Printing in Gibberish

There are many different problems that crop up from time to time when printing, but one of the most frustrating is when a printer starts printing gibberish instead of the document or image you sent to be printed. Gibberish printing often looks like a random combination of letters, number, symbols, and other characters, which bear little or no resemblance to what you intended to print.


An example of printed gibberish.

Gibberish printing is often caused by a communication error between the computer and the printer. This can be related to a bad connection, an improperly installed printer driver, or a driver that is designed for a different model.

Here are a few troubleshooting steps to try first:

Reset the Queue and the Printer

Double-click the printer icon in your system tray. Click any print jobs still in the queue, then cancel and delete them. Turn off the printer and then turn it back on. Print a test page to see if the issue is resolved.

Check for Loose Cables

Disconnect the cable that connects the printer to the computer or to the network, then reconnect it, making sure that it is firmly seated. Repeat this for both ends of the connection. In some cases, a loose cable can cause a communication problem. Print a test page to see if the issue is resolved.

Reinstall the Printer Driver

Many communication problems are caused by a printer driver that has become corrupt, or a leftover driver from a previous model that is not completely compatible. The best solution is to uninstall the current driver and install the proper driver for your machine.

Uninstall the Current Driver

  1. Click the Start button, and choose “Devices and Printers”. You will see a list of the printers that have been installed on your machine.
  2. Click the icon of the device to select it, then click “Print Server Properties” in the top toolbar.
  3. Click the “Drivers” tab, then click the driver that matches the name of your printer. For example, if you are using the Lexmark E210 model, select the heading that says “Lexmark E210″ or something similar.
  4. Click “Remove” to remove the driver, then click “OK” to continue.

Install the Proper Driver

  1. Visit your printer manufacturer’s website and navigate to the Support or Drivers section. Enter your model number to search for the current driver, then follow the instructions to download it.
  2. Navigate to the location of the saved driver file. The default is the Downloads folder, which can be accessed by clicking the Start button, clicking “Computer” and then choosing “Downloads” in the left pane.
  3. Double-click the driver file to begin the installation wizard, then follow the onscreen prompts to complete the installation. You may be asked to disconnect the printer during the process.
  4. Reconnect the printer if necessary, then try printing a document or test page.

With any luck, one of the above solutions will have resolved the problem, and you can now print normally. If you are still having trouble with your printer, it may be necessary to contact the manufacturer directly for support.

Greg Gladman
Greg Gladman has two degrees from the University of Cincinnati and prides himself on managing the operations and customer service at Ink Technologies. With a mind like a vault, he is full of useful and useless information, making him an asset to the company and to his Tuesday night trivia team. When he is not working, he spends his time bowling and playing golf. Greg dedicates much of his free time to raising money and awareness in support of the fight against blood cancers.

One Response to “Printing in Gibberish”

  • […] doesn’t correct this issue, you can try our article on Common Laser Printer Troubleshooting or Common Inkjet Printer Troubleshooting. If you are still having problems, it may be time to call a repair shop for professional […]