The Definitive Guide to Proper Printing Etiquette


The Jammer. The Machine Hog. The Break-It-And-Walk-Away Guy. These people don’t understand proper printing etiquette!

You know these people. They’re your co-workers...maybe even your loved ones. Help them to be better, more thoughtful printer users. Whenever you share something with another person — from a bathroom to a pair of scissors — there are certain rules of courtesy you need to adhere too. 

Sharing a printer in a group setting has its own set of guidelines. There's an unwritten code of printer etiquette that employees and students should follow to avoid inconveniencing their peers. We decided to put that code in writing to avoid confusion.

Proper Printing Etiquette

Fix Paper Jams

Shared printers and copiers are a lot like public toilets. Don’t clog it and walk away. It’s rude...and gross!

The same goes for paper jams in copy machines or printers. If the printer jams during your print job, fix it before you leave. 

If one of your peers uses the printer after you and encounters a paper jam, they may assume you either caused the jam or didn't resolve it. Always fix the paper jam!

Don’t know  how to fix a paper jam? Most machines will walk you through it, telling you which door to open and which set of rollers to check. If you’re still confused, go get the office guru to show you how. 

You know who I’m talking about; there’s always one or two people in an office who know how to fix the copier, install toner, and perform other mechanical tasks that confound fellow employees. Make this person your friend.

Restock Ink, Toner, and Paper

Do you ever leave the milk carton in the fridge with just a few drops left? If you are using an inkjet printer and it is out of ink, change the ink cartridge before leaving. 

If you are using a laser printer and it is out of toner, change the toner cartridge before leaving. If the paper is low, restock the paper.

Again, if one of your peers needs to print a document quickly and doesn’t have a lot of time to spare, restocking the ink and paper will be an inconvenience and you don’t want to be the person who left the printer without ink or paper.

Small Print Jobs First

Listen, we understand you need ten copies of that 100-page dissertation, but can you wait until lunch hour to print it? Maybe stay late and/or come in early? 

Big print jobs can clog up a printer during busy office hours. Wait until printer use is slow to print those big documents. And let co-workers who only have to print a page or two cut in line in front of you. 

There’s no reason to keep them waiting. Be kind, be courteous...respect the printing needs of others!

Promptly Pick up Print Jobs

When you print, promptly pick up your print job. Leaving your print job at the printer for any extended period of time creates unnecessary clutter at the printer. 

Also, if you do not promptly pick up your print job you run the risk of forgetting to pick it up entirely which is wasteful and leaves your peers not knowing what to do with the print job that has been left behind. 

When you print, always make sure to immediately pick up your print job.

Leave Default Settings

Ever go to make a single copy and the person before you printed 500 copies but forgot to reset the “number of copies” back to 1, and you’re suddenly dealing with a ream of unwanted paper spewing out of the machine? 

Yeah, it happens. But it doesn’t have to if you’re thoughtful enough to return the printer to its default settings after use. 

If you need to modify the default settings on the printer, always change them back once you are done printing.

Be A Printer Pal

All in all, printing etiquette is about consideration and taking your peers into account when printing. If you follow this guide to proper printing etiquette you should never be known as “that guy” or “that girl” by your printing peers!

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