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Useful Tips > How to Avoid Paper Jams

How to Avoid Paper Jams

Paper jams can be frustrating, not least when you are up against a deadline and really need your documents printed. The best medicine for a paper jam is prevention, and here we will discuss a few ways to keep your printer jam-free and humming.
The first thing to do is to make sure that you store your printer paper in a cool, dry place. When humidity builds up and dampens the paper, this can sometimes lead to the pages sticking together; if your printer attempts to pull multiple sheets at once, you can easily end up with a paper jam. Another related and very important tip is to always fan and flex your stack of printer paper before inserting it into your machine's document tray; this helps to loosen the sheets and prevent them from sticking together. Sticking Paper
It is also very important not to overfill your machine's paper tray. Luckily, most machines feature a marker of some sort on the interior side of the paper tray, almost like a high water mark, which tells you exactly how high you can stack up the paper in the tray. Stack Up the Paper
You should also pay close attention to the type of paper you are using. Be sure not to mix different media (such as photo paper or cardstock); you should only have one type of media loaded in your document tray at any one time, as stacking different media atop one another can easily lead to a jam. Many machines have separate input trays for different media, so it always helps to skim over your machine's documentation to make sure you are loading different media properly. Not to Mix Different Paper
It is also important, when using specialized paper, to check your print settings just before running a print job; most software allows you to select the type of media you are using from a dropdown list, which will help avoid jams that may arise from the printer pulling a certain type of sheet while expecting to pull another. One should also pay attention to the alignment slider in the paper tray, which should be adjusted to fit the size of the media you are loading.
One final tip for preventing paper jams is to always keep your printer clean; this includes cleaning up any spilled toner or ink as well as using a soft brush to gently clean out accumulated dust from within the machine. Over time, these debris can "gum up the works" and cause not only paper jams, but other mechanical errors as well. Also be sure to check your machine for any crumpled scraps of paper from previous jams, as these elements can cause the problem to persist.

However, if you do find yourself staring at the angry, flashing light on your printer warning you of a jam, simply follow the steps at the link below to clear the jam and get back to printing:

How to Clear a Printer Paper Jam?