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Cracking. So you’ve got your document all typed up, formatted, sorted and ready to go. Now you just need to print it off and, oh wait, what’s this? It says “printer offline.”

screenshot of "printer offline" icon

Image courtesy of: http://www.mikescomputerinfo.com/

Well, no. It’s definitely switched on because you remember turning it on! And you can see the printer in the printer menu in your word processing document. So what’s going on?

Here’s what to do:

  • Without wanting to sound like Roy off the IT Crowd, but try turning the printer off and on again! Sometimes this does work, believe or not. Why do printers do this? Sometimes even the experts are left stumped!

The chances are, however, that this won’t have resolved the problem. So…

  • Check your printer and device settings

For Windows XP

– Make sure your printer is turned on

– Click ‘Start’ in the bottom left of your PC monitor

– ‘Control Panel’

– ‘Printers and Faxes’

– Double click your printer’s icon

– Select the ‘Printer’ tab

screenshot showing printer offline checked

Image courtesy of: http://support.lexmark.com

– If there is a tick next to “Use Printer Offline,” uncheck it

– Make sure that this printer is set as your default

– Restart your computer

For Windows 7

– Make sure your printer is turned on

– Click ‘Start’ in the bottom left of your PC monitor

– ‘Control Panel’

– ‘Devices and Printers’

– Right click the printer icon

– ‘See What’s Printing’

– Select the ‘Printer’ tab

– If there is a tick next to “Use Printer Offline,” uncheck it

– Make sure that this printer is set as your default

– Restart your computer

printer offline on a mac computer

Image courtesy of: http://lisaandroger.com/

– Make sure your printer is turned on

For Apple Mac

– Open dock and click ‘Open System Preferences’

– Go to the ‘Hardware’ category

– Click ‘Print and Fax’

– Select the printer you want to take online from the list on the left side of the screen. Then click on the “Open Print Queue” button.

– Head to the top of the queue window

– Click “Resume Printer” to change to online

– Restart your computer

  • And whilst you’re rummaging about and checking your printer settings, just double check that there’s nothing in the print queue. Sometimes an old print job stays in the queue and can create a virtual bottleneck. Just right click and delete it if there is one there.

If that doesn’t work…

Have a look at the troubleshooting section in your printer manual. If you can’t find your answer there, then it might be best just to give your printer manufacturer a ring on their tech support line.

Hope that helps.

Do you know of any other ways to resolve “printer offline” problems? Share your knowledge in the comments below!

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