How to fix a paper jam in a printer

Canon printerWhen working with any printer, it is inevitable that you will encounter a paper jam. The following is a general guide for removing paper that has become lodged in a number of locations. Although most modern printers are similar in design, you may have to make slight adjustments to the following steps; depending on the model you are working with.

Warning: You'll want to make sure you don't pull jammed paper out from under the front cover as it may cause damage to the printer. Instead, pull it from the back of the printer or paper tray.

Note: It is important that you go through the all of following sections in order to avoid damage to your printer.

Locate and remove any paper stuck in the loading tray

  1. Remove any loose paper in the loading tray.
  2. Press the Resume button on the from of the printer.
  3. Remove lodged paper one sheet at a time, starting in the middle.
  4. Check for any remaining bits of paper.

Clearing the jam the from rear of the printer

If you can't get to the paper jam from the loading tray, follow the instructions to clear the paper from the rear of the printer. Usually, the back of the printer has either a rear access door or a two-sided printing accessory.

Removing a rear access panel

  1. Locate the knob or access tab on the back of the printer by or on the panel itself. If it's a knob, move it to the Unlocked position.
  2. Remove the panel and carefully pull out the jammed paper.
  3. Locate and clear away any small bits of paper that remain.
  4. Replace and secure the rear panel.

Remove the two-sided printing accessory to clear the paper jam

  1. Press both RELEASE buttons on either end of the module at the same time and remove it.
  2. Remove the panel and carefully pull out the jammed paper.
  3. Locate and clear away any small bits of paper that remain.
  4. Push the module back on and snap it into place.
  5. Press the button on top of the module and open the door.
  6. Remove the panel and carefully pull out the jammed paper.
  7. Locate and clear away any small bits of paper that remain.
  8. Close the rear module door.

Pulling paper from under the front cover

If all of the previous steps have failed, you may attempt to remove the jammed paper by pulling it out from under the front cover CAREFULLY and SLOWLY. Remember, as stated above, this step is generally not recommended and should only be a last resort.

Ensure the print carriage can move freely.

  1. Disconnect the printer from power by unplugging the power cord from the outlet.
  2. Watch the carriage to see if it moves all the way to the right-hand side of the printer and out of sight. Do not force the carriage to move if it's stuck as this may damage your printer.
  3. Carefully remove the print cartridge(s).
  4. Without removing the drawer, remove any paper in the loading tray.
  5. Remove the two-sided printing accessory (module) or rear access door.
  6. With your fingers, rotate the rollers toward the top of the printer for three full rotations.
  7. Replace the two-sided printing accessory (module) or rear access door.
  8. Replace the print cartridges.
  9. Plug you printer back in and turn it on.

Reloading and testing the printer

Once you've removed the jam, cleared away any remaining bits of paper, and ensured that the print carriage can move without issue, it's time to test your printer to make sure it's functioning properly.

  1. Put many sheets of inkjet paper into the loading tray and slide it into place.
  2. Print a test page by performing a self-test by pressing and holding the Resume button until your machine starts printing.

Preventing a printer paper jam

As mentioned earlier, paper jams seem to be an inevitability over the life of your printer. However, if you're encountering frequent paper jams, the following steps may help prevent them.

  1. If your printer has a paper tray, do not fill the tray to capacity. Overfilling the paper tray is frequently the cause of paper jams.
  2. Many printers have sliding mechanisms that allow different types and sizes of paper to be fed into the printer. If the slider is not properly positioned, it can cause a paper jam.
  3. Use standard office paper. Folded, labeled, and specialty paper can often cause jams because they have irregular dimensions. If you're uncertain with what types of paper your printer accepts, consult its documentation.
  4. If you are printing multiple pages, do not mix the paper sizes.
  5. Make sure your printer paper is correctly seated into the slot or tray.
  6. Examine the printer for any debris before printing. Previous paper jams, torn paper, printing labels or other foreign objects in the printer can cause reoccurring jams.

Additional information

  • See our paper jam definition for further information and related links.