(Wo)Man versus Technology
September 24, 2011 5:09 PM   Subscribe

True black and white printing on my Cannon Pixma--can it be done?

I have a Cannon Pixma MX 860. I want it to print in black and white only, but the printer has other ideas about wants to do and is asserting its will.

Does anyone have experience in forcing a printer to print in black and white only, particularly a Cannon?

A few notes:

1. Yes, I have my printing preferences set to grey scale on my computer. I do not see any menu options on the printer itself to only print in black.

2. I have also checked online, and seen previous questions on Metafilter. None of them have the same printer as me, so I'm not certain that the suggestions would work.

3. Please don't suggest a new printer. I'd like to get the one I have to do what I want before making any new purchases.
posted by too bad you're not me to Technology (6 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Are you trying to print or copy in B&W duplex? I remember reading somewhere that that particular model forces you to use color, even if you just want to do black and white duplex.
posted by LuckySeven~ at 7:06 PM on September 24, 2011

Could you clarify what the problem is? Are you printing greyscale images and they come out with a color cast? Are you printing color images with the printer set to black-and-white, but they still come out in color?

Inkjet printers blend the color inks to create smoother grey tones than would be possible using only black ink. Unless the printer is calibrated, chances are its blend is slightly off, and you get a color cast. Some high-end photo printers have options to use black/grey inks only, but yours probably does not.

If the color cast is your issue, I will follow up with some ideas on how to improve it.
posted by scose at 8:00 PM on September 24, 2011

I have a MX870, and print to it from a Mac. The way I got it to print in true greyscale is to set a greyscale preset through the Solution Menu. It is by no means certain that your software works like mine does. OS? Version? I can do experiments in Win7 and send off the results.
posted by jet_silver at 8:01 PM on September 24, 2011

I have the Canon MP610 and I just went through all the menus and the User Guide - there doesn't seem to be any choices for "black and white". In the monochrome menu, there is a tip that says "During Grayscale Printing, small amounts of color inks are used as well as black ink." There is a slider bar that lets you choose any custom color for your monochrome printing, but black is not one of the choices.

The only place where black and white is mentioned is in the menu for "copying" (not "printing"). If you put a document on the glass and choose Copy from the menu on the printer, you can also choose the Black and White option. So maybe a roundabout way to get black and white is to print something in greyscale, then copy it into black and white? If your objective was to save ink, then this is nuts, but if you want truly black and white printouts maybe it would work.
posted by CathyG at 9:20 AM on September 25, 2011

Response by poster: Thanks for the answers so far! A few clarifications:

1. I am running on Windows.

2. The problem is that the printer will use color, even when it's printing something that is black and white, and when my printer is set to print in grey scale.

3. Color cast is not the issue. Again, it's that it is using color ink to print and black and white. The color ink runs out super fast, and then everything I print looks weird and faded, because there is not quite enough color ink. This happens even when the black is full. I basically want to over ride this somehow so that it doesn't use the color ink when it is printing something in black and white.

Hopefully some tech genius can help me. :)
posted by too bad you're not me at 10:05 AM on September 25, 2011

This works for me:

In "Devices and Printers" right-click the printer name and select "Printing Preferences". Select "Quick Setup", "Standard". Click on the Greyscale Printing box. Click "Save", then key in the setup name you want to use for greyscale printing.

Next, on the "Main" tab click "Greyscale Printing" and "Preview before Printing".

In printing from IrfanView the print preview -within- IrfanView shows color but the Canon IJ print preview shows greyscale - and that's what the machine spits out. The Paint preview shows greyscale.
posted by jet_silver at 11:34 AM on September 25, 2011

« Older LOTR epilogue available online?   |   Plant-ID filter for the wife Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.