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HP Deskjet D4260, D4263, and D4268 Printers - Horizontal Streaks or Lines in the Printed Image

Issue

The printer is working, but printed output shows streaks or lines. The lines are perpendicular to the direction the paper moved through the printer and parallel to the movement of the cartridges during printing.
Figure : Streaks or lines in the printed image, with the direction the paper moved through the printer shown by the arrow

Solution one: Make sure the paper is appropriate for the print job

  1. Many papers have printing and non-printing sides. Make sure to load the paper with the side you intend to print on facing down.
  2. Make sure the paper type is appropriate for your project. For everyday documents, plain paper works well. For documents with dense printing, such as high-contrast graphics or photographs, use HP Premium paper for the best results.
  3. If the steps above did not help, try a different paper. Ink may not bleed as easily on heavier weight paper. Paper that does not accept ink well is also prone to bleeding and smearing. HP inks and papers are designed to work together.

Solution two: Check the ink levels

note:
If a refilled or remanufactured print cartridge, or a cartridge that has been used in another product, is installed, the ink level indicator will be inaccurate or unavailable.
  1. Open the HP software:
  2. Click Settings.
  3. Click Printer Toolbox.
    note:
    The Printer Toolbox can also be opened from the Print Properties dialog box. In the Print Properties dialog box, select Printing Preferences, click the Features tab, and then click Printer Services.
  4. Click the Estimated Ink Levels tab.
    Figure : Estimated ink levels
    note:
    A cartridge might be running out of ink even if the graphic shows ink remains in the cartridge. 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.
    The ink levels are estimates. When the ink in print cartridges is actually low, printouts are faded or streaked. When print quality is acceptable, there is no reason to replace print cartridges. Low-ink warnings are for planning purposes only.
note:
Ink level warnings and indicators provide estimates for planning purposes only. When an indicator shows low ink levels, consider having a replacement ink cartridge available to avoid possible printing delays. You do not need to replace ink cartridges until print quality becomes unacceptable.

Solution three: Check the print settings

  1. In the software program you are trying to print from, click File and then click Print. The Print dialog box opens.
  2. Make sure that your product is selected and then click Preferences. The Preferences dialog box opens.
  3. Click the Paper/Quality tab.
    Options on the Features tab include:
    • Print quality: If you are unhappy with the quality of your printouts, try increasing the print quality. To print more quickly, try decreasing the print quality.
    • Paper Options – Type is: Click the drop-down box under Type is. If one of the options matches your paper type exactly, click it rather than Automatic.
    • Paper Options – Size is: Make sure that it matches your paper.

Solution four: Check for defects using a diagnostic page

Step one: Print a diagnostic page

  1. Make sure that plain paper is loaded in the printer.
  2. Press and hold the Power button.
  3. Press the Resume button, and then release both buttons. The self-test prints.

Step two: Note which cartridges printed which areas of the diagnostic page

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.
note:
If there are no specific color blocks, refer to cyan, magenta, and yellow for mixing.
    Figure : Self-test report layout (the patterns in each area may look slightly different on your report)
  1. Printed by the left cartridge
  2. Printed by the right cartridge

Step three: Check ink-level indicators on diagnostic page

Look in the middle of the diagnostic page. The bars with "E" (for "empty") and "F" (for "full") at each end show the ink levels in the cartridges. As ink is used, the solid color changes to a faded color.
Figure : Left (tri-color) cartridge nearly full - right cartridge empty
Figure : Both left and right cartridges nearly full
If your print quality has been bad and either print cartridge is low on ink, replace it.

Step four: Check for defects using a diagnostic page

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. Also, the colors of the patterns and bars should be approximately the same as the color dots on the print cartridge label.
note:
Do not compare the colors on your self-test report to the colors on this Web page. Unless your monitor is calibrated, the colors will not be correct. Instead, compare the colors on the page to the colors dots on the print cartridge label. While the color dots may not be perfectly accurate, they are likely to be more accurate than the colors on the monitor.

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 left cartridge shows missing lines and a streaked bar - the cartridge is not functioning properly
If your test page shows missing lines or streaked bars, click here to continue troubleshooting (c00308537) (in English).

Color mix

If the color of the patterns or bars is very different from the color dots on the cartridge label, the cartridge is not functioning properly.
Figure : The color of one of the left cartridge bars is very different from the color on the cartridge label - the cartridge is not functioning properly
If your test page shows colors that are very different from the colors on the cartridge label, click here to continue troubleshooting (c00308540) (in English).

Missing colors

If any of the color blocks or patterns is entirely missing, the cartridge is not functioning properly.
    Figure : Missing color - the yellow pattern and bar is missing from example 2 below
  1. Good test page
  2. Yellow pattern and bar missing
If any of the patterns or color blocks is entirely missing, click here to continue troubleshooting (c00308540) (in English).

Ink smears

If the test page shows smeared ink, you may need to clean your cartridges.
Figure : Smeared ink
If your test page shows smeared ink, click here to continue troubleshooting (c00308545) (in English).

Step five: If you saw no defects

If there were no defects on the diagnostic page, the cartridges and printer are probably working correctly. Click here to continue troubleshooting.

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