Skip to content
Scanse » Printers » Issues » Why Printer Not Printing in Color: How to Fix It 5 Reasons

Why Printer Not Printing in Color: How to Fix It 5 Reasons

The issue of printers not printing in color is a common one that affects various brands like HP, Canon, Epson, and Brother. Whether you’re using Windows 10 or another operating system, this problem can disrupt your workflow and cause frustration.

If your printer is not printing in color, here is a quick solution to it:

This guide aims to provide you with quick and effective solutions to resolve the color printing issue. By following the steps outlined here, you can expect to get your printer back to its full-color functionality in no time.

Troubleshooting steps for fixing color printing issues across various printer brands.

Preliminary Checks

Key Takeaways:

  • Always start with preliminary checks to rule out simple issues.
  • Document settings are often overlooked; make sure your document is set to print in color.

Before diving into the technical aspects, it’s crucial to perform some preliminary checks. These steps ensure that you’re not overlooking any simple issues that could be causing the problem.

Read Our Other Printers' Unbiased Reviews: i. Best Sublimation Printer - ii. Best 11X17 Color Laser Printer - iii. Best Negative Scanner

Ensuring the Document is Set to Print in Color

Often, the issue lies in the document settings. Make sure your document is set to print in color. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Open the Document: Open the document you want to print.
  2. Go to Print Settings: Usually, you can find this under ‘File’ and then ‘Print’ in most software.
  3. Check the Color Settings: Look for an option that allows you to choose between black and white and color. Make sure it’s set to color.
  4. Apply and Print: Apply the settings and try printing again.

Verifying the Settings in the Printer’s Software

Before diving into more complex solutions, let’s start by checking the printer’s software settings. Sometimes, the issue could be as simple as a toggled setting.

  1. Open the Printer Software: Navigate to the printer software on your computer.
  2. Check Color Settings: Look for any options that allow you to print in color and ensure they are enabled.
  3. Apply and Save: Make any necessary changes and save the settings.

Grayscale Settings

Another setting to check is the grayscale option. If this is enabled, your printer will only print in black and white.

  1. Navigate to Printer Preferences: Go to your printer settings on your computer.
  2. Locate Grayscale Option: Find the grayscale or black and white option.
  3. Toggle Off: If it’s enabled, toggle it off to enable color printing.

Understanding the Grayscale Setting and How to Modify It

Understanding what grayscale is can help you make more informed decisions when troubleshooting your printer.

  1. What is Grayscale?: Grayscale is a setting that allows your printer to print images in shades of gray instead of color.
  2. How to Modify: To modify this setting, navigate to your printer settings and look for the grayscale option. Toggle it on or off based on your needs.

Validation Questions

  1. Have you checked the document settings to ensure it’s set to print in color?
  2. Did you go through the preliminary checks before diving into more technical solutions?
  3. Are you using the latest printer drivers and is your printer software up to date?


Inspecting the Printer

Key Takeaways:

  • Always start by inspecting the printer and checking ink levels.
  • Navigate to printer settings to check ink levels.
  • Replace or refill ink if levels are low.

Before you jump to conclusions about why your printer isn’t printing in color, it’s crucial to inspect the printer hardware. This involves checking the ink cartridge, ensuring it’s properly installed, and looking for any signs of damage or wear and tear.

Checking the ink levels

One of the most common reasons for a printer not printing in color is low or empty ink levels. Navigate to your printer settings on your computer, and look for an option that allows you to check ink levels. Make sure your color ink cartridges are sufficiently filled. If they’re low, you’ll need to replace them or refill the ink.

Replacing the Ink Cartridge if Necessary

Before you dive into software settings, make sure your ink cartridge isn’t empty. If it is, you’ll need to replace it. Here’s how:

  1. Open the Printer Cover: Lift the printer cover to access the ink cartridges.
  2. Locate the Cartridge: Find the color cartridge that needs replacement.
  3. Remove the Cartridge: Press down on the cartridge and pull it out.
  4. Insert New Cartridge: Unpack the new cartridge and insert it into the slot.
  5. Close the Cover: Close the printer cover and run a test print.

Utilizing Printer Assistant Tools

Printer assistant tools can be a lifesaver when troubleshooting. These software utilities can help you adjust settings and run diagnostics.

  1. Open Printer Assistant: Navigate to your printer’s software on your computer.
  2. Navigate to Settings: Go to the settings or utilities section.
  3. Run Diagnostics: Use the built-in tools to run a diagnostic test on your printer.

How to Use Printer Assistant Tools to Check Ink Levels

Knowing your ink levels can save you from unexpected printing interruptions. Here’s how to check them:

  1. Open Printer Assistant: As before, navigate to your printer’s software.
  2. Go to Ink Levels: Find the section that shows ink levels.
  3. Check Levels: Review the ink levels and replace cartridges if necessary.

Maintenance Steps

Key Takeaways:

  • Cleaning the print head is crucial for maintaining print quality.
  • Always keep your printer drivers updated.
  • Check the color settings before printing.
  • Ensure a stable connection between your printer and device.
  • Consider resetting your printer to factory settings.
  • Always consult your printer’s manual for specific instructions.

Cleaning the Print Head

Over time, the print head can accumulate dust and ink residue, affecting the quality of your prints. Cleaning the print head can resolve issues related to poor print quality, including the absence of color.

Steps to Clean the Print Head

  1. Open the Printer Settings: Go to ‘Control Panel’ > ‘Hardware and Sound’ > ‘Devices and Printers’.
  2. Access Printing Preferences: Right-click on your printer and select ‘Printing Preferences’.
  3. Navigate to Maintenance: Look for a ‘Maintenance’ or ‘Tool’ tab.
  4. Run the Cleaning Process: Select ‘Clean Print Head’ and follow the on-screen instructions.

Expert Tip: If you’ve tried cleaning the print head and still experience issues, consider replacing it. Print heads have a lifespan and may need to be replaced after extensive use.

Ensuring Proper Connection Between the Printer and Your Device

First things first, let’s make sure your printer is properly connected to your device. Whether you’re using a USB or Wi-Fi connection, ensure that all cables are securely plugged in, or your Wi-Fi is stable. If you’re still facing issues, try restarting both your computer and printer.

Expert Tip: Always use the cable that came with your printer for the best results.

Resetting the Printer

If the connection is solid but the problem persists, resetting your printer to its factory settings might be the next step. This will erase any settings that could be causing the issue. To do this, navigate to your printer’s settings menu and look for the ‘Reset’ option. Follow the on-screen instructions to complete the process.

Expert Tip: Make sure to back up any customized settings before performing a factory reset.

How to Reset the Printer to Default Factory Settings

If you’re not sure how to reset your printer to its factory settings, here’s a step-by-step guide:

  1. Locate the Settings Menu: On your printer’s display, navigate to the settings menu.
  2. Find the Reset Option: Scroll through the options until you find ‘Reset’ or ‘Factory Reset’.
  3. Confirm the Reset: You’ll likely be asked to confirm the reset. Do so, and your printer will restart.

Expert Tip: Some printers require a passcode for a factory reset. Check your manual if prompted.

Software and Driver Solutions

Key Takeaways:

  • Always keep your printer’s software and drivers updated.
  • Use the built-in Windows troubleshooter as a quick diagnostic tool.
  • Clean Boot is an advanced troubleshooting method for isolating software conflicts.
  • Always prepare your computer before entering a Clean Boot state.
  • Follow the step-by-step guide carefully to identify and resolve the issue.


  • According to a survey by Spiceworks, 62% of organizations experience printer issues monthly, making advanced troubleshooting methods like Clean Boot essential.

First things first, outdated or corrupted software and drivers are often the culprits behind printers not printing in color. Here’s how to update or reinstall them:

Updating or Reinstalling the Printer Software and Driver

  1. Go to the Control Panel: Navigate to Start > Control Panel > Hardware and Sound > Devices and Printers.
  2. Right-Click on Your Printer: Find your printer and right-click on it. Choose Printing Preferences.
  3. Update or Reinstall: Look for an option to update or reinstall the software and drivers. Follow the on-screen instructions.

Running the Printer Troubleshooter

If updating or reinstalling the software and drivers doesn’t work, running the built-in Windows printer troubleshooter might help. Here’s how:

  1. Search for Troubleshooter: Type “Troubleshoot” in the Windows search bar and select Troubleshoot settings.
  2. Run the Printer Troubleshooter: Scroll down and click on Printer, then click Run the troubleshooter.

Clean Boot Troubleshooting

Clean Boot is a diagnostic method that starts your computer with only the essential drivers and services. This allows you to isolate software conflicts that could be causing your printer issues. By eliminating these conflicts, you can pinpoint the problem and find a solution more efficiently.

Why Use Clean Boot for Printer Troubleshooting?

Clean Boot is particularly useful when you’ve tried basic troubleshooting steps without success. It’s a more advanced method that can resolve issues caused by software conflicts or corrupted files affecting your printer.

Understanding Clean Boot Troubleshooting

In a Clean Boot state, your computer starts with a minimal set of drivers and startup programs. This eliminates software conflicts that can manifest as a printer not printing, slow printing, or other issues.

How Does Clean Boot Work?

When you perform a Clean Boot, your computer is started with only essential services and drivers. This allows you to run diagnostic tests to identify which software or service is causing the issue. Once identified, you can then decide whether to remove or update the problematic software.

Step-by-step Guide to Troubleshoot in Clean Boot

Step 1: Prepare Your Computer

Before you start, make sure to save all your work and close any open applications. You’ll need to restart your computer, so it’s best to be prepared.

Step 2: Enter Clean Boot State

  1. Press Win + R to open the Run dialog box.
  2. Type msconfig and press Enter.
  3. In the System Configuration window, go to the Services tab.
  4. Check the box that says “Hide all Microsoft services.”
  5. Click “Disable all.”
  6. Go to the Startup tab and click “Open Task Manager.”
  7. Disable all startup items.
  8. Close Task Manager and click “OK” in the System Configuration window.
  9. Restart your computer.

Your computer will now be in a Clean Boot state.

Step 3: Identify the Problem

  1. Try to print a test page.
  2. If the printer works, one of the disabled programs was causing the issue.
  3. Enable half of the disabled services and restart.
  4. Repeat the process until you identify the problematic service or application.

Step 4: Resolve the Issue

Once you’ve identified the problematic software, you can either update it or uninstall it to resolve your printer issue.

Step 5: Return to Normal Boot

To return your computer to a normal boot state, simply reverse the changes you made in the System Configuration window and restart your computer.

Reinstallation Process

Key Takeaways:

  • Uninstalling and reinstalling the printer software can resolve many issues, including the printer not printing in color.
  • Always download the latest software from the printer manufacturer’s official website.
  • Reinstallation is especially crucial if you’ve experienced power outages or computer viruses.

Uninstalling and Reinstalling the Software

The first step in resolving printer issues is to uninstall and then reinstall the printer software. This process is crucial because outdated or corrupted software can often be the culprit behind printing problems.

Steps to Uninstall and Reinstall

  1. Go to Control Panel: Navigate to the Control Panel on your Windows 10 system.
  2. Programs and Features: Click on ‘Programs and Features’ and find your printer software in the list.
  3. Uninstall: Right-click on the printer software and choose ‘Uninstall.’
  4. Download Latest Software: Visit the printer manufacturer’s website to download the latest software. For instance, if you have an HP printer, you can go to HP’s official website for the latest software.
  5. Install: Run the downloaded software and follow the on-screen instructions to reinstall your printer software.

Expert Tip: If you’ve experienced power outages, computer viruses, or other issues, your printer driver could be damaged, making reinstallation necessary.

Ensuring high-resolution images for satisfactory printouts

If you’re printing images, ensure they are of high resolution. This will give you quality printouts. Navigate to your printer settings and select the highest resolution available.

Video Tutorial

If you’re more of a visual learner, there are video tutorials available that guide you through the troubleshooting process step-by-step YouTube Tutorial .

Additional Resources

Source: Microsoft Support – How to download and install the latest printer drivers


Key Takeaways:

  • Always start by identifying the issue.
  • Always start with basic troubleshooting steps.
  • Solutions may vary based on your operating system and printer model.
  • Don’t overlook the importance of keeping your printer drivers up-to-date.
  • Community engagement can provide real-world solutions that may not be covered in standard troubleshooting guides.

Recap of the Troubleshooting Steps

If your printer isn’t printing in color on Windows 10, you’re not alone. This issue can be frustrating, especially when you need to print important documents. The good news is that there are several troubleshooting steps you can take to resolve this issue. Here’s a quick recap:

  1. Perform Basic Troubleshooting: Check if the document is set to print in color and enable the color printing feature on your printer. Make sure the ink levels are sufficient and replace the cartridge if necessary. Clean the print head and ensure the printer is correctly connected to your device.
  2. Try a Different Device: If the issue persists, try printing from another device to rule out any PC-specific problems.
  3. Update Your Printer Driver: Outdated or corrupt drivers can cause printing issues. Update your printer driver manually or use a tool like Driver Easy to do it automatically.
  4. Repair System Files: If all else fails, you may need to repair system files that could be causing the issue. Tools like Fortect can help diagnose and fix corrupted system files related to printing.

Source: Driver Easy

Share your experiences and solutions in the comments

Your experience matters. If you’ve successfully resolved the printer issue, or if you have additional tips and tricks that weren’t covered in this article, please share them in the comments section below. Your insights could help others who are facing the same problem.

Your feedback is invaluable to us. Please take a moment to leave a review or rating so we can continue to improve our service.

Affiliate Disclosure: As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases Learn More

Tony Hoffman

Tony Hoffman is a tech expert with over 10 years of experience in the printer and scanner industries. He has developed a keen eye for the latest innovations and trends in printing technology making him a go-to resource for consumers and professionals alike. His engaging writing style and ability to break down complex topics make his articles and reviews accessible and informative for a wide range of readers. Outside of his work as a tech writer Tony enjoys tinkering with gadgets and exploring the outdoors.View Author posts

Share this post on social