HP Printer Not Printing Color [How to Fix]

To fix the HP printer not printing color problem, do the solutions provided in this article.

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Why is my HP Printer Not Printing Color? [Answered]

Your HP printer is not printing color due to the following reasons:

i. The cartridge is low or empty

ii. The color printing isn’t enabled

iii. Issues with the printhead

HP Printer Not Printing Color [Solutions]

Try the solutions below to fix the HP printer not printing color problem:

1. Reinstall your HP Printer Driver

To reinstall your HP printer, click this link: HP Printer Errors and Solutions – Reinstall your Printer Drivers, and then follow the instructions under the “Reinstall your Printer Drivers” section.

If reinstalling your HP printer driver doesn’t resolve the HP printer not printing color problem, try the next solution.

2. Use Only Genuine HP Cartridges

If your HP printer is not printing colors correctly, it could be that you used non-genuine non-HP cartridges. Since those kinds of cartridges are not backed by HP to function on their products, you are bound to experience all kinds of issues.

If you aren’t sure of the genuineness of the cartridge you purchased, we recommend that you visit http://www.hp.com/go/anticounterfeit to find out if the cartridge is genuine. Ensure that you purchase your cartridges from the HP Store. Alternatively, you can buy from respectable stores such as Amazon.

If you have confirmed that the cartridge is genuine but your HP printer is still not printing color, move to the solution below.

3. Ensure the Right Paper is used

Follow the guidelines below to ensure that you are using the right paper type for the current job.

i. Load your paper into your printer’s input tray with the print side facing down: You can identify the print side easily as it is usually the smoother side whereas the non-print side might have the paper’s manufacturer logo or name on it.

ii. Avoid using curled or wrinkled paper; ensure that the paper you use is clean and free of wrinkle.

iii. Confirm that you are using the paper type that is suitable for the current project.

  • If you are printing normal text documents, the best paper type to use is normal plain paper. The best standard paper for HP printers and ink is one that has ColorLok technology.
  • If you are printing dense documents such as photos or high contrast graphics, the best paper to use is HP Advanced Photo Paper.

iv. Always keep your photo paper in the original packaging it came with in a plastic bag that can be resealed. The paper should be stored in a cool but dry place and placed on an even surface when not in use. When you want to print, ensure that you load a maximum of 20 photo paper sheets per time. Once you are done printing, return the remaining paper back into storage.

v. Use another paper if the issue continues.

After doing all the above and the HP printer not printing color problem persists, do the next solution.

We recommend that you read: HP Printer Not Printing [Issues & Solutions]. In that linked article, we provide solutions to other HP printer not printing issues not covered here.

4. Check your Print Settings

If your HP printer is not printing color, it could be that the print settings are wrong.

How to Check Print Settings on Windows

To check print settings on Windows if your HP printer is not printing color on Windows 10 or any other Windows operating system, do the following steps:

Step 1: Open the file you want to print.

Step 2: Click on “File”.

Step 3: Click on “Print”. This action will cause your computer’s Print window to open.

Step 4: Click on the button that opens the dialog box for “Properties”.

The button label could be “Properties”, “Preferences”, “Options”, “Printer”, or “Printer Setup” dependent on the program in use.

Step 5: Make the following choices depending on the job you are printing:

  • Paper Type: For instance, if you are using photo paper to print, ensure that you choose the right paper type from the options available.
  • Print Quality: A low print quality setting could be one of the reasons why your HP printer is not printing color. Therefore, we recommend that you increase the print quality. But before you do this, bear in mind that when you increase the print quality, the print speed will reduce. The print quality options that you can choose from are “Draft”, “Normal”, and “Best” modes.
  • Paper Size: Ensure that you choose the correct paper size that is the same as that of the loaded paper.
  • Black and White (Grayscale): Some people choose the grayscale option and wonder why their HP printer is not printing color. Choosing the grayscale option is commanding your printer to only print in black and white. Therefore, you must confirm that you didn’t choose this option mistakenly. If you did, unselect the option.

Step 6: After changing and confirming the settings above, click on “OK”. Once you do that, the settings will be applied.

Step 7: Click on “Print” to print the job.

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How to Check Print Setting on Mac

To check print settings on Windows if your HP printer is not printing color on Mac, do the following steps:

Step 1: Open the file you want to print.

Step 2: Click on “File”.

Step 3: Click on “Print”.

Step 4: Choose the menu for “Media & Quality” or “Paper Type/Quality”.

Step 5: Make the following choices depending on the job you are printing:

  • Paper Type: Choose an option that matches the paper that you loaded into your printer.
  • Quality: You can increase your printer’s print quality to see if that fixes the issue.

Step 6: If you want the settings you just made to be used for future jobs, go to the menu for “Presets” and choose “Save”.

Step 7: Type a new preset name.

If the above doesn’t fix the HP printer not printing color, move to the next solution.

5. Check your Printer’s Estimated Ink Levels

To check your HP printer’s estimated ink levels, click HP Printer Black Ink – How to Check HP Printer Estimated Ink Levels under the “How to Check HP Printer Estimated Ink Levels” section.

After checking the ink level, do solution 6 if the ink is empty or low.

If your HP printer is not printing but has ink, jump to solution 7.

6. Replace Empty or Low Ink Cartridges

Your HP printer might be not printing color due to a low ink cartridge or empty cartridge. Therefore, after doing the solution above, replace any cartridge that is empty or low.

How to Replace Ink Cartridges

To replace empty or low ink cartridges, do the steps below:

Step 1: Turn on your HP printer.

Step 2: Ensure that you load your printer’s paper tray with regular white paper.

Step 3: Raise your printer’s cartridge access door. Once the door is open, the carriage within the printer will slide to the middle.

Step 4: Wait for the carriage to stop moving before you continue.

Step 5: To free the empty or low cartridge, raise the lid on the cartridge slot, and then push it back gently until it doesn’t go any further.

Step 6: Pull the cartridge up to remove it.

Step 7: Unpack the new replacement cartridge. Ensure that the only port you touch is the plastic sides.

Step 8: Take away the protective plastic tape.

Caution: Ensure that you don’t touch the ink nozzles or copper contacts on the cartridge as doing so might lead to poor electrical connections, ink failures, and clogs. Also, you should not replace the protective plastic tape after it has been removed.

Step 9: Hold the new cartridge carefully and insert it into the right cartridge slot. Ensure that the nozzle is facing the printer.

Step 10: Shut the cartridge slot lid to fasten the cartridge into its place.

Step 11: If there are other empty or low cartridges, repeat the above steps for each of the affected cartridges.

Step 12: Close your printer’s cartridge access door. Once a new cartridge is installed, your printer will print an alignment page automatically.

Step 13: Wait until the alignment page is ejected completely from your printer before you continue.

Step 14: Raise your printer’s scanner lid.

Step 15: Put the alignment page on your printer’s scanner glass. Ensure that the print side faces down and that you follow the scanner’s engraved guides on how to position the paper.

Step 16: Close your printer’s scanner lid.

Step 17: Touch “OK”. This action will cause your printer to align the newly installed color cartridge.

If doing the above solution fixes the HP printer not printing color problem, then you don’t need to troubleshoot further.

If your HP printer is not printing with new ink cartridge, do the next troubleshooting solution.

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7. Clean the Cartridges

If your HP printer is not even though it has ink, then it could be that there is a clog in the cartridge that is preventing ink from flowing. In such a case, the only thing to do is to clean the cartridge.

To ensure that you clean the cartridge properly, we will share several links below. We recommend that you follow the instructions in each link.

i. Clean Your Printer’s Printhead via an Automated Tool

ii. How to Clean the Metal contacts of an HP Ink Cartridge

iii. How to Clean HP Printer Cartridge via Control Panel

iv. How to Run HP Printer Clean Print Cartridge Utility

v. How to Clean the Parts around your Cartridge Nozzles

vi. How to Unclog HP Printer Black Ink Cartridge

If the instructions in the links above fail to fix the HP printer not printing color issue, try the next solution

8. Change the Defective Cartridge

If cleaning the cartridge doesn’t work using all the instructions shared in solution 7, then it means you have to change the defective cartridge.

In cases like this, your HP printer does not print and an error message indicates a faulty ink cartridge on the control panel.

We recommend that you buy genuine HP ink cartridges from the HP Store or reputable retailers.   

9. Service your HP Printer

If your HP printer does not print in color after changing the cartridge, then it means the problem is with the printer, not the cartridge. Hence, you need to service your HP printer.

To service your HP printer, go to http://www.hp.com/go/contacthp and then fix a repair date for your product.

Do note that you will be required to pay a repair fee if your printer is no longer under warranty.

HP Printer will not Print Without Color Cartridge [Reasons & Solutions]

If your HP printer will not print without a color cartridge, it could be that your printer model isn’t designed to print without the color cartridge. The type of cartridge that your HP printer uses determines if it can print without the color cartridge.

We recommend that you read on to find out whether your printer’s cartridge allows you to print without a cartridge.

935, 934, 902-920, 862, 655, 564, 364, 178 Cartridges

For the above cartridges, you can print without the color cartridge. However, HP recommends that you replace the empty cartridge as soon as you can. This is necessary to prevent damage to the printhead.

962-969, 951-959, 950, 933, 932 Cartridges

If the color cartridge is empty, your HP printer won’t print and you can bypass this. Therefore, you need to replace the cartridge to resume printing.

901, 305, 304, 92-98, 75, 74, 65/304, 64/303, 63/302, 61/301, 56-67, 28, 27, 22, 21 Cartridges

These cartridges allow you to print without one cartridge when it gets empty. To print without the color cartridge, take out the cartridge from your printer. Your HP printer will display this message: “single-cartridge mode”. When you see this message, choose “OK”.

The following solutions should work on the following HP printer models if your HP printer is not printing color: HP 3830, HP 4520, HP 4650, HP 8710, HP 8600, and HP 8020 printer.