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HP Deskjet 5740 - Missing, Faded, or Dull Colors

Problem
The printer is working, but colors in the printed output are missing, faded, or dull in comparison to the original.
Check the paper to make sure you are using the correct paper type for the project. If the paper is too fibrous, the ink applied by the printer might not fully cover the print surface.
  1. In the program being used for printing, click File, and then click Print.
    The Print window opens.
  2. Make sure the appropriate product is selected, and then click Preferences or Properties.
    The Preferences/Properties window opens.
  3. Click the Printing Shortcuts tab.
    Consider modifying some or all of the options in the Printing Shortcuts menu to increase print quality.
    • Print quality: If the quality of the printouts is not acceptable, try increasing the print quality. To print more quickly, try decreasing the print quality.
    • Paper type: If one of the options matches the paper type exactly, select it instead of Automatic.
    • Paper size: Make sure that this option matches the paper loaded in the product.
    To see additional options, click the Advanced tab, and then click Advanced Features.
    The Advanced Features window opens. Consider changing the following option:
    Ink volume: Adjust the amount of ink that prints on a page. For lighter images (less ink), drag the slider to the left. For darker images (more ink), drag the slider to the right. The lighter the ink volume, the more quickly the printout dries.
Step 3 - Print a diagnostic page
If the steps above have not helped, print and evaluate a diagnostic page to see if the cartridges or printer is causing the problem.
  1. Make sure the printer is on and loaded with unused, plain, white paper.
  2. Press and hold the Power button, then click the Cancel button once. Then release both buttons. The diagnostic page prints.
      Figure : Power and Cancel buttons
    1. Press and hold Power
    2. Press Cancel
Identify which cartridge printed which part of the diagnostic page, so that if you find defects on the page, you know which cartridge is the problem.
However, you can install different combinations of ink cartridges in your printer, and different cartridge combinations print different diagnostic page patterns. The diagnostic page might not look exactly like the example presented here, but the right and left cartridges print in the same areas of the page no matter which cartridges are installed.
    Figure : Diagnostic page layout (the patterns in each area might look slightly different on your page)
  1. Printed by the right cartridge
  2. Printed by the left cartridge
  note:
If you are printing in reserve mode (one cartridge is missing), the area of the diagnostic page where that cartridge prints is blank.
  note:
If you have installed a refilled or remanufactured ink cartridge, or a cartridge that has been used in another product, the ink level indicator is inaccurate or unavailable.
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 almost full - right cartridge empty
Figure : Both left and right cartridges almost full
In general, if the printer and ink 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 ink cartridge label.
  note:
Do not compare the colors on your diagnostic page 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 colored dots on the ink 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 ink cartridge is not functioning properly.
Figure : The right cartridge (a photo cartridge) shows missing lines and a streaked bar - the cartridge is not functioning properly
Figure : The left cartridge (a tri-color cartridge) shows missing lines and a streaked bar - the cartridge is not functioning properly
If your diagnostic page shows missing lines or streaked bars, click here to continue troubleshooting (c00246257) (in English).
Colors do not match the color on the cartridge label
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 : Color dots on the left (tri-color) cartridge label
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 diagnostic page shows colors that are very different from the colors on the cartridge label, click here to continue troubleshooting (c00219802) (in English).
Missing colors
If any of the color blocks or patterns is entirely missing, the cartridge is not functioning properly.
Figure : The yellow pattern and bar for the left (tri-color) cartridge is missing
If any of the patterns or color blocks is entirely missing, click here to continue troubleshooting (c00219802) (in English).
Ink smears
If the diagnostic page shows smeared ink, you may need to clean your cartridges.
Figure : Left (black) cartridge shows smeared ink
If your diagnostic page shows smeared ink, click here to continue troubleshooting (c00219817) (in English).
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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