You’re trying to print out a black and white document, but your printer says you need color ink. Why, though? The document only needs black ink, right? While this can be frustrating, you can actually make your Canon printer print without the color cartridge.
Below, we’ll cover all the steps required to get you printing again without having to wait to buy and install a new color cartridge.
How to Make Your Canon Printer Print Without Color Cartridges
First, open the printer driver setup window on your desktop. You can do this by clicking on the printer icon or doing a manual search. (This link from Canon’s support page can help guide you through this step.) Once you’ve selected your printer:
- Navigate to the Page Setup tab.
- Select Print Options.
- Where it says Print With, choose Only PGBK (Black).
- Press OK.
Note: This may not work if you are printing on anything other than plain paper. You can click here to learn more about your options.
Printing without Color on Windows Operating Systems
If the above instructions didn’t work, you could follow these instructions if you have a Windows operating system. First, navigate to your system’s control panel. Then:
- Choose Devices and Printers.
- Right-click on your printer.
- Choose Printing Preferences.
- Go to the main tab.
- Choose Plain Paper where it says Media Type.
- Check the box next to Grayscale Printing and choose OK to confirm.
Printing without Color on iOS Operating Systems
First, click on the magnifying glass at the top right-hand corner of your screen and navigate to your printer’s control window. From there:
- Inside the application where you want to print, select File, then Print.
- Choose Quality & Media from the drop-down box.
- Select Plain Paper where it says Media Type.
- Check where it says Grayscale Printing.
- From Print Mode, choose Printing a composite document.
Printing without Color Using AirPrint
AirPrint is an application that allows you to print photos from your iPad, iPhone, iMac, and other related devices without having to download a driver. The Canon E4240, Canon G4200, and Canon G5010 are all compatible with AirPrint–although more Canon printers are as well.
If you’re using AirPrint and want to print without using a color cartridge:
- Choose Print on your document.
- Then, when you see the print menu, right next to where it says Copies, check the box that says Black & White. This should remedy your problem.
In general, you cannot print only using a black ink cartridge. However, this is not the case for everyone. If the above methods didn’t work, try printing your document as normal, then:
- Hold down the Resume/Cancel button on your printer for five seconds (in some models, this is the “Stop” button).
- Release the button after five seconds.
This is intended to be a quick fix when you urgently need to print something out. By using one cartridge for too long, you risk damaging your printer heads and sacrificing the clarity of future print-outs.
Avoid Printing without Color Cartridges if You Can
According to Canon, while you can print using only black ink, this comes with its downsides. One of the biggest things to keep in mind is that if your color ink cartridge is empty, you won’t be able to solely print in black. This might seem counterintuitive, but that’s because the color cartridges use ink (even if a small amount) to control the printer heads.
Additionally, printing only in black may sacrifice the clarity of any images.
These downsides could occur regardless of whether you’re printing from a PC, Mac, or mobile device.
So, depending on what type of operating system and printer you have, the steps for printing only in black differ. When choosing the step that’s right for you, consider your printer’s type, your computer, and what you want to print out.
The above steps are considered a “catch-all” list of instructions that can be applied to specific Canon printer models, such as:
With that said, you may need to follow a different set of steps, depending on the type of printer you have. For example, if you are using a Canon printer manufactured before 2017, you may need to follow different instructions; try checking your user manual for information about printing without color cartridges for your specific model.