Paper jams: how to avoid them and how to fix them?

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This inconvenience is very frequent whatever the model of printer. There are ways to prevent paper jams. In the event of a problem, it is necessary to act quickly so that the printer can operate normally and not leave too many documents waiting.

how to fix paper jam?
paper jams

Causes of Paper Jam

Improper paper feed to the printer can cause repeated and successive paper jams, which can damage the machine. It is necessary to check whether the jam indicator light on the instrument panel is present.

The quality, thickness and condition of the paper


Paper is the #1 element to observe when printing badly. The printer may not accept :

  • Paper that is too thick or thin. Paper between 70 and 90 g/m2 is ideal for a standard printer. Below this weight, like 35g newsprint, it tends to wrinkle. Above the average and especially above 150g, the paper is stiffer and can get jammed, depending on the type of printer.
  • Low quality paper. High-end paper is generally smoother and glides better in the printer. It is not incompatible with environmentally friendly paper.
  • Wet paper. Paper reams stored for the year in a damp room can cause paper jams to multiply. It is better to buy paper more frequently and store it in a dry place to prevent the sheets from sticking together.

Paper misplacement


The paper should be placed in a cassette in a block with no sheets of paper sticking out. If it is too deep, it will reach the rollers before the printer is turned on, which takes several sheets at a time. A jam is guaranteed!

Paper jams can occur as soon as the sheet is fed to the feed roller. The guides must be straight and pressed against the edges of the paper so that the sheet starts straight and does not print out crooked.

The paper path must not have any obstructions. Open the individual cassettes and also check that the rear door of the machine is locked.
What should I do if the printer stops working?

A paper jam will cause a general malfunction of the printer. The printer no longer functions. Remove the paper jammed in the paper path. The procedure consists of 3 steps and is identical for most machines:

  • Unplug the printer.
  • Open the feed tray to see if there are several sheets jammed in the rollers and put the sheets back against the guides.
  • Open the rear door. This is often where the paper is jammed. Be careful to pull it gently towards you so as not to tear it. Throw away the wrinkled paper, as this may cause another jam. Be sure to replace the rear door of the machine correctly.

Normally, when turning the printer back on, it is best to perform a cartridge alignment test to see if printing is done correctly.

If the unit does not restart, check to see if the feed rollers, just beside the rear door, are clean and rotating properly.

Finally, if the printer stops working, it is best to call for technical assistance or after-sales service for a complete overhaul.

HP offers a step-by-step tutorial in English with French subtitles on how to troubleshoot your printer.