Paper jam

Updated: 02/07/2022 by Computer Hope
Crumpled up piece of paper.

A paper jam is when paper or other printed material gets stuck or lodged in a printer and cannot eject. When this occurs, the printer does not function properly until the paper is manually removed.

Causes of a paper jam

A paper jam can occur due to any of the following reasons.

  • Dirty paper rollers inside the printer.
  • Damp paper.
  • Paper with dog-eared corners or torn edges.
  • Too much paper in the paper tray.
  • Paper pushed too far into a printer's top-loading paper tray.
  • The back panel of the printer was not attached properly or closed completely.

How to prevent a paper jam

Below are some ways to prevent a paper jam in a printer.

  • Make sure the printer paper is not damp and is kept in a dry location.
  • Using canned air or an air compressor, gently blow out any dust, dirt, or tiny paper shards from inside the printer.
  • Remove the back panel of the printer and clean out any debris, like shredded pieces of paper.
  • Do not load the paper tray full of paper. Fill about 1/2 to 3/4 full to prevent overloading.
  • If the printer has a top-loading paper tray, gently set the paper in the tray until you feel resistance. Do not force the paper in or push it down into the printer.

How to know if my printer has a paper jam

There are multiple signs your printer has a paper jam. The most common signs include the following.

  • The paper starts to feed into the printer, then stops. You may hear a crumpling sound as the paper gets stuck and crumpled up inside the printer or paper tray.
  • Paper feeds into the printer; the printer starts to print, then printing stops, and the paper remains in the printer.
  • The printer starts to print, then stops and displays an error on its LCD (liquid-crystal display) screen, or there's a blinking yellow or red light on the printer. For example, Canon printers may display an E3 or E03 error on its screen, indicating a possible paper jam.

Jam, Printer, Printer terms