My Printer Keeps Shooting Blanks
October 23, 2006 8:29 PM   Subscribe

Mac OSX Officejet Printing Problem Filter: Whenever I print from my browser (and sometimes other programs) my printer ends up just spitting out blank sheets with an occasional single line or two of text. I'm mystified ... what gives?

I've actually been struggling with this problem for months now and just dealing with it, but I'm finally frustrated enough to seek hive-help. I have an HP Officejet 6110 and am running OSX 10.4.8 on my iBook. The printer is connecting to my laptop via USB cable, not wirelessly.

An example of the problem: today I tried to print an article from a web page (latest Firefox) and instead of getting 7 pages of the article the printer spit out 7 nearly blank pages. Maybe three of the pages have a line or two of text at the top, and often this line will be cut in half. It only does this at the very top of the page. Save for this, everything else is blank.

This happens pretty much every time I print from my browser. It's not Firefox ... the same thing happens in Safari. I've also saved browser pages as PDF documents to print via Preview or Acrobat and get the same results. This happened before I updated to 10.4.8. I've installed all the latest HP drivers. I've tried printing the problem web pages using my back-up laptop (an older G3 Ti-Book) and the same thing happens which leads me to think it's the printer. I queried HP support but just got the 'update your drivers' line.

I suspect it has something to do with margins ... when content is outside of those margins something happens to the printer. I had the same problem when printing a Quark document but then discovered that if I condensed the size of some of my text boxes that were close to the paper edge it would then print correctly. I also recently had problems printing a Google map and discovered it would somewhat successfully print (after spitting out one blank page) if I selected File -> Page Setup and then lowered the scale to 90%.

However, today I'm desperately trying to print this online magazine article that I want to reference later and I get nothing but blank pages. I lowered the scale all the way down to 50% ... after 4 blank pages it printed the article but obviously in text so small there is no way I can read it. I know I've been able to print web pages in the past on different printers without lowering the scale to an illegible size. I looked all over for a preference relating to this but no joy. I can't imagine you just can't print web pages on an Officejet.

I should also note that I have absolutely no problems printing documents using any text editor or Word.

Sorry about all the information ... I just wanted to be complete in hopes to improve my chances for a solution. Thanks, all.
posted by General Zubon to Computers & Internet (8 answers total)
The easiest solution is to install Gutenprint, and use its driver instead of HP's for your printer. And then never buy an HP multipurpose again. [/bitter OSX programmer]
posted by boaz at 9:16 PM on October 23, 2006

Thanks for that, boaz, but I can't figure out Gutenprint. I've installed it but am at a loss at the first step in the instructions. It says to open Print Center (10.4 has Print Setup Utility instead) and the second step of holding Option while selecting Add Printer doesn't work. Judging from the Gutenprint forum many, many others are stuck as well and no one has bothered to answer with how to proceed. So, while Gutenprint may be the solution I can't figure out how to make it work due to the outdated instructions. My frustration builds ...
posted by General Zubon at 7:20 AM on October 24, 2006

Yeah, that changed in the most recent versions of 10.4. Click "Add Printer" which will pop up a window. In that window hold down the option key and click "More Printers" follow the instructions from there (click "Advanced" from the pull down menu at the top, etc.)

It sounds very much like a PostScript problem. If Gutenprint doesn't work, come back and let us know and I'll try to help more.
posted by The Bellman at 7:34 AM on October 24, 2006

Here's your solution

Ignore solution one, that's too much work. Once I changed the default paper size to A4 in my browser the problem went away. Good luck!
posted by fletchmuy at 7:40 AM on October 24, 2006

Holy crap! The A4 solution works! Thanks so much ... That's interesting that the solution was on the HP site as their support person had no idea what I was talking about .. heh
posted by General Zubon at 8:03 AM on October 24, 2006

Wow, I was just thinking about asking this very same question. Thanks!
posted by exceptinsects at 9:47 AM on October 24, 2006

One more solution: In the printer dialog box, choose "Paper Type/Quality", then choose "Fast Normal." This always works for my HP printer.

I'll try the A4 solution -- thanks everyone!
posted by shifafa at 10:39 AM on October 24, 2006

I, too, had this question ready to go. Very cool.

FWIW, I have an OfficeJet 6110xi and a Mac. So annoying was this problem that I'd often print from {x} application to PDF in Preview, then print (again) to the actual printer. I hope the A4 fix works, and if not, at least I don't feel like a freak anymore.

Mahalo for asking, and for the answers!
posted by pzarquon at 10:54 AM on October 24, 2006

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