How to Avoid Paper Jams

August 23, 2023

One of the most frustrating experiences when printing or copying is when you encounter a paper jam. Not only does it disrupt workflow, but it also wastes time and resources. To help avoid paper jams and keep your printing and copying processes running smoothly, here are a few useful tips.

Select the Right Paper

Using the correct paper is crucial for preventing paper jams. Different printers and copiers have specific requirements for the weight, type, and size of the paper. Each paper type, such as plain, glossy or matte, has different characteristics, and not all printers are designed to handle each of them. Using paper that is too big, thick, or thin for your printer may also lead to a jam. Additionally, choosing a quality paper with a 99.99% Jam-Free® Performance Guarantee, like Boise X-9, will help keep your jams at bay.

Store Paper Properly

Improper paper storage can lead to moisture absorption, resulting in curled or wrinkled sheets that are more likely to jam. Store paper in a cool, dry place, away from direct sunlight and humidity. Use resealable packages or place paper in a sealed container to maintain its quality.

Adjust Paper Guides and Trays

Proper alignment of paper guides and trays is essential for smooth paper feeding. When loading paper, ensure the guides are adjusted snugly against the paper stack, but not too tight. Guides set incorrectly can cause paper misalignment and lead to jams.

Remove Staples, Clips, and Sticky Notes

Before loading documents into the printer or copier, make sure to remove any staples, paper clips, or sticky notes attached to the pages. These small objects can get caught in the paper path, causing jams and potential damage to the machine. Taking a moment to remove these obstructions will significantly reduce the risk of jams.

Clean the Printer/Copier

Dirt, dust, and debris can accumulate inside the printer or copier over time, affecting performance and increasing the likelihood of paper jams. Regularly clean the paper path, rollers, and other accessible areas of the machine using a soft, lint-free cloth. Be cautious and follow the manufacturer’s instructions while cleaning to avoid any damage. Keeping the device clean will promote smooth paper feeding and minimize the chance of jams.

Avoid Overloading and Rushing

Before loading paper into the printer or copier, fan the stack to separate the sheets and prevent static buildup. When it’s time to print, it can be tempting to load a large number of pages into the printer or copier at once to save time. However, overloading the machine can lead to paper jams. Instead, divide large print jobs into smaller quantities, allowing the printer or copier to handle each batch without strain. Additionally, avoid rushing the printing process by repeatedly pressing the print button or attempting to pull out printed pages before they fully exit the machine. Give the printer enough time to complete its task to reduce the risk of jams. Also, regularly check the paper level in the tray and refill it before it runs empty to prevent jams caused by insufficient paper.

Paper jams can be a pesky interruption to your workday, but by following these simple tips, you can minimize their occurrence, save time and resources, and ensure a more efficient work environment.

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