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HP Printers - An Alignment Page Prints after Every Power Up or Print Job

This document is for HP inkjet printers.
An ink cartridge alignment page prints every time you start a print job or turn on your printer. This issue usually occurs when a cartridge is replaced and the alignment process is not completed.

Step 1: Complete the alignment process

Make sure the alignment process is complete before using your printer.
  1. Load plain white paper in the input tray.
  2. Adjust the paper width guides until they rest against the edges of the paper.
  3. Print an alignment page.
    • Printer control panel (printers with control panel menus): Open the Tools or Printer Maintenance menu, and then select the option to Align cartridges, Align printhead, or Print an Alignment Page.
    • HP Smart app (Windows 10, macOS, Android, iOS): In the app, select your printer, click Print Quality Tools, and then select the option to align the printheads or cartridges.
    • HP Printer Assistant (Windows): Click Maintain Your Printer, and then select the option to align the printheads or cartridges.
    • HP Utility (Mac): Click the option to align the printheads or cartridges.
    • HP Solution Center (Windows XP, Vista): Click Settings, and then click Printer Toolbox. On the Device Services tab, click Align the Print Cartridges to print an alignment page. If prompted on the printer control panel, software, or alignment page, scan the alignment page to complete the alignment.
  4. If your printer has a scanner, follow the directions on the alignment page to scan it and complete the alignment.
  5. Restart your printer or send another print job.
If the issue persists, continue to the next step.

Step 2: Check the cartridges

Remove, inspect, and reseat the cartridges to make sure they are correctly installed.
  1. Open the ink cartridge access door. Depending on your printer model, the door might be on the front or the top of the printer.
  2. Wait for the carriage to stop moving.
      caution:
    If you are unable to access the cartridges, do not attempt to move the carriage. Skip to the Reset the printer step.
  3. Remove the cartridges.
      caution:
    Do not touch the copper-colored contacts or nozzles. Touching these parts might result in clogs, ink failure, and bad electrical connections.
    Do not touch the copper contacts or nozzles
  4. Check the cartridges for debris, and then make sure the nozzles and electrical contacts are not covered by protective tape.
  5. Reinsert the cartridges in the correct slots.
  6. Close the ink cartridge access door.
  7. Wait until the alignment page prints, and then follow any prompts to scan it and complete the alignment process.
  8. Restart your printer or send another print job.
If the issue persists, continue to the next step.

Step 3: Check the alignment page

Alignment might fail due to defects on the alignment page. Check the page for defects, such as missing colors or sections.
note:
Depending on your printer, the alignment page might have multiple colors or only black ink. Most alignment pages include a series of lines and blocks.
Example of an alignment page without defects
Examples of alignment pages without defects

Step 4: Clean the printheads

Use a printhead cleaning tool to help prevent streaks, smudges, or lines that can interfere with the alignment process.
  1. Run the printhead cleaning tool.
    note:
    You might need to clean the printheads more than once.
    • Printer control panel (printers with control panel menus): From the Settings, Setup, or Tools menu, select the option to clean the printheads.
    • HP Smart app (Windows 10, macOS, Android, iOS): In the app, click your printer, click Print Quality Tools, and then select the option to clean the printheads.
    • HP Printer Assistant (Windows): Click Maintain Your Printer, and then select the option to clean the printheads.
    • HP Utility (Mac): Click the option to clean the printheads.
  2. Evaluate the printout.
    • If any defects remain, replace the printheads. For instructions, go to HP Customer Support, type your printer model, and then search for a 'Replacing Printheads' document.
    • If no defects remain, print another alignment page, and then follow any prompts to scan it and complete the alignment process.
  3. Restart your printer or send another print job.
If the issue persists, continue to the next step.

Step 5: Clean the electrical contacts

Ink on the electrical contacts can cause printing errors. Carefully clean the contacts, and then try printing again.
  1. Gather the following items:
    • Clean, distilled water. Use bottled water if you cannot use distilled water.
        caution:
      Do not use tap water. Tap water might contain contaminants that can damage cartridges.
    • Clean cotton swabs or any soft, lint-free material that does not stick to the cartridges, such as coffee filters.
  2. Open the ink cartridge access door, and then wait for the carriage to stop moving.
      caution:
    If you are unable to access the cartridges, do not attempt to move the carriage. Skip to the Reset the printer step.
  3. Remove the ink cartridges, and then place them on a clean, protected surface, such as a piece of paper, with the nozzles facing up.
      caution:
    Do not touch the copper-colored contacts or nozzles. Touching these parts might result in clogs, ink failure, and bad electrical connections.
    Do not touch the copper contacts or nozzles
  4. Dip the cotton swab in the distilled water, and then squeeze any excess water from it.
  5. Hold a cartridge by its sides, and then clean the copper-colored contacts only.
       Cleaning the cartridge contacts
    1. Cartridge contacts
    2. Nozzles - do not clean
  6. Repeat with all other cartridges.
  7. Disconnect the power cord from the back of the printer.
      warning:
    You must disconnect the power cord before you clean the contacts inside the printer.
  8. Dampen a new cotton swab, and then use it to clean the matching electrical contacts inside the printer.
  9. Wait at least 10 minutes for the cartridges and electrical contacts in the printer to dry.
  10. Reinsert the cartridges in the correct slots.
  11. Close the ink cartridge access door, and then plug in the printer.
    An alignment page prints.
  12. Follow any prompts to scan the alignment page.
Restart the printer or send another print job. If an alignment page prints, continue to the next step.

Step 6: Replace the cartridges

Faulty or damaged cartridges in your printer can cause errors. Replace all ink cartridges.
note:
If you remove and reinstall the same cartridge, the product does not realign. The product remembers the alignment values for each cartridge.
  1. Open the ink cartridge access door, and then wait for the carriage to stop moving.
  2. Remove the old cartridges from the printer.
  3. Remove the new cartridges from their packaging, and then remove any protective tape or plastic.
      caution:
    Do not touch the copper-colored contacts or nozzles. Touching these parts might result in clogs, ink failure, and bad electrical connections.
    Do not touch the copper contacts or nozzles
  4. Insert the new cartridges, and then close the ink cartridge access door.
  5. Wait until the alignment page prints, and then follow any prompts to scan it and complete the alignment process.
  6. Restart your printer or send another print job.
If issue prints, continue to the next step.

Step 7: Reset the printer

Resetting the printer can resolve some errors.
  1. With the printer turned on, disconnect the power cord from the printer.
  2. Unplug the power cord from the power source.
  3. Wait 60 seconds.
  4. Reconnect the power cord to a wall outlet and to the printer.
    note:
    HP recommends plugging the printer directly into a wall outlet.
Restart your printer or send another print job. If issue prints, continue to the next step.

Step 8: Service the printer

Service or replace your HP product if the issue persists after completing all the preceding steps.
Go to Contact HP Customer Support to schedule a product repair or replacement. If you are in Asia Pacific, you will be directed to a local service center in your area.
To confirm your warranty status, go to HP Product Warranty Check. Repair fees might apply for out-of-warranty products.

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