Have you wondered how to increase darkness in HP Printers so that the overall print quality on the documents is not just great but also has an impact. Whether you’re a business owner or simply have a printer for your personal use, the quality of your printed documents is paramount.

As a business owner, you need to produce high-quality documents that are readable and presentable at all times. The darkness or lightness of your printer is essential and determines the visibility of your memos, invoices, contracts, or documents.

In this article, you will learn how to increase darkness in HP printers. So, let’s start.

How To Increase Darkness in HP Printers

how to increase darkness in hp printer

You may have experienced some light printing problem with your printer, but you don’t know how to fix it. Before you begin anything, you should remember that as strong as your printer looks, it is easy to break.

You need to know what exactly to do by reading up on such issues before you attempt to fix any printing problem. Resolving an issue can be frustrating, especially when you don’t know what to do.

There are a few things you can try to fix the light/dark problem of your printer, without having to call tech support for hours:

1. Know your printer type

Before embarking on any printing fix you need to know what type of printer you have. Is it a laser or an Inkjet printer? Be sure what model it is before replacing or changing any settings.

Using the wrong instructions for your printer may permanently damage it. You probably already know the difference between these two types of printers.

  • Laser printers use toners and are used on a larger scale to print large volumes of documents.
  • Inkjet printers make use of ink to print and are used more for personal or casual purposes.

Although inkjet printers have more tonal range and depth, their ink dries up quickly, limiting the number of prints per cartridge.

On the other hand, laser printers don’t dry up like ink and allow you to print more per cartridge. Each printer has its benefits, and it is essential to know which works best for you depending on the purpose.

2. Check the toner density

Different reasons could cause a light printing problem, but the most common is the low density of the toner cartridge. You may also be running low on toner, or your settings aren’t fully optimised to print at the darkest.

  • When you notice a light printing issue, you should start by checking the toner level of your laser printer.
  • Often, the printer might not indicate or report low toner levels for whatever reason, so you need to check it manually. To do this, you’ll need to remove the toner cartridge and shake it a few times.
  • When inserted back and your next print comes out darker, then your printer’s toner density is low.
  • Replace the empty toner cartridge with a new one. If your documents still come out light, then the problem is not the empty cartridge.

For laser printers with multiple rounds, repeat the same process for each until you can confirm which is empty.

3. Optimise the print settings

You can improve the print output quality of your documents by optimising the print quality through settings. To do this, go to the printer’s utility program on the computer by opening the control panel and selecting the printer icon.

To adjust the darkness of a HP Printer, do the following:

  • On the control panel, select lighter/darker to see the current contrast setting.
  • Select the < or > to increase or reduce the darkness gradually.
  • Press start copy to save the selection and begin printing the present text.
  • Press menu/enter to save the setting without printing immediately.

Be careful to reduce or increase the toner density slowly. The higher you go, the more toner your printer uses, and the slower it prints documents.

This setting is only available for the current print job and lasts 2 minutes after printing then returns to default settings.

You can change the default settings by doing the following:

  • Go to the device Control Panel then press Menu/Enter.
  • Select copy setup and then press menu/enter.
  • Select the default light/dark, then press enter.
  • Use the < or > button to adjust the setting gradually.
  • Press menu/enter to save the settings.

4. Change the print quality

You can increase the print quality on your inkjet printer the same way you do on a laser printer. Adjust the light print problem of your printer by going to the properties settings on your computer.

The inkjet printer settings are slightly different from that of laser printers, and they have 3 features:

  • Draft
  • Normal
  • Best

Click on the “best” settings and make your desired changes, then save them. This process should do the trick and ensure that your prints are darker than before.

5. Adjust the ink volume

Since the question is about how to increase darkness in HP printers, it’s important for me to throw some light on this point.

  • Some inkjet printers have the option to select how much ink is needed to print your documents. You can find this in the advanced settings of your printer’s property controls.
  • It will appear like a slide bar, so you can adjust it up or down button to increase or reduce the ink used to print documents.

Increasing the ink volume means the printer will use more ink when writing. You will most likely have to change your ink cartridge a bit more often than usual.

How to Adjust Print Density from Light to Dark in Windows

We all know how annoying it can be to print an urgently needed document only for it to come out faint. This problem could make you appear unserious and not ready for business, or even if the text was for personal use.

You can adjust the print density on Windows from light to dark on your computer. You may have wondered around a bit but couldn’t get it right. Well, here is how you adjust the density with these easy steps.

1. For Windows 7 or Server 2008 R2

  • First, start by accessing the printers folder.
  • Once there, click start > hardware and sound.
  • Go to start > control panel > hardware and sound > device and printers.

2. For Windows Vista or Server 2008

  • Click on the start button.
  • Go to Control Panel > Hardware & Sound > Printers.

3. For Windows XP or Server 2003

Select any of the following, depending on what appears on your computer:

  • Click on start > settings > control panel > printers & faxes.
  • Click on start > control panel > printer & hardware > view installed printers.

4. For Windows 2000

  • Click start > settings > printers.
  • To adjust the toner density, select any of the options above depending on your computer’s Windows version.

Once you have selected your printer, follow these steps:

  • Select the printer and display the quality sheet on the settings screen.
  • Click advanced settings on the quality sheet.
  • Under advanced settings, click dialog box > list of settings > toner density > adjust > click on details.
  • Adjust the density for each colour. Click OK.
  • Click OK in (advanced settings) dialog box.

To change the toner save mode, follow these steps:

  • Select the print menu.
  • Select the printer in use.
  • Click preferences or properties.
  • Display the quality sheet on the printer settings screen.
  • Click Advanced settings.
  • On the displayed dialog box, see the list of settings > toner save/ draft mode.
  • Then click OK in the advanced settings dialog box.

You should note that the screens and mode of operations may be different, depending on your computer’s environment and these conditions:

  • The kind of printer in use and its firmware version, settings, and option configuration.
  • The kind of driver in use and its version.

These few steps should help you take care of whatever printing issues you may be having, based on your computers Windows OS.

5 Reasons You Might Have Light Printing Problems

Other issues may be the cause of your documents coming out faint. Sometimes we discover this problem a little too late when we require a vital invoice or memo.

The first thing you would do naturally is assume that your toner/ink has been exhausted, which could be right sometimes. If this is the case, then you will need to replace them with a new toner/ink cartridge.

This step should solve the problem, but in situations where it doesn’t, there might be other unseen causes for light prints. Here, we will discuss the most common reasons for light prints and how you can go about fixing them.

Most of these issues can be dealt with on your own without needing tech support, or, worse, having to buy a new printer.  These options can be pretty expensive, and a quick fix will not cost you as much as a new printer.

1. Low ink or toner levels

As already stated earlier, your printer could just be low on ink/toner.

You can check this on your computer by:

  • Going to the control panel and having a look at your printer properties/cartridge status.
  • This option should tell you the exact levels of your toner/ink, but not in all cases.

Note: Some printers do not have this option so you might have to check them out manually.

You might need to give your toner cartridge a little shake to redistribute the powder on the round. This necessary action will allow you to print some more pages before you need to replace it.

However, do not try this with an ink cartridge because you will spill ink all-over yourself. Gently shake your toner cartridge from sideways, to get the powder around.

2. Build-up on the toner

Toner buildup on the print roller might prevent the printer from printing properly.

To prevent this, do the following:

  • Run a printer cleaning sheet throughout the laser printer frequently.
  • Running the layer through your printer prevents the buildup and ensures your documents come out clean while keeping your printer fresh.

A manual drum cleaning done often will also prevent buildup. Open the printer’s front cover and remove the drum and printer cartridge.

Note: Be careful not to inhale the stray particles of the toner, as they may cause respiratory problems. Place the round on a blank piece of paper, proceed to clean the drum and cartridge with a damp cloth.

Clean the drum and cartridge gently, so you don’t cause any damages to the unit. After cleaning, put the drum and cartridge back into the printer.

3. The toner or ink density setting is low

The default settings of your printer’s ink or toner density could be below, which produces those light prints. Some printers allow you to adjust the thickness in the settings.

If your printer has the ink/toner density setting, you can follow the earlier above-listed steps. The processes listed above are the different Windows versions, so there should be something you can do about your print density.

4. Obstruction on the photoconductor

If something is stuck on the photoconductor of your laser printer, this could lead to faint quality prints. This obstruction could happen at any point, either during the shipping process or the packing.

To fix this, do the following:

  • First unplug your printer and then remove the photoconductor unit.
  • Wait for a little while then proceed to inspect the developer roll, including the top and bottom edges.
  • If there are tabs, remove them, then wipe the roller with a lint cloth.
  • Double-check that you’ve cleaned the unit properly.
  • Then install the photoconductor back.

Be sure that the rollers and assorted components are put back in place.

5. Blocked inkjet print head

After prolonged use, your inkjet print head could be blocked by particles or trapped air bubbles, preventing the ink from coming out correctly.

To sort this out, you can try cleaning the head through the setting on your computer:

  • Go to the control panel and select your inkjet printer.
  • Then click properties.
  • There, you will find the option called Print Head Cleaning.

This action will start the cleaning process of your printer’s print head. Once the process is complete, you should have darker print documents. If this still doesn’t work, then take out the ink cartridge for inspection. Do not shake the cartridge to avoid spilling ink on yourself.

Check the nozzle to make sure there isn’t any dried chunk of ink. If you do find any, clean the vent with a damp cloth gently but thoroughly.  Once done, insert the cartridge back and begin printing again, this should get the ink flowing better.


Hope you now know how to increase darkness in HP printers. Printing your documents should be as smooth and seamless as possible, but every now and then, you may face some print issues.

This is quite natural. If you’re facing a light print problem, then it’s not the end of the world. The simple steps listed above should get your printer back on track and have you printing all your documents in no time.

About the Author

Sobin Yesodharan

If we haven't met, I am Sobin. An avid adventurer and an outdoor person who loves writing, exercising, and pitching tent under starry skies. When I am not hiking in the woods, I write honest reviews about different products.

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