How to Fix It When Your Printer Is Offline

Solutions to get your printer jobs moving again

How to Fix It When Your Printer Is Offline

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In order to apply the right 'printer offline' fix, pinpointing the cause is essential. While getting a printer back online is typically a quick and painless solution, there could be one of several factors at the root of the problem.

To troubleshoot a printer showing offline, starting with the simplest, most common causes and working up to less likely yet potential issues could save time and frustration.

These instructions apply to Windows 10, 8, and 7 as well as Mac OS X 10.5 or later.

Causes for Printer Showing Offline

A number of things can cause your printer to show offline. Any of these may be the culprit:

Cables not seated correctly.
Driver not installed, not updated, or corrupted.
Incorrect settings.
Open or incomplete print jobs that have caused an error.

Printer Offline Fix for Windows

Before beginning the troubleshooting process, make sure the printer is connected to a working power outlet and that it's powered on and operational. If it's displaying any error messages, flashing lights, or has no lights on at all, refer to the manufacturer's documentation for further assistance.

When you have confirmed that it is powered on and running but still not online, begin the process of finding the cause.

  1. Power cycle the printer. It might be trite, but turning it off and on again often fixes many issues, including a printer showing offline. Turn the printer off, unplug it, wait 30 seconds and plug it back in. Turn it on and try again. If it still shows offline, continue troubleshooting.

  2. Check the printer's connection to the computer or to the network. If it is physically connected to the computer, make sure all cables are securely plugged in. If it is a wireless printer, check to ensure it is connected to the network.

    Many printers have an option to test wireless connectivity. Check the printer manufacturer's website to find out if your model has this option. If so, run a connectivity test to ensure it is properly connected.

  3. Make sure the printer is not set to Use Printer Offline.

    Printer showing offline in Windows.

    In Windows 10, type printers in the search box and select Printers & Scanners. In Windows 7 or 8, select Start, go to Control Panel and choose Devices and Printers.

    Then, select the printer and choose Open Queue. Select the Printer tab of the dialog box. Select Use Printer Offline if it has a checkmark beside it to put the printer back online.

    Screenshot of Printer tab with Use Printer Offline selected
  4. Update the driver to make sure the most recent driver for your printer is installed. An outdated or incompatible driver can cause your printer to show offline, so updating the driver could solve the problem.

  5. Uninstall and then reinstall the printer to get a fresh start.

  1. In Windows 10, type printers in the search box and select Printers & Scanners. In Windows 7 or 8, search for features, and then select Programs and Features or Apps & Features.
  2. Select the printer that is showing offline and choose Remove or Uninstall.
  3. Follow the onscreen instructions to complete the uninstall.

Once the printer has been completely uninstalled, restart your computer and then reinstall the printer.

Printer Offline Fix for Mac

After verifying that the printer is powered on, running, and not displaying errors but the machine still not online, begin troubleshooting.

  1. Make sure the printer is set as the default. It's possible that a different printer is set to default, which could kick the printer you want to use offline. To set a printer as default:

    1. Select Apple Menu and choose System Preferences.
    2. Select Print & Fax, Print & Scan or Printers & Scanners.
    3. If the printer is not the default, select Default Printer from the drop-down menu.

    Try again and continue troubleshooting if it is still offline.

  2. Delete any open print jobs. An open print job may create an error that prevents the printer from connecting to the network to accept new print jobs. To delete an open print job:

    1. Select System Preferences from the Apple Menu and then choose Print & Fax, Print & Scan or Printers & Scanners.
    2. Select the printer and choose Open Print Queue.
    3. Select and delete any print jobs listed.

    Try again and continue troubleshooting if the printer is still offline.

  3. Check the printer's status. Select the printer icon and choose Open Print Queue. If an error is displayed, refer to the manufacturer for further assistance.

     

  4. Delete and register the printer icon again. Select the printer icon and then click the - (minus) button to delete the printer icon. Click Add to register the printer icon again.

  5. If all else fails, reset the Mac's printing system.

Resetting the print system should be a last resort because it will remove or delete a number of permissions and settings.