How to Load Paper Into an Inkjet Printer

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You can not print without paper, that's obvious. However, the process for loading paper into your inkjet printer is not always obvious. For any media type and any inkjet printer, there are a couple of guidelines you should follow. Read this before you load paper into an inkjet printer.

Things You'll Need

  • Inkjet printer
  • Printer paper
  • Turn on your printer. Make sure it is plugged into an electrical outlet and installed properly.

  • Wait for your printer to stop. Do not load paper while it is printing or running any kind of maintenance operation.

  • Prepare your paper. Make sure your paper is right side up (glossy, whiter or label side should be facing up). Make sure all the pages are lined up together, like a deck of cards.

  • Locate your paper tray. Some printers have a manual tray and an automatic feed tray. Refer to your printer's documentation to find the automatic feed paper tray.

  • Place your paper in the tray. For 8.5 by 11 inch (standard) paper make sure the 8.5 inch side will be fed into the printer.

  • Set the paper guide. This is the moveable piece on the side of your paper tray. One side should move and the other should not. Move your paper so it touches the side that does not move, and slide the paper guide so it touches the other side. Some paper guides have markings so you can set it to the exact measurements if you know the size of your paper.

  • Set the paper thickness lever. Refer to your manual to determine which setting this lever should be at. Generally, standard paper does not need a different setting and special media like glossy photo paper or envelopes should use a thicker setting. You can usually access this lever the same way you access your ink cartridges.

  • Let your printer know what it is printing. If you are using a special media, then set the options before you print. Click "Properties" on the print dialog before you print something. From there, change your media type to whatever kind of paper you loaded.

Tips & Warnings

  • Fan your paper back and forth before lining it up to load into your printer. This prevents static build up which is the leading cause of paper jams.
  • If your printer doesn't feed the paper correctly at first, try making slight adjustments as it tries to feed to find the right spot.
  • Refer to your manual for in-depth paper loading instructions.
  • Many printers have a resume/cancel button. This is to be used when you need to load paper mid-print job.
  • Do not overload your printer.
  • Avoid non-standard media types such as loose leaf paper with holes or folded or wrinkled paper or anything with affixed stamps or stickers. These can jam your printer.
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