Aligning Print Heads

The print heads of an inkjet printer are responsible for transferring ink from the cartridge to the page. The combination of multiple print heads for different colors means that each needs to line up properly to create sharp image or text. If they heads are out of alignment with each other, you could end up with skewed text, fuzzy output, and a number of other issues.

Alignment Test Pattern

Test patterns like this one can help you align your print heads.

Most inkjet printers handle the alignment automatically, and you may never have to align them yourself, but if you notice issues with your prints it may be time for a manual alignment. Luckily, most inkjet printers come with an alignment procedure that ensures the print heads are aligned for the best possible output quality, and it is very easy to do.

The process for aligning the print heads will vary between different models and manufacturers, but this general process will apply to most models.

  1. Click the Start button.
  2. Click Devices and Printers.
  3. Right-click the icon for your printer, and choose Printing Preferences.
  4. Depending on the model, you may need to click the Advanced button and/or look for a Maintenance or Services tab.
  5. Click the Align Print Heads or Print Head Alignment heading or icon to begin the process.
  6. Follow the instructions on the screen to complete the alignment process.

At this point, you may be given the option to run a vertical or horizontal alignment. If you know your alignment issue is one or the other, choose only one. Otherwise, it is a good idea to run both tests for the best quality. The printer will print out an alignment test pattern and provide you with instructions for assessing the results. You will then need to determine which numbered pattern is the most aligned, and enter that number or sequence of numbers into the software. With a little luck, your printing issues will now be resolved. If you are still experience problems, you might try a Printhead Cleaning process

Here is a video demonstrating the alignment process for many Epson printer models:

Robyn Warner
Robyn Warner has been writing since she learned how to hold a pen. She wrote her first book of poems before the age of 10. Though creative writing is her preference, she is enjoying life in the technical blog world. Robyn’s goal in her 30s is to use her writing to inspire fellow cancer survivors and have a job that gives her the flexibility to live anywhere and never wear shoes.

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