How to Prevent Paper Jams in Printers

PC LOAD LETTER is perhaps the single most annoying error message from modern technology. It’s been the cause of much stress in most workplaces. If you’ve found yourself promising to throw the printer off the 18th floor window the next time there’s a paper jam or printer malfunction, then you’re not alone. But before the printer bears the brunt of your ire, here are some precautions you can take.

Loosen the sheets
Often, sheets tend to be stuck to each other, so while loading paper ensure you fold the stack with the objective of loosening the sheets. The quickest way to do this is to roll the stack diagonally twice in opposite directions. You may have seen your local photocopier do it each time he loads the photocopy machine.

Store in a cool, dry place
While printer sheets are in storage, make sure the packet is protected from humidity. We recommend storing paper in a ziplock bag with a small pack of silica gel.

Do not overload sheets
If your printer has a paper tray, don’t fill the tray to capacity. If you’re encountering frequent paper jams, reduce the amount of paper you place in the tray each time it’s filled.

Slider and tray alignment is important
Make sure the tray feeding the paper into the printer is aligned properly and / or the slider used to hold the paper in place in the tray is snug with the paper. Many printers have sliders that allow different types and sizes of paper to be fed into the printer. If the slider is not properly positioned it can cause paper jams.

Which paper?
Use standard office paper — folded paper, paper with labels, and specialty paper such as hard bound paper can often cause paper jams. Your printer documentation will list the types of paper compatible with your printer.

Don’t mix-n-match
Do not mix the types of paper you’re feeding into the printer at one time. If you need to change the type or size of paper, remove any other paper currently in the printer before inserting the new paper.

Look under the hood
Examine the printer for any previous stuck paper in the printer. Previous paper jams, torn paper, printing labels or other foreign objects in the printer can cause reoccurring printer jams.

Keep the Printer Clean
Dust, ink or toner buildup inside the printer can lead to jams, and even lessen the print quality. Most printers have a built-in cleaning system. The printer may run several pages through the printer during the cleaning process. Your printer’s user guide may also advise you to dust the outer parts of the printer, including the paper trays. But remember to use only recommended cleaning agents.

Get to know your printer
As you use your printer, you may notice that it often jams when printing on certain types of paper, or may be loading in a certain way works better. These quirks can be annoying, but you can often save time (and effort) by keeping these in mind.

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