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Color Image Prints in Black and White

This document applies to the following HP Photosmart All-in-One products:
  • HP Photosmart C4110, C4140, C4150, C4170, C4173, C4175 All-in-Ones
  • HP Photosmart C4180, C4183, C4188, C4190, C4193, C4194 All-in-Ones
The printer is working, but the printed output is in black and white when it should be in color.
Step one: Check the print in grayscale setting
The printer software has probably been set to print in grayscale. Follow the steps below to check this setting:
  1. In the software application being printed from, click File, then Print. The Print dialog opens.
  2. Make sure the correct printer is selected, then click Preferences. The printer Preferences dialog opens.
  3. Select the Color tab, then make sure that Print in grayscale is not selected.
If you have installed a refilled or re-manufactured print cartridge, or a cartridge that has been used in another printer, the ink level indicator will be inaccurate or unavailable.
  1. Open the Printer Toolbox. There are two ways to do this:
    • Open HP Solution Center, select the Settings menu, then the Print Settings submenu, and finally the Printer Toolbox.
    • Open Printers and Faxes in the Windows Control Panel, then right-click your printer icon and choose Properties. Click Printing Preferences. Click the Features tab, then click the Printer Services button.
  2. The Printer Toolbox opens. Click the Estimated Ink Level tab. A cartridge may be running out of ink even if the graphic shows ink remaining (see the note at the start of this section). Lines or streaks always appear in printouts when the cartridges begin to run out of ink. Replace print cartridges that are out of ink or low on ink.
    Figure : Estimated ink levels
Step three: Print a self-test page
If the Print in grayscale option is not the problem and the print cartridges are not low on ink, print and evaluate a self-test page to see if the cartridges or printer is causing the problem.
  1. Load the paper tray with unused plain white paper.
  2. Press Setup. The Setup menu displays.
  3. Press the down arrow or the up arrow to highlight Print Report, then press OK.
  4. Press OK again. The self-test report prints.
You must identify which cartridge printed which part of the self-test report, so that if you find defects on the report, you will know which cartridge is the problem.
Note though that different combinations of print cartridges can be installed in your printer, and different cartridge combinations print different patterns. Your self-test report may not look exactly like the picture below, but the right and left cartridges will print in the same areas of the report no matter which cartridges are installed.
Figure : Self-test report layout (the patterns in each area may look slightly different on your report)
In general, if the printer and print cartridges are working properly, the patterns (which look like grids of lines) should contain few or no missing lines. None of the colors should be missing and the colors of the blocks at the bottom of the page should match the labels below each block. Also, there should be no streaks of ink on the report.
Missing lines or streaked bars
If a pattern shows more than a few missing lines, or a bar is streaked, that print cartridge is not functioning properly.
Figure : The magenta pattern shows missing lines and the bar is streaked - the cartridge is not functioning properly
If your diagnostic page shows missing lines or streaked bars, click here to continue troubleshooting.
Color mix
The color blocks at the bottom of the self-test report are printed by the tri-color (left-side) cartridge only. These blocks have labels describing the color they should be. If the color of any of the blocks does not match its label, the left-side cartridge is not functioning properly.
Figure : Color mix
If one or more of the color blocks does not match its label, click here to continue troubleshooting.
Missing colors
If any of the color patterns or bars are entirely missing, the cartridge is not functioning properly.
If you are printing in reserve mode, without all the cartridges installed, the patterns associated with the missing cartridge will also be missing.
    Figure : Missing colors
  1. All colors printed - no missing colors
  2. Yellow missing - the tri-color (left-side) cartridge is not printing properly
If any of the patterns or bars are entirely missing, click here to continue troubleshooting.
Ink smears
If your self-test report shows smeared ink, you may need to clean your cartridges.
Figure : Smeared ink
If your self-test report shows smeared ink, click here to continue troubleshooting.
If no defects appear on the diagnostic page, the cartridges and product are probably working correctly. Click here to continue troubleshooting (c00211601) (in English).


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