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Home » Printers » How to Print With a Missing Color? Printing When a Color Cartridge is Empty Guide

How to Print With a Missing Color? Printing When a Color Cartridge is Empty Guide

How to Print With Empty Colour Cartridge

Having a missing color in your printer can stop you from finishing a whole job or cause a lot of delays.

We’re going to assume that for whatever reason, you didn’t purchase a printer with separate ink or toner cartridges and that you’re stuck having to change all the color cartridges when only one of them runs out.

A fact worth mentioning a lot of printers on the market is that they prevent you from using the black cartridge if the color cartridge runs out.

Sadly, this is a method used by many manufacturers to make sure that you’re forced to replace the color cartridges on a regular basis so that they can maximize their profits.

Read more: OEM vs. Compatible vs. Remanufactured Ink Cartridges: Which is Better?

You can, however, maneuver your way around this trick by managing your printing settings.

How to Print With an empty Ink Cartridge

Clean the Contacts

The first thing you should do –which seems like a regular reflex- is to restart the printer.

When your printer is back on, open it, remove the cartridges, and wipe the contacts with a cloth that’s dry, clean, and doesn’t have lint on it so it doesn’t leave scratches.

After you’re done with this step, put the cartridges back in their place, turn off your printer, unplug it from the power outlet, and remove all the cables that connect it to any other devices.

Give it a minute or two before you plug everything back in and restart your printer.

Print one page to check whether your printer started working again or not.

If this didn’t work, you’ll have to step up your game.

Print in Black

Open the “Control Panel” and look for the section called “Printers and Faxes”. Some printer will have “Printers” only.

After that, right click on your default printer. When the drop-down menu appears, select the “Printing Preferences” option.

A new window full of options should appear. These numerous options allow you to adjust a lot of settings in your printer, and that's the point.

Search for the tab or the option that's related to the color printing process. Sometimes, it can be found in the "Advanced" tab.

Once you find it, choose “Print in Grayscale” or “Print in Black Ink” or any variation of this option.

Go back to your document and give printing another try to see if this method did work.

If you’re still unable to print, you can start using some of these slyer methods.

Reset to Factory Default Settings

This one is a pretty extreme measure. And the process of resetting itself can vary from one printer brand to another. Be it HP, Canon, Brother, or Epson, each one would have its own method.

So what you should do is research the printer-specific method of how to restore factory default printer settings. You can give the user manual a look to find this out as well.

Once you've made this change, return to your document and change the printer settings to "Print as Grayscale".

Reset the Cartridge’s Memory

This trick requires a bit of confidence on your end. Most cartridges would be equipped with a small hole above the circuit board –the memory reset button.

And as you can guess, pressing it with a paper clip or pen tip might bring your printer to work.

Trick the Sensor

Moreover, a lot of printers have optical sensors for printing. Find where your model’s optical sensor is and use electrical tape to cover it. This has proved to be successful for many users.


Why is my printer not printing in color?

There could possibly be an issue with the printer, the nozzles could be blocked, or it could simply be out of color ink.

Why are the colors of my printer not accurate?

If this problem happens:

  • Make sure the Black/Grayscale is not selected in the printer software.
  • Then check the nozzles to see if they need cleaning.
  • Replace your cartridges if they’re low in ink or toner.
  • Use a color management system to get the colors on your print to be as close as possible to the ones on your screen.
  • Use genuine ink or toner if you want top-notch results.

How to calibrate the screen for printing?

An important part of calibration is to set your screen’s contrast and brightness at suitable levels.

Search for your "Color Calibration" in the start menu and from the advanced tab, choose the "Display Calibration" setting and click the "Calibrate Display" button.

Make sure the colors on your screen aren’t too bright as the ones printed on your pages might look darker (which is the true version).

Printing With Only One Ink Cartridge: Final Words

None of these methods is guaranteed to make your printer do its job with a missing color.

Especially that some newer models wouldn't print at all if one of the cartridges is empty to prevent any damage from happening to one of the cartridges.

Furthermore, some printers don’t have an option that allows you to print using only the black ink or toner cartridge.

However, it’s always worth giving a shot if you’re in a hurry to turn in an important paper.

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