The Microsoft Word logo.

There’s nothing more frustrating than working endless hours on a document only to be greeted with an error message when it’s time to print. Here are a few suggestions to get Word to work with your printer again.

Basic Checks

First, it’s a good idea to do some basic hardware checks to ensure everything is hooked up as it should be.

Here are a few things to check before we look at Word:

  • Make sure the USB cable that connects your PC to your printer is hooked up properly. If your printer is wireless, make sure it’s turned on.
  • Double-check the internet connection (wired or wireless).
  • Make sure the printer is plugged in and turned on.
  • See if there’s a paper jam.
  • Ensure your printer is compatible with your computer. Search Google and the printer manufacturer’s website for more information.

These might seem like obvious things to check, but they’re also easy to forget. It’s always best to try the basics first and avoid wasting time unnecessarily.

A Quick Solution

This tip won’t fix your printing issues, but it will allow you to print from your computer in a pinch. If you don’t have time to figure out what’s going on with Word, but really need to print a document, convert the file to a PDF. Then, you can print it from a different application.

To convert a Word document to a PDF, open the document you want to convert, click “File,” and then click “Save As” in the pane on the left.

You see a box that shows you the type of file the document is; click the arrow next to it. In the drop-down menu, click “PDF,” and then click “Save.”

Now, open the file in another program (like Acrobat) and print it.

Microsoft’s Printing Troubleshooter for Windows

Microsoft has a printing troubleshooter you can download. To get it, click the link in “Step 5” on the Microsoft support page.

Open the tool. On the homepage, you see basic information about what the software does; click “Next.”

The diagnosis runs. If the troubleshooter doesn’t find anything, Microsoft will suggest you run the tool as an Administrator—go ahead and do so.

A message appears that asks you to choose the printer with which you’re having issues. Select it, and then click “Next.”

The program runs the diagnosis and makes suggestions as it goes. When the troubleshooter is finished, try to print your Word document again.

Install the Latest Driver

Outdated drivers are often the cause of printing problems, so make sure yours is up to date. There are two ways you can do this. First, check the “Drivers” section on your printer manufacturer’s website for any driver updates.

RELATED: How to Manage a Printer in Windows 10

The second way is to update your PC because Windows might find an updated driver for your printer. To check for an update, click the Start button on your Windows PC, and then click the gear icon to open the “Settings” menu.

In the “Settings” window, click the last option on the list, “Update & Security.”

Click “Windows Update.”

If you’re on a Mac, click the Apple icon in the top-left corner, and then click “Software Update.”

When the update is complete, try to print your Word document again.

Remove and Reinstall a Printer in Windows

Another solution is to remove and reinstall your printer, as this will include all the latest updates.

RELATED: How to Install the Same Printer Twice (With Different Settings) on Windows

To remove your printer, click the Start button on your Windows PC, and then click the gear icon to open the “Settings” menu.

Click “Devices.”

Next, click “Printers & Scanners.”

Select the printer you want to remove from the list, and then click “Remove Device.”

Now, to reinstall the printer, click “Add a Printer or Scanner” at the top of the menu.

Select your printer from the list, and then click “Install.”

When the installation is complete, try to print your Word document.

Remove and Reinstall a Printer in MacOS

On a Mac, the process to remove and reinstall a printer is a bit different.

To get started, click the Apple icon in the top-left corner, and then select “System Preferences.”

Next, click “Printers & Scanners.”

Finally, select the printer you want to remove, and then click the minus sign (-) at the bottom of the screen to delete it.

To reinstall the printer, click the plus sign (+). Select your printer from the list that appears, and then click “Add.”

After you reinstall your printer, try again to print your Word document.

Low System Resources

Low system resources can definitely cause issues when you try to print a document.

To see if this is the problem in Windows, press the Windows key, and then type “resource monitor.” The Resource Monitor app appears in the results; press “Enter” to select it.

Press enter to open Resource Monitor.

On a Mac, this app is called “Activity Monitor.” To find it, press Command+Spacebar, and then type “Activity Monitor” in the Spotlight search bar.

After it opens, you can investigate if low system resources are causing your printing issues. The simplest way to find out is to restart your computer, and then try to print your Word document again.

These are just a few ways you can diagnose and fix printing issues in Word. However, there could be other causes we didn’t cover.

If you’ve experienced a printing issue with Word and resolved it, please share your tips in the comment section—it might help others who are dealing with the same problem.

Profile Photo for Marshall Gunnell Marshall Gunnell
Marshall is a writer with experience in the data storage industry. He worked at Synology, and most recently as CMO and technical staff writer at StorageReview. He's currently an API/Software Technical Writer based in Tokyo, Japan, runs VGKAMI and ITEnterpriser, and spends what little free time he has learning Japanese.
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