How to align printer cartridges

Written by lita mcleary
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How to align printer cartridges
Align your printer for better printing output. (The printer image by vin5 from

For most printers, the printer cartridge is automatically aligned when a new one is installed in the printer. Printer cartridge alignment can be useful when the printer starts printing garbled text or when the printouts have vertical, wavy lines. Instructions to align the printer cartridge may vary depending on the brand of printer you are using.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Printing paper

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  1. 1

    Turn on the printer. Load paper into the paper tray.

  2. 2

    Click "Start," "Control Panel" and "Printers and Faxes" if you have Windows XP installed. If you have Windows 7 or Vista installed, click "Start," "Devices and Printers" (Windows 7) or "Hardware and Sound" and then "Printers" (Windows Vista). Right-click the name of the printer, then click "Printing Preferences."

  3. 3

    Look for "Printer Alignment" or "Align the printer" under "Utility," "Printer Services" or something similar. The options may differ according to the brand of printer you are using. Follow the on-screen instructions and wait for the printer to align the printer and print a test page.

Tips and warnings

  • Other printer utility features include "print head cleaning" and "nozzle check." It is best to perform these utility procedures at least once a week or regularly, depending on how often you use the printer.
  • If you are experiencing problems with your printer, consult the printer manual for troubleshooting tips or visit the manufacturer's website for support.
  • If aligning the printer does not change the printer output, consider replacing the printer cartridge. Remember not to use refilled or remanufactured ink cartridges, as they may cause problems with the printer output or cause more damage to the printer.

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