It seems like everyone has at least one memorable mishap with a printer or copier. Over the past 20 years in business, we’ve heard our fair share of stories and ironically, most of them stem from common misconceptions. In hopes of saving you from a copier or printer nightmare story of your own, we’re sharing some of the worst advice we’ve ever heard.

Clear paper misfeeds with a yank

As tempting as it might be, grabbing a mutilated paper tail sticking out of a printer or copier and yanking it to clear a jam is a (very) bad idea. The proper way is to remove parts, paper trays, and cartridges until the jam is exposed and gently free the paper. Pulling paper in the opposite direction of how it was meant to go through the machine can cause damage to the rotors and other delicate parts. Also, if the jam results in torn pieces, reassemble it like a puzzle to make sure the entire sheet is accounted for. Leaving even the smallest shred of paper in the printer or copier invites more jams.

Shake the toner cartridge before you load it

Many people will tell you that you can extend the life of a new toner cartridge by shaking it before you place the cartridge in the machine. In older machines, you could extend the life of a toner cartridge by shaking it back-and-forth to redistribute the toner inside if it was getting very low. In most modern copiers, there is no need to shake anything. Unbox the new cartridge; give it a gentle end-to-end flip, insert and print. The copier will use almost all of the toner inside without ever removing the cartridge to shake it.

Replace a toner cartridge as soon as the light comes on

We recommend continuing to use a toner cartridge past the point the replacement light comes on. It’s like the gas light on a car warning that soon you will need more fuel. Like a car, printing and copying equipment will simply stop doing their jobs when the last bit of toner or ink has been used. It won’t hurt the machine but it might hurt your wallet. If you’re going to run on empty, it’s important to have additional ink or toner cartridges on hand. Not being prepared will cost significantly in time and money if you have to stop what you’re doing and run out to buy more supplies.

Print preview is a waste of time

Ever had one of those days where you are in a hurry to print and rush past the print preview screen only to retrieve a document that doesn’t look quite right? Using the print preview feature saves time and money. Instead of a nuisance, think of it as a friendly reminder to make sure the paper orientation and number of prints is set correctly and you’re in grayscale mode to save on color ink or toner when you don’t need it.

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