My Printer's Prints Are Blurry

By Bridget Conn

If you are having consistent problems with blurry images or text with your printer, the issue could have a variety of sources. The problem could rest with the size of the image you are trying to print. If text is printing blurry, the ink cartridges may be malfunctioning. Incorrect paper choices could be the source of the problem as well. Consider these factors if your printer won't print as sharply as you need.

Resolution

The resolution of your image may be too low. Resolution is the amount of information in a digital image, commonly measured as pixels per inch. If you are trying to print an image you have found on the Web, most of these images have a ppi of 72 to 100. The resulting printed image may look pixilated or blurry. Images should have a resolution of at least 150 ppi to print with clarity.

Enlarging Small Images

Your printer may have an option that asks whether you want to take a given image file on your computer and print it at a set size such as 8x10 inches. If the original image file only measures 3x4 inches, and worse, has a low resolution also, the printer invents image information where it simply doesn't exist. This resulting print is blurry. Print the photo at its original size rather than enlarge it to reduce blur.

Quality Settings

Your printer likely has a number of quality settings, ranging from "Draft" to "Best Quality." Use the highest quality setting possible for your make and model of printer. You should only use the lowest quality setting such as "Draft" as a means to see where the image prints on the physical page rather than rely on it for a quality print.

Ink Nozzles/Alignment

If the resolution, size and settings are all ideal, you may have a problem with the nozzles on your ink cartridges or with the printer head alignment. Sometimes the nozzles that discharge ink get clogged, and if one cartridge is not printing adequately, the resulting image could be blurry. Over time or heavy use, the printer heads may come out of alignment as well. Your printer has a built-in utility program that guides you through correcting each of these issues by printing out test pages to confirm the problem. After a few clicks of the mouse, your printer can resolve these issues.

Paper Issues

You may be using the incorrect type of paper for your printer, or may have loaded it on the wrong side. Use inkjet paper only for inkjet printers, and laser paper for laser printers that use toner instead of ink. Also, if you are using a glossy paper and have loaded it on the wrong side, the paper cannot properly absorb the ink, and the print can easily blur in this case

Printer Drivers/Hardware

You may finally need to reload your printer's drivers if the problem persists. Drivers are software that allows your printer to communicate with your computer. When you purchase a printer, you install a CD that contains these drivers. However, you may need newer drivers. Check the website for the make and model of your printer to see if updated drivers are available, download them and follow the instructions for installation. If the drivers are updated, you may have a hardware problem that requires a visit to a printer repair shop.