How to Clear & Prevent Paper Jams

30-10-2014 by

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Paper jams can be frustrating and clearing them can be even more frustrating. Paper jams happen for a number of reasons, but there are easy ways to clear them and make sure that your printer doesn’t get paper jams.

To clear a paper jam

When clearing a paper jam, always make sure you’re clearing it from the paper tray or the back access door. You should only clear a paper jam from the front of your printer as a last resort to avoid damaging the paper roller.

1. First check that you can reach the paper jam from the paper loading tray. If you can, pull the stuck paper out gently, one sheet at a time to avoid ripping the paper and damaging either the paper roller or the printer cartridge carriage.
2. If you can’t reach the jam from the paper tray, you’ll have to open the back access panel and gently remove the paper.
3. Once you’ve cleared the paper jam, check for any bits of torn paper and remove those.
4. If you use an inkjet printer, make sure that the ink cartridge carriage can move freely by unplugging or switching the printer off and making sure that the carriage moves smoothly to the home position. Do not force the carriage to move.

If you cannot reach the jam from either the paper tray or the back access door, you can try and clear it from the front where the paper comes out. Pull on the paper gently, carefully and slowly.

If you have a multi-function printer and the jam is in the automatic document feeder, follow these steps:

1. Take out any unjammed paper from the top and bottom of the feeder area.
2. Open the automatic document feeder cover and gently pull on the jammed paper, removing it one sheet at a time. Never try and remove a jam without opening the feeder cover as you can damage the rollers.
3. Lift the scanner cover and remove any paper jammed there.
4. Close both covers and check for any more jammed paper or small pieces of torn paper and clear those.

To prevent paper jams, keep these tips in mind:

- Do not overfill the paper tray or automatic document feeder.
- Check that the paper size slider in the paper tray and the automatic document feeder is properly positioned for the size of paper you are using. The slider should fit against the paper snuggly, but should not bend the paper.
- Before loading any speciality papers check your user manual to see which speciality papers and paper thicknesses your printer can handle. Using paper your printer can’t handle will cause jams.
- If you want to print on different paper sizes, do not mix the sizes in the paper tray.
- Make sure that the paper is sitting in the paper tray properly and that no sheets are bent, folded or crinkled.
- If you have had a jam before, make sure that all the paper has been cleared and check your printer for any pieces of torn paper as these will cause jams in the future.
- Make sure that your paper is clean and free of dust and debris.

While paper jams may still happen, following these steps will make sure that clearing them or preventing them will be easy and quick. If you need any help, always remember that you can contact our customer support team.

Nic Venter

About the author

Nic Venter+

 is the founder and director of He started the business in 2009 with the idea to sell ink and toner cartridges online and to provide you with a quality product, value for money and convenience. He regularly blogs on about printing and technology. Part of his philosophy is having fun and making sure that he and his team think everything ink, so you don't have to.

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