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How to Print Without Black Ink (3 Fast Fixes) 60 Seconds

If your black printer cartridge has run dry, can you still print? These three fast fixes work on all printer brands – and most models.

Here’s how to print without black ink. You can remove the black cartridge, change your print color to a non-black color, or change the settings on your computer. Each method is fast and effective. If one method doesn’t work with your setup, try the next.

How to Print Without Black Ink

If you can’t get your printer to print correctly, it might be because your black ink cartridge is empty. This guide is for on-screen errors, noting your printer’s refusal to print because it is out of black ink.

If your printer prints blank pages, this is another problem. Here’s how to fix that.

3 Ways to Print Without Black Ink

Here’s how to print without black ink. These three ways are fast and easy. Even new printer users should be able to perform these basic fixes.

1. Remove the Black Cartridge

To print without black ink, just remove the empty black cartridge. In some printer models, by removing the cartridge, the printer will simply use the available colors.

This trick works on some HP (ie. HP2752, Deskjet 3700, Deskjet 6940, and HP3630), Canon, and Epson brand printers.

What if your text prints in green? This probably means that the printer setting isn’t set dark enough. Simply adjust to the “Best” print quality. If your printer is in “Econo” mode, it is skimping on ink – so it can render as green.

But some printers won’t allow anything to print with a missing cartridge. If this is your printer, the next step should work.

2. Change Font Color to Dark Grey

If removing the empty ink cartridge doesn’t work, you can try changing the text color to another, non-black, color.

Some users have had success with a dark grey, or another dark color – like green or magenta.

Why this fix works: By instructing you printer to use a color that it has access to, it should no longer give low-ink warnings.

Choose a dark color – dark blue (midnight navy), dark green, or even a dark purple. On text, the color tint will be hardly noticable.

Here’s how to fix a printer that isn’t printing in color.

There are a number of reasons your black ink isn’t printing. Here’s how to troubleshoot the problem on your Canon, Brother, or HP printer.

More reading: See Our Full Guide to Printer Ink

3. Change Settings to Print Without Black (Windows/Mac)

You can also force your printer to print in color. This means that the color ink will be combined to produce black.

Here’s how to do it on computers with both Mac and Windows operating systems.

Windows OS: Print Without Black

  1. Cancel all documents in your printer queue.
  2. Navigate to Windows Control Panel > View Devices and Printers > Printers & Scanners
  3. Select Your Color Printer from the list.
  4. Go to Printer Properties > Paper/Quality. Look for the Color selection. Select Black & White. Click Apply or OK
windows print without black ink

Mac OS: Print Without Black

  1. Cancel all documents in your printer queue.
  2. Navigate to Paper Type / Quality menu.
  3. Under the Color menu, Select Grayscale / Black & White.

Here’s a good guide from Epson for printing from a Mac with expended ink cartridges.

How Did It Go?

With these printer workarounds, hopefully, you’re back to printing.

While these little hacks aren’t really a long-term fix, they might hold you over until you get a chance to pick up (or refill) a fresh black ink cartridge.

out of black ink how to print in blue

Are you still having trouble? Check out our set of Printer Fix Guides.

Your Turn

Which method worked for you? Do you have another way to print without black ink?