Learning how to print without black ink might never have even crossed your mind.
I never gave it much thought beyond the occasional lurking question coming to mind at a random time.
Learning how to print without black is probably more useful than you may think it is. It can come to the rescue when you’d otherwise be stuck and will likely unlock new opportunities.
This guide will deal with all this and more. We’ll take a look at how to print without black ink on different types and brands of printers, and try to address some commonly faced issues.
We’ll also deal with some of the burning questions you might have, such as “How do I print a PDF to color?” and more.
The whole subject of printing can quickly become very confusing, especially if you’re a beginner or not so tech-savvy – so I’ll keep everything as clear and basic as possible.
There’s something for everyone to learn, so stick with me through to the end of the article and see what you go away with.
By the end of the guide, I expect you’ll have a firm grasp over how to print without ink across different brands of printers, and how to overcome some of the most common issues you could face along the way.
With all that said, let’s get into the guide!
Table of Contents
How to Print without Black Ink
There are many reasons why you might need to print without black ink. It could be that your ink cartridge is running out, or you only have different color ink in your storage.
This section will deal with the quickest and most common ways to print without black ink on some different printer brands and through different operating systems.
Let’s get into it!
How to Print without Ink Epson Printers
Bear in mind that you will need to be able to manually change the ink cartridge yourself. If you don’t know how to do this, go and find out first and then come back to this guide.
Here’s how to print without black ink on Epson printers:
- Open Control Panel and click on Devices and Printers
- Select your printer’s icon in the window and right-click on it
- Click on Properties
- Navigate to the ink set section and click on the Color option
- You’ll also need to do this if your black ink has run out
- Click on Apply
This is the easiest method to use a color cartridge as a monochrome color.
What to Do When Your Ink is Running Low?
Here’s what you need to do if you’re using Mac:
- Cancel or stop the current batch of printing
- Open the dialogue box in the Epson Printer Utility
- Open Driver Settings > Permit Temporary Black Printing
- From the print settings, navigate over to the media typesetting and click Plain Paper
- Select Grayscale from the list and click Ok
Here’s what to do if you’re on Windows:
- Cancel or stop the current batch of printing
- Open Printers and Devices and select your Epson Printer’s icon from the list
- Open the settings window for your printer
- Go over Quality Options
- Click on Plain Paper as the choice for Type Setting
- Head over to Print Options and check the Grayscale option then click Ok
These steps will make sure that all color printing is stopped and that less black ink is used.
You’ll be able to finish off your batch of printing while you wait for the new cartridge.
How to Print without Black Ink Canon Printers?
Here’s what to do when your printer runs out of black ink in your Canon printer.
You have a couple of choices to pick from. You can either replace the empty ink cartridge with a color ink cartridge.
Alternatively, you can set the computer to print from the color cartridge and ignore the empty black cartridge.
Here’s what to do on Mac:
- Right-click on your printer’s icon and select Properties
- In the list on the left-hand side of the panel, select Printer Options
- Under the Printer Features section, select Ink Type > Color
- Click Apply
This is what to do if you’re a Windows user:
- Open Control Panel > Devices and Printers
- Right-click on your printer’s icon and select Printing Preferences
- Navigate over to the Quick Setup tab and click the Grayscale
- Turn off (disable) duplex prints and borderless prints – if you need these, I’d suggest you do double-sided printing manually
- Select Plain Paper under media type and click Apply
How to Print without Black Ink HP Deskjet Printers
HP printers frequently need their ink replaced to avoid faded and greyish prints. Having fresh cartridges is also important if you’re taking on a huge printing project.
You don’t want to be left empty-handed halfway through the print and be forced to pause – and in some cases – cancel the print.
Bear in mind that you’ll be able to use grayscale printing and composite black printing to save the get more out of your current cartridge.
This section will deal with how to print without ink on HP printers.
Here’s what you’ll need to do (on Windows):
- Open Control Panel > Printers and Devices
- Right-click on your printer’s icon and open Properties
- Navigate to the Ink Set tab – here you’ll be able to choose different color options
- If you’re out of black ink and want to use a color set, select Color Set and then click Apply
This will let you use the color cartridge in your HP printer.
P.S. Before following these steps, you’ll need to make sure that your printer has a color cartridge. If it doesn’t, you probably won’t see the settings that you need to (as shown in the steps above).
How to Print Black with Color Ink?
This is a question that has crossed my mind a couple of times too. It’s an important question to be asking and needs to be answered in a couple of parts.
This section will break down the different things that need to be considered, and some of the terms that need to be used in order to fully understand this topic.
There are two main aspects of this topic to think about:
- Grayscale printing
- Composite printing
They both have different properties and requirements. Let’s deal with grayscale printing first.
What is Grayscale Printing?
Grayscale printing still uses black ink, but it tones down the intensity of the black color and makes it appear grey.
An interesting point of grayscale printing is that you can change the scale of grey colors that are displayed. This can give you awesome effects that are unique to grayscale printing.
Grayscale printing has limited uses as they aren’t always accepted as official and business documents.
The text can appear more faded and harder to read – which is often frowned upon. If you’re running a business, you’re better off pausing the printing and coming back to it once you have new black ink.
What is Composite Printing?
No, this isn’t 3D printing – although that would be an awesome way to print!
Composite printing deals with achieving the different levels of “black” colors by combining different colors.
There are various black colors that can be printed with modern composite printers:
- 100% black – this just uses straight-up black ink (black ink on white background)
- Overprint black – this is black ink used over various background colors
- Enriched blacks
The first two black colors are pretty easy to understand, but the enriched blacks need their own section to break down and discuss in more depth.
Rich black consists of 100% black and 60% cyan. The resulting effect is that the black appears “blacker” or “deeper”.
This is because the second color (often cyan) makes the black more dense and full.
Rich black should be used when black text straddles other information on the image and will avoid noticeable differences in the consistency and appearance of the black colors throughout the text.
This is achieved by printing over 3 process color (the colors under the black ink):
- 50% cyan
- 50% magenta
- 50% yellow
On top of this, you can place your black ink.
The result is the deepest and darkest black color that you’ll find in print. Bear in mind that not all printers are capable of this kind of enriched black print.
It’ll often lessen the amount of black ink that’s needed – though it’s more expensive and uses a fair amount of colored inks.
If one of the inks required is running low, then you won’t be able to print composite (with the exception of the black ink.
Both the rich black and super black options will let you get more out of black ink cartridge, but require that you have color cartridges that match the colors needed for these types of printing.
You should feel confident enough to decide what printer and type of printing suits you best.
Your choices are varied and will depend on the particular setup you have.
You’ll need to take a little time to experiment and work out the best system for you. The solution, if you’re low on ink, differs depending on your printer and the colors/settings you have available.
Now that you’ve learned how to print without black ink, you need to learn the exact setup that works for you – and gets you the results you want!