When I Try to Print a Word Document, My HP Printer Says Offline

By Robert Schrader

In order to successfully print a Microsoft Word document to a Hewlett Packard printer, the printer must not only be powered on, but also be online and not idle. If you receive an error message saying that the HP printer is offline, restore the printer to online status so that you can print the document.

Meaning of "Offline" Status

When Windows informs you that the printer is "Offline," it means that the printer is unable to communicate with the computer and receive jobs to print. Until you set the printer back to "Online" status, jobs you send to it line up in a queue. As a result, there is little use in repeatedly attempting to print a job from Microsoft Word if you know the printer is offline.

Printer Buttons and Idle Status

Alternatively, failure of a Microsoft Word document to print may indicate that the printer is "Idle," rather than offline. To see whether or not this is the case, press the button above or below -- depending on the model you use -- the "Power" button on the HP printer to see if the job begins printing. If it does, you know the printer was "Idle" rather than "Offline."

Windows Printer and Faxes Menu

If the printer is indeed offline, you may set it back to online status via the Windows "Printers and Faxes" menu, which you access via the Windows "Start" menu. After you access the menu, right-click on the name of the HP printer, then untick the box next to the "Use Printer Offline" option to prevent the printer from going offline.

Updating Device Drivers

If the printer goes offline repeatedly, even after you untick the option that should prevent it from doing so, you may need to update device drivers. To do so, navigate to the Hewlett Packard website within your Web browser, then locate the page dedicated to the printer you use. Download the free drivers onto your computer. Driver updates for the software your printer uses to function will help prevent future errors from occurring.