Bring a Little Color to My Life
March 20, 2009 9:19 AM   Subscribe

My HP Color LaserJet 5550dn has decided that when printing on 11x17 paper it will only print in black & white. How do I make it see that I really do want a colorful 11x17 print out?

The document I'm trying to print is out of MS Publisher 2007. Every setting I can find in the printer options before I actually press "Print" indicates it will be printing in color. I tried printing to a PDF first and the PDF was in color but sending the PDF to the printer gets a black & white print out.

I tried printing the same pdf scaled down to 8.5x11 and it comes out in color so it really just seems to not like color printing on big paper.

Maybe it just doesn't print in color on large sheet? That seems ridiculous though right? We bought this printer with the express purpose of printing on 11x17 (although it took about a year for us to actually get around to doing it) so I'm really hoping that isn't the case.
posted by magnetsphere to Computers & Internet (4 answers total)
It might be worth downloading the latest driver and doing a quick re install.

As if you have checked all the other settings I really cant think what it could be.
posted by moochoo at 12:00 PM on March 20, 2009

Do you have access to the configuration menu on the printer itself. I found this setting on our 5550.

System Setup > Restrict Color Use
posted by lyam at 12:36 PM on March 20, 2009

Best answer: It takes twice as much memory for a printer to print the same image on ledger rather than letter. Reason being that the printer needs to build a bitmap of the "pixels" in order to draw the image on the page. Because at the down and dirty of it, it's got to have enough memory to hold the pattern of all the dots of all the colors. If it's going to run out of memory, it likely reverts to BW mode.

I don't have a manual for a 5500, but you can try changing the DPI of the print job down to half. This ought to give you color back. If that's the case, buy more memory. (I can get you the part numbers if you message me.) Also, look for settings in the configuration or setup menu that say something like "clearable warnings off" or "stop on errors" or "ignore memory errors". And/or print an error log and see if there are any memory errors on it. The printer might be set to not tell you if it runs out of memory.

No, there's no mechanical reason why that printer can't print color on the large sheet. You can test this by putting the ledger in one of the trays and making it the default paper size/type. Then print a demo sheet. I'm pretty sure you'll get a full color image.
posted by gjc at 9:23 PM on March 20, 2009

Response by poster: THANK YOU! I lowered the dpi and it printed in color, in this instance the resolution was perfectly fine for my needs but I will definitely be looking into more memory for it for the future.
posted by magnetsphere at 1:12 PM on March 23, 2009

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