Printer Won’t Print Black & White – 7 Solutions 

So, the story goes something like this: you need to print a document in black and white. But your printer won’t print black white. There can be countless reasons for it. It could be the lack of ink, a software glitch, or a hardware issue. How would you know what to check for?

That’s where this guide comes to play! 

The article is here to help you save time and provide the correct solutions. So, continue reading to figure out how to resolve your printing issue within minutes!

How Do I Get My Printer To Print With Black Ink Again?

  1. Get Done With The Basic Troubleshooting
  2. Try Force Print In Greyscale For Hp/Canon/Epson Printers
  3. Examine Your Printer’s Ink Cartridge/ Replace Empty Cartridges
  4. Detecting Printhead Issues
  5. Automatic Printhead Cleaning Mode
  6. Try Manual Cleaning Of The Printhead
  7.  Adjust The Printhead Alignment

1. Get Done With The Basic Troubleshooting 

Epson printer

Before we dive deeper into the solutions, let’s get some basic troubleshooting done. Often, the issue isn’t so massive that it would need too much time. So, try these before moving to other solutions: 

  • To troubleshoot your black ink issue with the printer, first, turn off your printer. Then, unplug it from the energy source. Next, disconnect all the USB cables from the printer.
  • In two minutes, plug the printer into a power source. Please turn on the printer after reconnecting it.
  • Find the “Print Test Page” button or “Quality Diagnostic Report” on your display screen. You can use the help of your printer user guide with step-by-step instructions to print the test page.
the print test page option
  • Check the ink levels and volume in your printer’s black ink cartridge. If your cartridges don’t display ink levels, you’ll need to try another method.

2. Try Force Print In Greyscale For Hp/Canon/Epson Printers

Follow these steps for force printing in greyscale for printers like HP, Canon, and Epson. 

  • First, close all the applications running for printing. 
  • Now, to launch Run, press Windows Key + R.
  • To open the Control Panel, type control and click OK.
typing control in run panel to launch it
  • Select “Hardware and Sound” from the categories. You can also select the view devices and printer below it to save one step. 
Hardware and sound in control panel
  • Select the printer you want to set up with a right-click.
choosing the printer
  • Choose the “Printer Preferences” option.
choosing printer preferences option
  • Next, go to the Paper/Quality tab.
Paper / Quality tab for HP Printer
  • Click the “Print in Grayscale” option.
  • Choose High-quality in the drop-down menu next to the print in grayscale option.
choosing the greyscale quality options
  • To save the changes, click OK and then Apply.

Close the window for “Devices and Printers.” Try printing the file with any program that has a print feature open. Click “OK” for any message asking whether you want to print in black and white.

3. Examine Your Printer’s Ink Cartridge/ Replace Empty Cartridges

Checking the estimate ink levels in a printer

One of the most common reasons for printers not printing black and white is the low ink in your ink cartridge. If that is the case, replace them with fresh ink cartridges. But remember these points: 

  • Always make sure that your ink cartridge’s position is correct. Proper installation of ink cartridges in their appropriate slots is crucial. 
  • There is a good possibility of clogged cartridge vents. If this is the case, clean the vents with the help of a pin. Use the pin gently so as not to damage the cartridge.
  • Experiment with a different cartridge to test your printer’s ability to recognize. Try printing with the old cartridges to see if the printer can produce any results.

To summarize, all you need to do is to check if the issue is with the cartridge or printhead. If the printer produces a faint result with the old cartridge, the problem is not with the printhead.

Thus, your full ink cartridge may be the one to blame. Test the new cartridge with another printer or replace it. If your printer still doesn’t print in black-and-white ink, you need to follow the steps mentioned below.

4. Detecting Printhead Issues

detecting printhead issues

The printhead in a printer is the part that helps the ink transfer on the page. It achieves this by discharging tiny ink droplets through many printer nozzles. Clogging of any of these nozzles may lead to faded and streaky printing.

Cleaning the printhead can sometimes be the best solution. We have listed some things you can do to ensure that your printhead is not the issue. 

5. Automatic Printhead Cleaning Mode 

This feature is the simplest and easiest way to troubleshoot any clogging. Almost all modern printers have an automatic printhead cleaning feature. Follow the steps listed below for automatic printhead cleaning:

using the automatic print cleaning on Epson printer
  • You can find it in the maintenance menu on the printer display screen. 
  • Do a quick cleanup to unclog the printhead. 
  • This process does use a little ink, so there might be some ink depletion. 
  • Run the automatic print cleaning again if it doesn’t work the first time. 
  • But you cannot try this feature more than three times. 
  • You are only permitted to use the automatic cleaning feature several times.

Automatic printhead cleaning is available in all HP, Canon, and Epson printers.

6. Try Manual Cleaning Of The Printhead

paper towel technique

Some printers use ink cartridges with integrated printheads, like the HP 67. You can attempt to clean these cartridges using a “paper towel” technique. 

A paper towel technique requires you to use the printhead. Lay down the paper towel and tap the printhead’s printing side firmly on the paper towel. Then repeat the process.

This can help you fix clogged printheads.

7. Adjust The Printhead Alignment

printhead alignment option

The paper feed and printhead within the printer can need a little adjusting. This can help a reluctant printer start printing again.

  • Select Setup > Tools from the printer’s LCD panel for HP printers.
  • Select the menu’s Gear icon> Maintenance > Printhead Alignment for Canon printers.
  • Choose Set Up> Maintenance > Head Alignment for Epson printers from the menu.

In some advanced printers, there’s a built-in option. You will find it in the printing preferences settings (from the second solution). From there, find the Management option and check if you have the feature. Not every printer will have it. 

In the case of other printer brands, check your printer user guide. If you don’t have your printer’s manual with you, you can check it online at the manufacturer’s website here:

  • Download the HP Printer Manual here.
  • Download the Canon Printer Manual here.
  • Download the Canon Printer Manual here.

Advance Troubleshooting Trick If Still, The Printer Won’t Print Black White

advanced troubleshooting for printer

Run A Test With “Glossy Photo Paper” As Your Paper Printing Preferences 

Glossy printing paper setting

If nothing works, try changing your paper setting to “glossy photo paper.”. This can make the printer start printing again. This trick functions on the following fundamentals:

  • This is only possible if you have a printer with two black cartridges.
  • The printer selects the ink type based on your paper choice in the print settings menu.
  • The printer releases dye-based ink in the case of plain matte paper. It uses pigment ink for glossy photo paper. 

Thus, changing the paper-type printer setting can trigger the cartridge to work again.

Troubleshooting Software And Printer Driver Problems

If you have tried all the above-suggested fixes, the issue may be with the software. Or it can also be due to the printer driver problem. One way to solve this is by adjusting the paper settings. You need to run the printer troubleshooter if the printer doesn’t print black and white ink. It will help in diagnosing the issue. 

Follow the following steps for launching a printer troubleshooter:

  • Go to your search bar on Windows 10 and search for “Printer.
Find and fix problem with printing
  • Now, select the “find and fix problems with printing” option.
  • Upon selecting the said option, you will see the printer troubleshooter page.
the printer troubleshooter
  • Follow the prompts advised and follow the steps outlined to fix the issue. This feature detects the printing issues in the printing and attempts to cure them.
  • As another choice, you can also consider reconfiguring your printer. Try uninstalling and reinstalling your printer driver.
Windows 10 driver manager

Search for the downloadable version on your printer’s brand website for reinstalling. You could reinstall your drivers even if you didn’t upgrade your operating system.


To sum up, printers not printing black and white may be due to cartridge or printhead problems. If the printer won’t print black even after all the mentioned instructions, it’s time for a new printer. 

If you are still unsure, another efficient solution can be contacting a printer service expert. An expert can solve or give insights into the problem and what caused it.

The expert can tell you the next steps in the case. The printer is not immediately fixable. You might need to source the damaged part for replacement or buy a new printer if the repair cost is too much.

Also, if your printer stops printing black, it will no longer be useful to anyone. A printer without black ink printing is like a sea without water!

We hope that you were able to fix your printing issue using our comprehensive guide with ease. If not, it is time for you to invest in a brand-new printer. 

Do Any of the Solutions for Windows Update Not Working Also Apply to Printer Issues?

Having trouble with your printer not working? It’s possible that some of the solutions to fix windows update issues now could also apply to printer issues. Check for driver updates, run troubleshooting tools, and ensure your printer is connected and powered on. If all else fails, contacting customer support may be necessary.


Can Aftermarket Ink Cartridges Lead To Issues With Print Heads And Print Quality?

No, they do not. Using aftermarket or original ink cartridges doesn’t make a difference. Regardless of the original cartridge, it is possible to receive a faulty product. A faulty cartridge causes degraded print quality and other issues. 

How Can I Hard Reset My Printer? 

If you are facing issues with printing, hard resetting your printer may be the simplest way to fix it. You must first turn off, unplug the system, and leave it like that for two minutes.
After two minutes, connect your plug to the power switch and switch on the printer. Make sure your printer is directly connected to a wall power outlet. Now check if the issue you were facing still occurs.

Why Does My Printer Only Print In Color And Not In Black Ink?

Here are a few primary reasons for your printer not printing black ink. Your printer may have run out of black ink. To resolve this, replace the ink cartridge for a smooth printing experience. Another reason can be the damaged printhead.
To resolve this, you can perform maintenance on your printer. This can also be due to an expired version of the printer driver. So, reinstalling it will fix the printing problem. 

How To Configure A Color Printer Default To Black & White On MacOS?

Click on the “File” option and then “Print” to launch the menu for printing. Choose the “Show details” option. You can click on the drop-down menu and select the “Colour/Quality” option. Find the black and white in greyscale and select it as your choice. Once done, you can save your settings.
Click on “Presets” and select the “Save Current Setting as Preset” option in the dropdown. Now click “OK” to complete the task.