BIS | Office Systems Blog


The latest insights and thoughts from BIS Office Systems.

Specify Alternate Text

We’ve all been there. You’re ready to walk out the door for your next presentation, you print the last bits to take with you, and wham! - a paper jam decides to insert itself into your pressing schedule. While there’s a variety of reasons why paper jams can happen, they always seem to occur at the worst possible time. As much as we may hate to hear it, a jam is not always the machine’s fault. 


In fact, most paper jams are preventable with proper use and prevention training.


This article is meant to equip you with some tools and insights to combat these trying moments head on and ultimately prevent repeat occurrences. Here’s a handy overview of the top 10 tips to keep your printers and copiers running smoothly:


1. Always thumb through your originals before placing them into the top or side feeder.

Be sure to look for frayed edges or bent corners that need to be separated, and of course, double check that all staples have been removed. It’s also very important to make sure that your originals are ‎loaded in a nice straight stack. 

2. Check the alignment of slider and tray.

If you’re using a smaller, personal-sized printer for printing checks, or when using the manual feed tray, make sure you have the paper loaded and pushed all the way back to the guards and that the slider is properly positioned for the correct size paper you’re using. 

3. Start with good quality paper.

  • If you have a machine that is jamming, take a look at the quality of the paper. Lower quality papers tend to create jams more frequently and create something technicians refer to as “paper dust” throughout the paper path, which causes even more jamming and quality issues. 


•High quality paper has some grain to it which enables the printer or copier rollers to grab the paper properly.

 Typically, the heavier the paper weight, the more grain it has. 

•High quality paper has a high opacity (can’t be seen through). 

The standard minimum weight of paper is 20 lbs. and 24 lbs. if it’s being used in a laser printer.


  • 4. Always load the paper facing “up” in the paper drawers.

    Use the natural curl of the paper to your advantage and be sure to fan fresh paper before loading into the paper drawer. 

    5. Don’t overload sheet capacity.

    Remember, less is best! Reduce the number of papers from the tray and avoid overloading the paper container. The paper feeders need room to maneuver and when it’s a tight stack of paper, very often more than one piece of paper will be grabbed.

    6. Regular maintenance.

    Even if you’re not a tech person, look under the hood to make sure there are no remnants from previous jams. Monitoring for any dust, ink or toner buildup is a good practice to follow to ensure smooth printing. 

    7. Don’t mix-n-match.

    This is probably one of the most common errors which causes printer problems and can easily be avoided. When different types of papers are mixed together in the tray, the rollers inside can get tripped up by going back and forth from different weights and textures. To reduce paper jams, this should be avoided.

    8. Power your print device from its own dedicated circuit.

    If your printer, copier, or MFP is sharing a circuit with another large appliance, there is potential for power surges, which can cause both short and long term problems as the system tries to maintain a constant level of energy.

    9. Store paper in a cool, dry place.

    Check the condition of the paper often to make sure both the stored reams and the paper in the machine are kept away from humidity. If you live/work in a humid climate that’s not as climate controlled as you’d prefer, it’s advisable to leave the paper in the tray for only one day or as few hours as possible at a time. When not in use, the paper can be stored in a sealed plastic bag for protection. 

    10. Clean the rollers.

    Cleaning the rollers is a very helpful way you can assist with keeping the printer working its best. Using a soft cloth or a cotton swab that is lightly moistened with alcohol, you can gently remove residual paper dust by manually turning the rollers to clean all sides. 

    Understandably, it may seem that your printers may have a mind of their own and wait to haunt you at the most inopportune time. Using good quality paper, having the system maintained on a regular basis and properly training users will go a long way.
  • At BIS Office Systems, our goal is to not only bring professional service and quality products to your workplace, but help ease your day to day operations. Additionally, our managed services and repair technicians are always available to provide hands-on solutions for your workplace needs. Call us today at 251-476-3113 for a free, no hassle, no obligation evaluation and in-depth assessment of your workplace printing needs.