How to Troubleshoot Printing Issues in Microsoft Word

782754 How to Troubleshoot Printing Issues in Microsoft Word

Printing documents from Microsoft Word is usually a straightforward process. However, sometimes issues can arise that prevent your documents from printing properly. Here are some of the most common printing issues in Word and how to troubleshoot them.

Common Printing Issues in Word

Here are some typical printing problems you may encounter in Word and what to check:

  • Blank pages – Check for hidden characters or text at the end of your document. Use the Show/Hide feature to display hidden characters.
  • Margins cut off – Your printer margins may be too small. Adjust the margins in Page Setup to be larger.
  • Error messages about margins – Your margins are set outside the printable area. Increase the margins to fit within your printer’s capabilities.
  • Text prints with letters missing or overlapping – Likely a printer driver issue. Update or reinstall your printer driver.
  • Part of document doesn’t print – Sections of your document may have different margins or page setups. Check all sections.
  • Large documents won’t print – Your document file may be corrupted. Try saving it as a PDF and print the PDF version.

Troubleshooting Steps

Try these troubleshooting tips if you run into printing issues with Word:

1. Check Printer and Connection

  • Verify the printer is turned on and connected to your computer.
  • Check that paper and ink/toner levels are adequate.
  • Confirm cables between the printer and computer are securely connected.
  • For wireless printers, ensure the printer is connected to the same network as your computer.

2. Check Printer Settings

  • Open printing preferences and confirm paper size, orientation, and other settings are correct.
  • Verify the correct printer is set as the default.
  • Print a test page to narrow down printer vs. software issues.

3. Update Printer Driver

  • Go to the printer manufacturer’s website and update the driver.
  • Or use Windows Update to automatically install an updated driver.

4. Disable Background Printing

  • Background printing can sometimes cause issues.
  • Go to File > Options > Advanced and uncheck “Allow background printing.”

5. Convert to PDF

  • Try saving your Word document as a PDF.
  • If it prints properly as a PDF, then there may be issues with the Word document itself.

6. Disable Word Add-ins/Extensions

  • Add-ins can sometimes cause printing problems in Word.
  • Go to File > Options > Add-Ins and disable any add-ins. Then try printing again.

7. Create New Document

  • Issues may exist within the Word file causing printing problems.
  • Try creating a new blank Word document and copy-pasting your content into it.

8. Reset Print Spooler

  • The print spooler queues and manages print jobs. Resetting it can clear issues.
  • Type “services.msc” and right-click the Print Spooler service to restart it.

9. Repair Office Installation

  • Corruption in your Office installation could prevent Word docs from printing properly.
  • Go to Control Panel > Programs > Uninstall a Program and select Repair on your Office entry.

10. Contact Printer Manufacturer

  • If you still can’t resolve the printing issues, contact the printer manufacturer.
  • Provide the make and model and explain the problems to get assistance troubleshooting.

Tips to Avoid Printing Problems

Here are some tips to help avoid printing issues when working with Word documents:

  • Review documents in Print Preview mode before printing
  • Enable Show/Hide to check for hidden formatting characters
  • Set document properties like paper size and margins properly
  • Break large documents into smaller sections to print more easily
  • Clean print heads on printers regularly to maintain print quality
  • Only install trusted add-ins and printer software from official sources
  • Keep both Office and printer drivers updated to latest versions


With Word being used to create important documents, presentations, letters, and more, printing problems can bring productivity to a standstill. By methodically checking printer connections, software settings, drivers, print spoolers, and the Word documents themselves, you can troubleshoot and solve most common printing issues. Just go step-by-step until you isolate the cause, apply the appropriate fix, and get your printer working again.