Printing or Print Quality Issues
Printing or Print Quality Issues

Printing or Print Quality Issues

Issue
Possible Cause
Recommended Solution
Barcode Does Not Scan
The barcode printed on a label does not scan.
The barcode is not within specifications because the printer is set at an incorrect darkness level.
  1. If necessary, manually adjust the darkness or print speed settings.
    • Set the print darkness to the lowest setting that provides good print quality. If you set the darkness too high, the label image may print unclearly, barcodes may not scan correctly, the ribbon may burn through, or the printhead may wear prematurely.
    • Slower print speeds typically yield better print quality.
    Access the darkness and print speed settings from the Home screen by touching
    Menu
    Print
    Print Quality
    .
  2. If the issue is not resolved, check the printhead pressure and toggle position. See Adjusting the Printhead Pressure
There is not enough blank space around the barcode.
Leave at least 1/8 in. (3.2 mm) between the barcode and other printed areas on the label and between the barcode and the edge of the label.
Wrong Image Size
My label prints too small (or too large)
The wrong printer driver is being used, or other settings are not correct for your printing application.
Check the printer driver or software communications settings (if applicable) for your connection. You may wish to reinstall the printer driver following the instructions in Connecting the Printer to a Device.
Poor Print Quality
Smudge marks on labels
The media or ribbon is not designed for high-speed operation.
Replace supplies with those recommended for high-speed operation. For more information, see zebra.com/supplies.
Poor results with thick labels
The print line is not at an optimal position for your media.
Refer to the Maintenance Manual for instructions on how to adjust the print line for thick media.
Print Consistently Too Light or Too Dark
Printing is too light or too dark over the entire label
The media or ribbon is not designed for high-speed operation.
Replace supplies with those recommended for high-speed operation. For more information, see zebra.com/supplies.
The printer is set at an incorrect darkness level.
For optimal print quality, set the darkness to the lowest possible setting for your application.
  1. If necessary, manually adjust the darkness or print speed settings.
    • Set the print darkness to the lowest setting that provides good print quality. If you set the darkness too high, the label image may print unclearly, barcodes may not scan correctly, the ribbon may burn through, or the printhead may wear prematurely.
    • Slower print speeds typically yield better print quality.
Access the darkness and print speed settings from the Home screen by touching
Menu
Print
Print Quality
.
You are using an incorrect combination of media and ribbon for your application.
Switch to a different type of media or ribbon to try to find a compatible combination.
If necessary, consult your authorized Zebra reseller or distributor for information and advice.
Incorrect printhead pressure.
Set the printhead pressure to the minimum needed for good print quality. See Adjusting the Printhead Pressure.
Printing is too light or too dark on one side of the label
Uneven printhead pressure.
Adjust the printhead pressure as needed for good print quality. See Adjusting the Printhead Pressure
General print quality issues
The printer is set at an incorrect print speed or darkness level. Keep in mind that printer settings may be affected by the driver or software being used.
For optimal print quality, set the print speed and the darkness to the lowest possible settings for your application.
  1. If necessary, manually adjust the darkness or print speed settings.
    • Set the print darkness to the lowest setting that provides good print quality. If you set the darkness too high, the label image may print unclearly, barcodes may not scan correctly, the ribbon may burn through, or the printhead may wear prematurely.
    • Slower print speeds typically yield better print quality.
Access the darkness and print speed settings from the Home screen by touching
Menu
Print
Print Quality
.
You are using an incorrect combination of labels and ribbon for your application.
Switch to a different type of media or ribbon to try to find a compatible combination.
If necessary, consult your authorized Zebra reseller or distributor for information and advice.
The printhead is dirty.
Clean the printhead and platen roller. See Cleaning the Printhead and Platen Roller.
Incorrect or uneven printhead pressure.
Set the printhead pressure to the minimum needed for good print quality. See Adjusting the Printhead Pressure.
The label format is scaling a font that is not scalable.
Check the label format for font issues.
Angled Gray Lines on Blank Labels
Fine, angular gray lines on blank labels
Wrinkled ribbon.
See wrinkled ribbon causes and solutions in Miscellaneous Issues.
Missing Print
Long tracks of missing print on several labels
Print element damaged.
Call a service technician for assistance.
Wrinkled ribbon.
See wrinkled ribbon causes and solutions in Ribbon Issues.
Loss of Registration
Loss of printing registration on labels
Excessive vertical drift in top-of-form registration
The platen roller is dirty.
Clean the printhead and platen roller. See Cleaning the Printhead and Platen Roller.
Media guides are positioned improperly.
Ensure that the media guides are properly positioned. See Loading the Media.
The media type is set incorrectly.
Set the printer for the correct media type (gap/notch, continuous, or mark).
The media is loaded incorrectly.
Load media correctly. See Loading the Media.
Misregistration/skips labels
The printer is not calibrated.
Calibrate the printer. See Calibrating the Ribbon and Media Sensors.
Improper label format.
Check your label format, and correct it as necessary.
Misregistration and misprint of one to three labels
The platen roller is dirty.
Clean the printhead and platen roller. See Cleaning the Printhead and Platen Roller.
Media does not meet specifications.
Use media that meets specifications. See Media Specifications.
Vertical drift in top-of-form position
The printer is out of calibration.
Calibrate the printer. See Calibrating the Ribbon and Media Sensors.
The platen roller is dirty.
Clean the printhead and platen roller. See Cleaning the Printhead and Platen Roller.
Horizontal movement in placement of the label image.
The previous labels were torn off incorrectly.
Pull down and to the left when tearing off labels so that the tear-off bar assists in tearing through the label backing. Pulling up or down and to the right can shift the media sideways.
Vertical image or label drift
The printer is using non-continuous labels but is configured in continuous mode.
Set the printer for the correct media type (gap/notch, continuous, or mark) and calibrate the printer, if necessary. See Calibrating the Ribbon and Media Sensors.
The media sensor is calibrated improperly.
Calibrate the printer. See Calibrating the Ribbon and Media Sensors.
The platen roller is dirty.
Clean the printhead and platen roller. See Cleaning the Printhead and Platen Roller.
Improper printhead pressure settings (toggles).
Adjust the printhead pressure to ensure proper functionality. See Adjusting the Printhead Pressure.
The media or ribbon is loaded incorrectly.
Ensure that the media and ribbon are loaded correctly. See Loading the Ribbon and Loading the Media.
Incompatible media.
You must use media that meets the printer specifications. Ensure that the interlabel gaps or notches are 2 to 4 mm and consistently placed. See Media Specifications.