Understanding why your printer is showing offline and how to get it back online can be frustrating. This guide will walk you through the common reasons a printer shows offline along with the steps to troubleshoot and resolve the issue on Windows and Mac devices. Follow these best practices to get your printer back online and printing.
Common Causes of a Printer Showing Offline
There are several common causes for a printer showing up as offline:
Printer Is Physically Disconnected
The most straightforward reason your printer may show offline is if it has become physically disconnected from the computer or network.
- On Windows, make sure the USB cable is securely plugged into both the printer and computer if connecting directly.
- For wireless printers, ensure the printer has power and is still connected to the local WiFi network.
Print Spooler Service Disabled or Errors
The print spooler is the Windows service that manages printer connections. If disabled or encountering errors, this can cause offline printer issues.
Outdated Printer Drivers
Using outdated printer drivers can lead to connectivity issues causing printer offline problems.
Network Connectivity Issues
For wireless or networked printers, any disruptions, interference, or connectivity problems in the network can result in a printer displaying offline.
Fixing Common Printer Offline Issues on Windows
On Windows PCs, you can troubleshoot an offline printer using these steps:
Restart Computer and Printer
Often simply restarting the computer and power cycling the printer will resolve temporary connection problems:
- Restart computer – Shut down and power back on the Windows PC.
- Restart printer – Turn the printer off and then back on.
- Run print test – Try sending a print test page to see if the offline status clears.
Enable Print Spooler Service
- Open Services via the Windows start menu search box.
- Check status of Print Spooler. If disabled, right-click and select Properties.
- From Properties, Startup Type should be Automatic.
- Click Start under Service Status to restart service.
- Restart computer and check if printer is showing online.
Update Printer Drivers
Outdated printer drivers can cause connection issues. Updating to current drivers may fix problems:
- Open Devices and Printers.
- Right-click your printer > Printer Properties.
- Select the Advanced tab > New Driver.
- Update Driver software automatically.
- Follow prompts to update and restart your printer.
Run Troubleshooting Wizard
Windows includes automated printer troubleshooting tools:
- Open Windows Settings > Devices > Printers & Scanners.
- Click printer showing offline.
- Select Manage > Troubleshoot to run troubleshooting wizard.
- Restart devices and check if the offline status has cleared.
Check Network Connections
For networked or wireless printers, connectivity issues could cause printing problems:
- Verify WiFi network is working correctly.
- Power cycle wireless router/access point hardware.
- Connect computer directly to printer to test.
- Check cable connections and blink codes on wireless printer.
- Review router security settings if connecting printer wirelessly.
Recheck network connections to isolate source of communication issues with a network printer.
Troubleshooting Offline Printer Issues on Mac
On Mac OS, you can troubleshoot an offline printer status using these steps:
Check System Preferences
Confirm printer is still correctly added in System Preferences:
- Go to Apple Menu > System Preferences > Printers & Scanners.
- Click printer and check connectivity status.
- Remove and re-add the printer if showing offline.
Restart Printer Hardware
Simple printer and Mac restart:
- Power cycle printer hardware and restart Mac computer.
- Try printing a test page.
Update Printer Software
Outdated software drivers can affect connectivity:
- Check and install any updates available for your printer model.
- From System Preferences, remove and then re-add printer to refresh driver.
Reset Print System Service
- From Printers & Scanners, click the settings icon below the list.
- Choose Reset print system to restore default printer settings.
Eliminate Network Issues
For wireless or networked Mac printers:
- Verify the Mac WiFi connection is working normally.
- Check your router connectivity and settings when networked.
- Plug the Mac directly into the printer to isolate issues.
Key Takeaway Tips
To quickly troubleshoot and fix an offline printer:
- Restart the computer, printer hardware, and print services.
- Ensure printer drivers are updated.
- Check physical cable connections.
- Test network connectivity to isolate WiFi issues.
- Enable any disabled services and clear queued jobs.
- Run automated printer troubleshooting utilities.
Following these best practices will help identify and resolve offline printer problems for smooth printing.
Fixing a printer that shows offline can be tedious but is usually possible with some targeted troubleshooting techniques. The most common issues involve physical connectivity, the print service, outdated drivers, network issues, or simple restarts to refresh connections. Follow the step-by-step guides outlined here based on your Windows or Mac operating system to resolve problems and get your offline printer back online and ready for reliable printing once again.
- Why does my printer say it is offline when it is connected?
There may be errors with the printer software, drivers or print spooler service even if physically connected. Try restarting the computer and printer or updating the drivers.
- How do I fix my printer offline status?
To fix an offline printer status, restart devices, check physical connections, update printer software, enable print services, clear job queue, and run printer troubleshooting wizards.
- What do I do if my wireless printer says offline?
If a wireless printer shows offline, power cycle devices, ensure the printer is connected to internet, check router/access points for connectivity issues, and try a direct connection to isolate WiFi problems.
- Why does my Mac say the printer is not connected?
If your Mac printer shows not connected, restart Mac and printer, check System Preferences for connectivity, re-add printer to refresh connection, reset print system service, and rule out WiFi issues.
- How do I troubleshoot an offline printer?
To troubleshoot an offline printer, start with physical connections, then check print services, update drivers, test network connections, clear printer queue, run troubleshooting wizards, and ultimately reinstall printer if still having issues.
- What causes my printer to go offline in Windows?
Common causes a Windows printer offline error are physical cable disconnections, disabled print spooler service, outdated drivers, Windows updates/crashes, network issues like WiFi or firewall blocks, queued jobs, or malware.
- Why does my printer keep going offline?
If a printer repeatedly goes offline, try a newer USB cable if connecting directly, update printer drivers, move device closer to router for better WiFi signal, or rule out intermittent network connectivity issues.
- How do I get my printer back online without unplugging?
To get a printer back online without unplugging on Windows or Mac, restart the computer/device, print system services, check driver version and system software updates, clear the print queue, and run troubleshooting utilities.
- How do I fix printer offline error 0x00000709?
Printer error 0x00000709 on Windows often indicates print spooler issues. To resolve, restart print spooler service, update drivers, change printer port settings, or uninstall and reinstall printer using wizard.
- What does it mean when printer says offline Google Cloud Print?
If Google Cloud Print managed printer shows offline, disconnect and reconnect account. Also try assigning a static IP to printer, whitelist ports, or reboot router and printer.
- My printer says offline but prints?
If printer status shows offline but still prints, it could be a bug/glitch with operating system reporting connectivity or delayed status updates rather than an actual communication error.
- Why does my Canon printer say offline?
Specific reasons a Canon printer goes offline include WiFi instability, print head issues, outdated software drivers, disabled printer services, and problems with their printer assistant utility.
- How do I get my Epson printer back online?
To get Epson printer back online, power cycle devices, verify WiFi connectivity, uninstall and reinstall drivers in device manager, disable universal print and firewall protections, and update firmware.
- What does offline printer queue mean?
An offline printer queue status in Windows means print jobs get saved or spooled to disc rather accuracy printed. Reasons include the print spooler service not running, network connectivity issues, or printer errors.
- Why does my HP printer go offline so much?
Frequent HP printer offline errors often relate to problems with firewall software blocking connections, outdated drivers, buggy firmware updates, or intermittent WiFi connectivity problems.
- How do I get my printer online from my phone?
To get printer back online from mobile, restart router and printer, reinstall printer app, forget printer network and reconnect, toggle airplane mode, or connect phone directly to printer WiFi signal.
- Where is offline printer settings in Windows 10?
In Windows 10, main printer offline settings are located in Devices > Printers & Scanners section of the Settings app. Right-click printer for troubleshooting options.
- How do I change my printer from offline to online?
To change printer from offline to online, open devices and printers menu, right-click the printer showing offline and choose “use printer online”. Also restart computer and printer.
- How do I unlock my offline printer?
To unlock an offline printer, open system preferences or devices menu, remove and re-add the printer so software reinstalls, then print a test page. Also update drivers and reboot devices.
- 20. Can a printer go offline if unplugged?
Yes, printers may show up as offline in device manager if physically unplugged from computer or disconnected from WiFi network. Check cable and power connections first before troubleshooting software issues.