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5 Tips on How to Fix A Printer Paper Jam

When a piece of paper gets stuck in a printer, it can be a frustrating experience. But by following these five, proven tips, almost every paper jam can be fixed without any sophisticated technical support involved.

1. Turn Printer Off and On Again
The first thing to do when you see a paper jam up inside a printer is to reset the printer. This is done by fully pushing the button to turn it off, waiting at least 30 seconds, then pushing it back on again and waiting for all the internal electronic mechanisms to fully reset. By allowing it to reset this way, the thick black inner section of the printer where the sheet of paper slides through from the outside tray through the inside will start to propel itself forwards. This will gently advance the printer to continue printing.

2. Open Paper Tray Fully
You then need to open up the top paper tray as wide as it can go so that this allows the stuck sheet of paper to begin to loosen up between the internal metal edges of the inside roller mechanism. Keep it open and start to pry with your fingernails in short burst as much of the stuck sheet of paper as you can. You won’t make very much progress, but this is an essential step because it will dislodge the major crumpled and bent section of the paper sheet so that the next steps will allow you to fully clear the paper jam. Keep nudging the stuck sheet with your fingertips until it starts to wiggle loose.

3. Start Pulling From Front
Next, grab a small section of the stuck sheet if any is on the outside of the printer near the front loading try. In most paper jams, at least a small portion of the sheet of paper will have come through the front tray section. Make sure to only pull at the stuck sheet very slowly or else you’ll keep ripping it since it’s jammed inside so tightly. In the event that you do rip a small section, grab another section and repeat the slow pulling process. You’ll soon start to see the entire sheet of stuck paper slowly rolling its way through more towards the front of the printer. Pull as much as you can without ripping and you’ll have begun to really start clearing the stuck sheet.

4. Then Pull From Inside Top Section
Now you need to go back to the inside of the open printer and gently tug on the sheet of paper continuously until it keeps sliding through the metal and plastic roller mechanism. Keep tugging on the sheet with your fingertips. Don’t ever use a pliers or scissors as that will induce much too much force on the sheet and it will tear it to pieces, which is the last thing you want. Your goal here is to simply tug out the sheet in slow, gradual yanks and then you’ll see the entire sheet, including the crumpled, stuck sections continually advancing its way out towards the front of the printer into the exterior printer tray.

5. Keep Pressing Print to Clear It
This is the last step you must do. Now you must repeatedly press the print button on the printer itself. Each time you press print, you’ll see the now mostly cleared sheet of paper begin to advance forwards towards the external paper tray. It’s not uncommon to have to press print seven-ten times because the paper is still slightly stuck and with each printing step, so the paper is only going to advance an inch or so forwards. But after you’ve pressed print enough times, the entire sheet of formerly stuck paper, crumpled sections and all, will have fully come out of the printer and your jam will now have been cleared.

It’s simply a matter of persistence when utilizing these tips and the paper will definitely come all the way out. You should use these tips in the order they were presented for the best, most successful results for clearing a jammed printer.

About the author:
James Murray has been a writer all his life. As a technical writer he pioneered online documentation and wrote end-user documentation for several computer manufacturers. His manuals have been praised in PCMagazine and Wired, among others. During a 14 year career in the U.S. navy (as a carrier jet aviator) James wrote a number of technical and classified publications. James has also written two novels and one stage play.

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