How to Print on Dot Matrix Printer

By Ellis Davidson, eHow Contributor

Dot matrix printers are an older printer technology, but they are still used today for special functions. Dot matrix printers are a kind of impact printer, which can be used to print on specially stacked carbon paper, creating multiple copies simultaneously. Higher-end models also provide very high speed printing, faster than what is available from inkjet or similarly priced laser printers.


 Moderately Easy


    • Select a dot matrix printer that has connectors that are also available on your computer. Many dot matrix printers use older serial or parallel connections, which may not be included in newer computers. It will be much easier for you to connect a dot matrix printer to your computer, if you use or purchase a model that has USB connections.

    • Connect your dot matrix printer to your computer, using the included cabling. Plug one end of the cable into the dot matrix printer, and the other into the appropriate port on your computer. Do not force the cable. If it does not fit properly, it may be the wrong port for that cable.

    • Install the drivers for the dot matrix printer onto your computer. If these are not on a disc included with the printer, the drivers are usually available on the manufacturer’s website. (While computers come with many printer drivers installed, dot matrix printers are typically not included.) The drivers will come with an installer application. Launch the application from the disc, or from the downloaded files, and the installer will walk you through the process.

    • Print to your dot matrix printer from any application. If several printers are available to your computer, in the printer dialog box, make sure that you have selected the dot matrix printer.

Tips & Warnings

  • Before purchasing a dot matrix printer, check the manufacturer’s website to ensure that drivers for your computer and operating system are available.

How to Maintain an Inkjet Printers

By an eHow Contributor

Just like any other computer peripheral, you’ll want to perform some routine maintenance operations on your inkjet printer to maintain print quality and prolong its life. Here are a few quick measures to take to help maintain an inkjet printer.


 Moderately Easy


Things You’ll Need

  • Inkjet printer
    • Replace ink tanks. Your computer will let you know when you are running low on ink. Keep printing as normal, but have a spare tank on hand for the corresponding color. Wait until the tank is empty before you replace the tank.
    • Check nozzles. This can be done by running a self-test (see manual) or through your computer.

      For Windows, click Start | Control Panel | Printers and then right click your printer and select properties. Select the maintenance tab and choose nozzle test.

      For Macintosh, from any program that prints select File | Page Setup then click “Utilities” and select “Test print” from the drop down menu. Click “Nozzle Test.” On the test page, look for unevenness in color or missing lines. These indicate that the print heads need cleaning or alignment.

    • Clean print heads. Access the printer maintenance page as in step 2 and select the “Cleaning” option.

    • Align print heads. Access the printer maintenance page and select the option for “Print head alignment.”

    • Manually clean the printer. Make sure the printer is unplugged. Open the printer and use a dry lint-free cloth to gently wipe away any accumulated dust or stray drops of ink.

    • Update drivers. If your printer is a bit older than your computer you may need to check for driver updates or patches. Visit the manufacturer’s Web site and look on the tech support page for any relevant downloads.

    • Clear paper jams. It should be obvious if you have a paper jam (your printer won’t print). Always refer to the manual for the safest method of clearing jams. In general, be gentle and access the areas easily reachable by lifting a cover or removing a panel.

Tips & Warnings

  • Make sure you install the correct cartridges–write down your model number and ask for help at the store.
  • All operations require the printer to be properly loaded with paper.
  • Always check the manual for specific maintenance instructions.
  • Never use solvents or cleaners while wiping down the printer.
  • Print head cleaning and alignment takes a lot of ink, so only do it when necessary.

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