Windows 7 : Managing Print Jobs (part 2) - Solving Common Printer Problems,Printing Offline

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3. Solving Common Printer Problems

If you experience a problem printing a document, the problem could well be something to do with the printer. Before you assume the worst and delve into any major troubleshooting, check for some of the more common problems that cause such errors, as listed next:

  • Is the printer turned on and set online?

  • Are both ends of the printer cable plugged in securely?

  • Is there paper in the printer, and is it inserted properly?

  • Is there a paper jam in the printer?

  • Does the printer still have ink or toner?

More often than not, you'll find that the printer problem is something as simple as the printer being out of paper or ink.

If there seem to be no issues with the printer itself, you can do some troubleshooting in Windows. Open the Devices and Printers applet, right-click the printer, and choose Troubleshoot as shown in Figure 5. Windows 7 then runs through several troubleshooting steps to attempt to identify and fix the problem.

Figure 5. Troubleshoot a printer from Devices and Printers.

In some situations, Windows 7 will be able to identify the problem and fix it for you. In others, it will suggest a fix as shown in Figure 6.

4. Printing Offline

Printing offline is a means of going through the process of creating the spool file for the printer without actually printing the document. There are times when this is useful, such as when you're working on a notebook computer with no printer attached, but intend to print later when you can attach the computer to a printer or network.

Figure 6. Suggested troubleshooting action.

To make this work, open the printer's queue and choose Use Printer Offline from the Printer menu, as shown in Figure 7. The printer's icon will dim and show the word offline. You can disconnect the printer from the computer.

Figure 7. Use Printer Offline.

You can print any document while the printer is offline. Of course, the document won't actually print because the printer isn't connected to the computer. When you get back to the printer, connect the printer to the computer again. Open the Printers folder, right-click the printer's icon, and choose Use Printer Online. Any documents you "printed" while disconnected from the printer will start printing.

XPS documents are a great way to share electronic printouts with people who don't have the same program you used to create the document.

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