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GeekGal, Computer Support Specialist
Category: Computer
Satisfied Customers: 1361
Experience:  MIS degree and 15+ years experience with both Mac and Windows hardware & software
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Why am I unable to print my e-mail.although it did work this

Customer Question

why am I unable to print my e-mail.although it did work this morning?
JA: How long has this been going on?
Customer: about 2 hours
JA: What troubleshooting have you tried?
Customer: I have not tried anything so far. I am 85 years old,and not very competent with computers
JA: Just to clarify, what's the make and model of your machine, and what operating system are you running?
Customer: MacBook Pro
JA: The computer expert can solve this for you. Anything else you want him to know before I connect you two?
Customer: no thank you
JA: OK. Got it. I'm sending you to a secure page on JustAnswer so you can place the $5 fully-refundable deposit now. While you're filling out that form, I'll tell the Computer Technician about your situation and then connect you two.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Computer
Expert:  GeekGal replied 1 year ago.

Good morning. My name is*****'m sorry that you're having this problem. It would be my pleasure to help you with this. I always like to start with the simplest possible solutions first. Have you tried shutting down your Macbook, and turning off the printer, then turning them both back on? If you've tried that and it didn't work, please let let me know so I can provide detailed instructions for further troubleshooting.

Expert:  GeekGal replied 1 year ago.

If you've tried restarting both the printer and your MAC and that didn't resolve the problem, please follow the detailed steps below to troubleshoot. I've also attached these instructions as a pdf document that you can save to refer to in case you have printing issues in the future.


After a failed print attempt, press Command-P again. You’ll likely see a badge icon, such as an exclamation mark, next to the printer’s name in the Print dialog box. You may also see a message appear, explaining the cause of the failure and how to fix it.

Find the right printer: One especially common scenario occurs if you print to more than one printer. You may have not selected the one you intended. If your Mac is a laptop, you may have last printed to your cousin’s printer while visiting her in Topeka, but now you’re back home in Portland. The simple fix is to choose your intended printer from the Print dialog box’s Printer pop-up menu.

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{C}{C}If your print queue has paused, get it rolling again by clicking Resume.

Resume a paused printer: Another common situation is that the printer was previously paused. If so, you’ll see an error message. Clicking theResume button should get things going again. If it doesn’t, check thePrint Queue, described next, to get more information.

2. Check the Print Queue

If a print job has failed, the printer’s Print Queue icon should remain in the Dock, garnished with a badge that indicates trouble. To find out more, click the icon to open the Queue’s window. Don’t see anything in the Dock? Choose Apple menu > System Preferences. Click Print & Scan, select your printer in the list, and then click Open Print Queue.

Resume a paused printer: Your print queue can pause automatically if a print attempt fails, perhaps due to a paper jam. Or, you might hit the pause button yourself if you realize you’re printing the wrong document or you realize you’re going to run out of paper. It’s easy to leave a printer paused and forget about it until the next time you go to print. Clicking the Resume button in the Print Queue has the same effect as doing so from the Print dialog box.

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{C}{C}Old jobs stuck in the queue can thwart your attempts to print. Delete one by clicking on the X at the end of the progress bar below its name. Click Resume to get the queue started again.

Get rid of old print jobs: If that doesn’t solve the problem, look for old print jobs stuck in the queue. If a job isn’t printable (perhaps the document no longer exists), you’ll need to delete it from the queue before you can print anything newer. To do this, click on the X next to the progress bar below the document’s name.

Is it a connection problem?: A second possibility is that Print Queue claims the printer is “not connected” or that it cannot “communicate” with the printer. You'll find common fixes for this problem next.

3. Check the printer itself

If your attempts to fix things at your Mac’s end don’t resolve the matter, it’s time to look at the printer itself:

Check for paper: Make sure you have paper in the printer’s auto-feed or manual-feed tray (whichever one you’ve selected to use) and that there is no paper jam.

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{C}{C}If your Mac can't connect to the printer, trying turning the printer off and back on.

Make sure the printer is on and connected: Check that power is getting to the printer and that the necessary cables or wireless connections are in order.

Turn the printer off and back on:Turn the printer completely off and back on. Ideally, unplug the printer from the wall outlet after turning it off. Then reverse the steps. If the error message in the Print Queue refers to a “communication” problem, this is especially likely to help.

Check ink or toner cartridges: Some models of inkjet printers are notorious for refusing to print if any of its multiple cartridges are out of (or even low on) ink. Even if you are printing text requiring just black ink, the printer may balk if any of the colored inks have run out. If so, it’s time to purchase refills.

Using the Print Queue, you can check ink supply levels or print a test page. Select the Printer menu to see your options. If you need to do more extensive troubleshooting, click the Settings button in the Print Queue window. If the printer’s software includes a diagnostic utility, you should be able to access it from here.

4. Check for printer software updates

These days, updating printer software is typically handled via OS X’s Software Update. Select Apple menu > Software Update. If it shows that an update for your brand of printer is available, install it. If not, it’s still possible that an update exists on the printer’s company website. If so, download and install it.

Unless your problem started immediately after updating to a new version of OS X, it’s unlikely that the printer software is at fault. After all, the same software was presumably working well yesterday. Still, it’s worth a try since updating may fix the problem if the printing software has somehow become corrupted.

5. Delete and re-add the printer

Go to Apple Menu > System Preferences and select Print & Scan. From the list on the left, select your printer. Click the minus-sign (-) button at the bottom of the list. This removes the printer from the print list.

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{C}{C}Still having trouble? Use the Print & Scan pane to delete and re-add a printer.

Now click the plus-sign (+) button. A menu will appear. Hopefully, you will see the just deleted printer under the header Nearby Printers. If so, select it to add it back. If not, select Add Printer or Scanner. Once again, you will hopefully find the printer in the Default listings. If so, select it in the list and then click Add.

Use an IP address: Networked printers sometimes take a little extra work. Select the plus-sign (+) and choose Add Printer or Scanner. When the Add window appears, click IP at the top of the window. Here you can enter the printer’s address on the network. See this Bugs & Fixes column for advice about how to figure out your printer’s IP address.

Avoid printer sharing if you can: If you see your printer listed with an @ sign, such as CannonMP990 @ MacBook Pro, selecting this means you will connect to the printer via printer sharing—a feature enabled from the Sharing System Preferences pane. Unless you have a setup that requires accessing the printer this way, don’t select this. Instead, choose an alternative listing for the printer. Otherwise, even if your attempt to re-add the printer succeeds, you will only be able to print when the sharing Mac is available.

6. Check the error log for clues

Still stumped? Return to the Print Queue app and select Printer > Error Log. This launches the Console app and specifically opens an error_log file that lists possible causes of your print failure. The output is far from user-friendly. However, there may occasionally be some plain-English text that suggests what the issue is. For example, once I was able to figure out an improperly installed ink cartridge was to blame for my printing problems. All I needed to do was remove and correctly reinstall the cartridge.

7. Reset Printing System

Still waiting by the printer for a sheet of paper to appear? Return to the Print & Scan preferences pane one last time. Now Control-click (Right-click) the name of the printer to bring up its contextual menu. From the list of items, select Reset printing system.

As the subsequent dialog box informs you, this “will delete all of your existing printers, scanners, and faxes, and all of their pending jobs.” In other words, it will leave your printing status almost back to where it was when you first unboxed your Mac. This is not a pleasant prospect, but when all else fails it will work.

Expert:  GeekGal replied 1 year ago.

Please let me know how this works for you. If you need clarification on any of the steps or have additional questions I am happy to assist. I am committed to working with you until the problem is fully resolved.

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