridge is clean. You also have to ensure the cartridge is properly installed, also, from the printer driver, deactivate the “improve Grey Color” mode.
Why is my printer crooked?
The printer will pull paper in crooked if you use the wrong type of paper in the printer. If the paper is thicker or thinner than the printer’s capacity, this problem can happen. Moreover, putting too many or too few amounts of paper in the paper tray can cause this issue.
Why is my printer printing blank pages?
The most common reason behind the printer printing blank page is empty ink cartridges. Refilling the cartridge should solve this problem. Also, clogged or dirty cartridges and incompatible cartridges can cause this problem.
Now you should get the answer to your question “why is my printer printing off-center”. I hope the problem is solved now. Never forget to do a test print before printing a bulk amount of documents. It will save both your time and paper.
That’s all for now. All the best and goodbye!