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Fix poor print quality on HP Color LaserJet Pro M254 printers

The quality of a printed document is not as expected. Printouts are smeared, fuzzy, dark, or faded, or toner is loose, partially missing, or scattered.

Perform the following tasks in the order given. Use the printer after each task to see if the issue is resolved.

Print a cleaning page

Print a cleaning page to improve print quality.

  1. Print the page from the printer control panel.

    • HP Color LaserJet Pro M254dn, M254nw: Press OK, press the Right arrow to scroll to Service, press OK, scroll to Cleaning Page, and then press OK.

    • HP Color LaserJet Pro M254dw: From the control panel Home screen, swipe left, and then touch Setup. Touch Service, and then touch Cleaning Page.

  2. When prompted, feed one piece of paper into the priority feed slot (Tray 1).

Check paper, print settings, and quality of the file being printed

Make sure you are using the correct paper for your print job, and change the print settings to improve print quality.

  1. Check paper quality. The quality and type of paper can affect the print job. Make sure the paper you are using is appropriate for your printer and print job.

    • Use paper designed for HP LaserJet printers. Do not use paper designed only for inkjet printers.

    • Do not use paper that is too rough. Smoother paper might result in better print quality.

  2. Check paper orientation. For some print jobs, such as printing photos, make sure you load the paper correctly to print on the smoother or glossy side (print side). Load paper into the front load tray with the print side facing up.

  3. Check print settings. In the program you want to print from, click File, and then click Print to open a print window. Select your printer, and then click Properties, Options, Printer Setup, Printer, Preferences, Media & Quality, or Paper/Quality to open the settings menu. Depending on your printer consider changing the following print settings.

    • Paper Type: Select the appropriate type of paper, such as photo paper, plain paper, or labels.

    • Print Quality: Increase the print quality from Normal or Draft to Best. If you see an EconoMode option, remove the selection from the check box.

    • Paper Size: Select the correct paper size for your print job.

  4. Check photo or document quality. Use high resolution photos and files.

Check toner levels, cartridges, and imaging drum

Issues with the toner cartridges or imaging drum can cause poor print quality.

  1. Check toner and cartridge type. HP recommends that you use genuine HP toner supplies. HP cannot guarantee the quality or reliability of non-HP or refilled cartridges. If you do not use genuine HP supplies, troubleshooting steps on the HP support site might not resolve the issue. To check the authenticity of your cartridges, go to HP Anti Counterfeiting and Fraud Program (in English). You can purchase replacement cartridges and other supplies from the HP Store or local retailers.

  2. Check toner levels, and then replace any cartridges that are low or empty.

    • HP Color LaserJet Pro M254dw: From the home screen, touch Supplies to view remaining toner levels.

      Toner levels displaying on a control panel
    • HP Color LaserJet Pro M254dn and M254nw: On the control panel, press OK to view remaining toner levels.

      Toner levels displaying on a control panel

    If you are using genuine HP cartridges and toner levels are not low or empty, continue with these steps to inspect the cartridges for damage.

  3. Open the front door.

    Opening the front door
  4. Use the blue handle to pull out the toner cartridge drawer.

    Pulling out the cartridge drawer
  5. Grasp the handle on a toner cartridge, and then pull the cartridge straight up to remove it.

    Removing a toner cartridge

  6. Examine the memory chip for damage. If the memory chip is damaged, replace the toner cartridge.

    The location of the memory chip on a toner cartridge
  7. Examine the surface of the imaging drum. If you see any scratches, fingerprints, or other damage, replace the toner cartridge.


    Do not touch the imaging drum. Fingerprints can cause print quality issues.

    Locating the imaging drum to examine it for scratches or fingerprints
  8. Insert the toner cartridge.

  9. Repeat these steps for the other toner cartridges.

  10. Close the toner cartridge drawer, and then close the front door.

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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