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How to Fix a Printer Jam: 5 Easy Steps (Inkjet, Laser, All Types)

Printer paper jams are a common workplace frustration. Go from feeling productive to a full halt as your print spits out crinkled pieces of paper or seizes up all together. If this is you, here’s how to fix a printer jam.

To fix a printer jam, turn off and unplug your printer. Remove all paper from the tray or cartridge. Then open the access door (front, back, top) to access the jammed paper. Gently pull the paper without tearing it. Try to pull in the direction of the rollers. Consult your user manual if uncertain.

How to Fix a Printer Jam

Here are the steps on how to get jammed paper out of printer. We’ll cover tips and warnings when getting jammed papers from printers. And specific details on different printer brands (HP, Canon, and Epson).

How to Get Jammed Paper Out of Printer

Before we get started, remember: Try not to get angry. Yes, a paper jam is annoying. But tech problems anger aren’t a recipe for a successful repair. And don’t worry, this should only take a couple of minutes.

Here are the steps to fix a paper printer jam.

Step 1: Turn Off and Unplug Your Printer

Turning off and unplugging your printer will help keep you safe from shock. And allows you to safely access the printer’s inner workings. This also protects your printer from mechanical harm.

Reposition the printer if needed after unplugging it so you can reach the machine’s rear side. The step is helpful if the paper jam isn’t adjacent to the tray.

Warning: Give your laser printer up to 30 minutes to cool down before proceeding. Laser printers can get quite hot inside, especially if you had been printing any volume just before the paper jam.

Step 2: Remove Printer Paper From the Tray

Most paper jams happen as the paper feeds into the printer, so start at the paper tray. Remove all blank paper from the tray or cartridge. This will also give you a better view of the machine’s insides.

If the paper is trapped at the printer’s entry, carefully and slowly remove each sheet, beginning in the center of the stack.

After removing any large sheets, check the machine to ensure no small pieces of paper are left inside.

If you notice any damage to the blank paper (tears or crumples) toss those sheets in the recycle bin. Don’t reload the printer paper yet. This will be a final step.

If you were unable to remove the paper jam from the external access, it’s time to open the printer up.

Step 3: Open the Access Door (Front, Back, Top)

Opening the access door will let you see where the jammed paper is, and then get it out of the printer.

If you have a laser printer, you can also remove the toner cartridge. This gives good view of the inside and access to grasp and remove the paper jam.

Opening the printer up is good for two more reasons.

  1. You will not have to worry about causing permanent damage to the printer as you free jammed paper from the rollers. The paper must be pulled slowly and gently to prevent ripping and ensure you pick up any loose scraps.
  2. You’ll have a chance to inspect the machine’s inside rollers. If they appear dirty, wipe them down with a damp cloth. Dust and dirt can hold on to paper and potentially trigger jams, so getting rid of them may resolve the issue.

Confirm to see whether the rollers rotate freely. If they are stuck, you will need to get new ones before the printer can function normally again.

Step 4: Put the Printer Back Together

With your paper jam resolved, it’s time to put it back together.

  1. Reinstall the toner or ink cartridges, if you removed them during the repair.
  2. Close the access doors. Ensure that they are closed tightly and you hear a click or that they are visually flush.
  3. Reload the paper. The paper will need to be fed into the machine correctly. To help make sure that the paper guides are snug to the paper stack. This will prevent the paper from becoming misaligned inside the machine.
  4. Plug the printer power cable in.
  5. Restart the printer and see whether it works.

Many printers print a test page when the resume button is pressed and held until the machine restarts. Hopefully your paper jam is now resolved.

Step 5: Consult a Manual or Repair Service for Assistance

If the paper is still jammed or the printer isn’t working as expected, consult your user guide for additional disassembly steps.

If you’ve already taken out all the paper and your printer is still not working, you might consider calling a printer repair service for assistance.

how to fix jammed printer

Here’s how to fix a printer that doesn’t respond.

Basic Video for All Printer Types

Here’s a helpful video tutorial for fixing printer paper jam. You’ll also learn a few tips about preventing future paper jams.

It is popular and accurate, but somewhat difficult to listen to because of the text to voice audio.

7 Tips and Warnings To Fix a Paper Jam

  1. You might have to remove the jammed paper from the machine’s front if you cannot free it from the back. Make sure to do this gently since removing paper from the printer’s paper tray roughly can cause malfunctions.
  2. It would be best if you didn’t try to force the rollers to move because that could break the printer.
  3. You should cancel any printing jobs currently in progress before powering down and unplugging the printer.
  4. Most printers feature sliding mechanisms that permit the insertion of various paper types and sizes. If the slider is not configured correctly, it can result in a paper jam.
  5. Consider using regular printer paper. Folded, labeled, and specialty paper frequently cause paper jams due to anomalous dimensions. Also, not all printers can handle construction paper.
  6. Don’t overfill your printer’s tray. A common source of paper jams is an overstuffed paper tray.
  7. When printing multiple pages, use sheets of the same size.

How to Fix a Canon Printer Jam

Here’s a great tutorial for removing a Canon printer paper jam. It is shown on a Pixma model but will work on most Canon printers.

For more about fixing paper jam in a Canon printer, here is their support page.

How to Fix an HP Printer Jam

Here’s how to remove a paper jam error (E4) on an HP printer. The model in the video is the OfficeJet Pro 6900 printer.

For more about fixing paper jam in an HP printer, here is their support page.

How to Fix an Epson Printer Jam

This video shows how to remove a jammed paper in an Epson printer. It is shown on an L3110 model.

More reading: Do printer toners and ink expire?

Is your printer printing blank pages? Here are 4 easy fixes.

Final Thoughts

No matter how sophisticated your printer is, a single wrinkled sheet of paper can bring it to a stop. Simple mechanical issues typically cause paper jams.

Removing the paper may require some time, but the answer is straightforward once you do. If you still have trouble printing after taking the paper out of the printer, it’s time to call in the experts.