How To Fix Problem “Printer Offline”? – Troubleshooting Guide

Printers these days are much easier than ever to use. However, they can sometimes appear offline and unusable, even when everything is connected as it should be. So, how do you fix a printer that appears offline?

When your printer appears offline, turn it on and connect it to your computer. Doing that will return most printers to ‘online’ mode. However, if it’s still offline, it’s experiencing an error. So first, restart the printer and computer to allow both devices to clear any errors. Then, clear the print queue and update all printer software. Lastly, delete and reinstall the printer.

This guide will help you understand the reasons your printer is showing as offline. Then, you’ll discover the step-by-step process to fix the printer and get it back online.

Why Is My Printer Showing As Offline?

When a printer appears as ‘offline’, that means your computer can’t sense the device or communicate with it. As a result, the computer can’t send documents to the device to be printed.

An offline printer isn’t always a sign of a problem. For example, a printer will appear offline if turned off or has no incoming power supply.

However, a working printer can also appear offline if it has a problem that prevents the computer from communicating with it.

For instance, a printer will appear offline if there is a communication error, like a loose or disconnected cable. The same will also happen with wireless or WiFi printers that do not have a strong signal with your computer.

Besides that, the problem causing your printer to appear offline can also be software-related. For example, the printer’s driver or management software could be outdated and require an update.

Whatever the cause might be, you can’t use a printer with an offline status. You’ll have to resolve the root cause before you can continue using the printer like you usually do.

Read: Why HP Printer Not Communicating With Computer?

How Do I Get My Printer To Get Back Online?

Getting your printer back online isn’t always straightforward, but don’t worry. Here are 7 troubleshooting steps that you can follow to resolve the root cause, so your printer appears online again:

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#1 Check Power Supply

A power supply problem is the first thing to rule out when your printer is offline. You should start the troubleshooting process with this step as it’s the quickest to rule out and can save you lots of time.

Firstly, check that the printer’s power cable is plugged into a working wall socket. Then, the other end of that cable should be pushed completely into the printer’s power socket.

As you inspect the cable, please ensure that the cable isn’t loose. A loose cable can prevent the printer from staying on, causing its offline status.

Read: How To Connect Brother Printer To Wifi?

#2 Check Connections

Once you’re sure that your printer is powered and turned on, you should then proceed to check its connections.

For Wired Printer Connections

Let’s suppose you’re using a printer with a wired connection, like a USB cable. If that’s the case, ensure the cable isn’t loose at either end, whether at the printer or the computer.

Sometimes, the problem is with the computer’s USB port. So, try connecting the printer cable to another working USB port to see if that will fix the printer’s offline status.

For Wireless Printer Connections

However, if you’re using a wireless or WiFi connection, you must ensure that the signal is not experiencing any interference. 

#3 Restart Printer

In most cases, a stable power supply and connection to your printer should be enough to fix its offline status. However, restarting your printer might also be necessary.

Performing a restart on your printer doesn’t take much time at all. Firstly, turn the printer off and leave it alone for at least one minute.

After that time passes, turn the printer on again. Doing that will allow the printer to start over and clear any glitches or short-term errors that cause it to appear offline.

Read: Why Brother Wireless Printer Connected But Not Printing?

#4 Restart Computer

So far, troubleshooting steps #1 to #3 have been focused on the printer. But if the device still appears offline, the problem might not be with the printer at all. 

Instead, the root cause could be the computer connecting to it.

So, the fourth troubleshooting step would be to restart your computer. Much like step #3, restarting your computer allows it to reboot and clear any errors that prevent it from detecting an online printer.

#5 Clear Print Queue

After restarting your printer and computer, check the print queue. That queue keeps track of the documents you want to print before your computer sends the information to the printer.

In some cases, the print queue could be experiencing an error that causes the printer to stay ‘offline’ mistakenly.

Clearing the print queue can also update the printer’s status to ‘online’, allowing you to print new documents.

#6 Update Drivers And Apps

All printers rely on two types of software to communicate directly with your computer.

The first kind is called a driver, a software that converts your data to a form the printer can understand.

The second is the printer management app that the manufacturer includes with the printer. The app makes it much easier for you to monitor the printer’s ink levels and use its many features.

Both types of software must be updated from time to time. You can download the latest software by visiting the manufacturer’s website and downloading it there.

Software updates include fixes for software bugs and errors that cause the printer to appear offline even when everything is functioning correctly.

Read: How Long Can You Run A Paper Shredder?

#7 Delete And Reinstall Printer

Last but not least, you can delete and reinstall the printer from your computer. This step should only be a last resort after you’ve attempted steps #1 to #6, but the printer remains offline.

Sometimes, it’s too challenging to identify the error affecting your printer. So, deleting it from your computer and reinstalling it will allow the printer to start over with a clean slate.

Deleting the printer will clear any errors affecting it, allowing you to use it usually once more.

Read: Jammed Paper Shredder Won’t Feed Paper. How To Fix It?

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Here are a few more Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) to help you troubleshoot your offline printer:

Can You Update Printer Software?

Yes, you can update your printer software. Some printers will update their software automatically without any input from you. However, you can also do so manually by downloading the latest drivers and apps directly from the manufacturer’s website.

How Do I Find The Printer Driver?

The best way to find a printer driver is to visit the manufacturer’s website. Printer manufacturers have sections on their websites that list all available drivers and software. Simply choose the one that matches your printer model number and install it onto your computer.

How Do I Fix An Offline Printer Problem?

Firstly, ensure your printer is turned on and connected to your computer. Then, reset the printer and computer to see if that changes its status to ‘online’. If that doesn’t work, update the printer’s drivers and apps or reinstall the printer if necessary.

Why Does It Say My Printer Is Offline?

Your computer will say your printer is offline when it cannot communicate directly with the device. The most likely reason for that is the printer is turned off. However, a loose cabled or interrupted wireless connection can cause the same problem.

How Do I Get My Printer To Get Back Online?

Your printer will get back online if you ensure the printer is turned on and connected to your computer.

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