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Why does my printer print yellow?

Why does my printer print yellow?

If your printer seems to be printing predominately in yellow, the majority of the time it is not anything to do with the yellow cartridge. What you are likely to be looking at is the absence of another colour from your prints giving this strange effect.

Why is my printer printing yellow not red?

It is most likely that your image is yellow where you were expecting it to be red and you may also notice that blue parts of the image appear turquoise instead.
festival-11Magenta Missing

Both of these effects are caused by a lack of magenta ink/toner on your prints. Magenta is added to both cyan and yellow to create these common colours. To see how the colours combine check out the colour mixing diagram below.

CY-CMYWhy is my printer printing yellow not green?

This is a much rarer print quality problem and the results are much more subtle due to it not affecting common colours to the same extent. If your prints do not look quite right or have more pink than expected please see the image below.

festival-11Cyan Missing

Greens in your photos that look less vibrant or a strong pinky tinge to your prints is likely being caused by an absence of cyan ink/toner being printed. Other less noticeable inconsistencies are likely to also be present.


What can I do to solve this?

As discussed problems with colours not being printed accurately are likely to be caused by a single colour not being dispensed by your printer. So we can say with certainty which colour is the culprit I recommend first printing a ‘Test Print’ or ‘Nozzle Check’ from your printer to break down the 3+ colours your printer uses. From here it should be easy to identify the problem.

The method of producing these sheets and how your printer refers to them depending upon the make and model of the printer. If you struggle to locate the facility to do this I would recommend printing our very own ‘Colour Inkjet Printer Test Page’ or ‘Colour Laser Printer Test Page’.

For owners of inkjet printers I would recommend reading the short article I wrote on the subject of missing colours that you can find linked here. If however you have a laser printer all I can recommend is getting the toner cartridge replaced.

I hope you have found this article useful, if however you have any further questions please let us know in the comments below.

About the author

I have been involved in the printer industry since I was 18 and have been an employee of Refresh Cartridges since early 2009. I am a dedicated family man, gamer, music fan and friend to all. I write the majority of the content here on Igloo and am responsible for its upkeep.

Refresh Cartridges


  1. Sharon Lakin

    Hi, my xerox 6210 laser printer is only printing yellow and black. I've replaced both the cyan and magenta cartridges and nothing has changed. Any ideas? Thanks

  2. faithfasinista

    My printer is a HP Deskjet and it is printing every page yellow and I can barely see whats printed. We don't have anymore black ink but we just bought color not to long ago and it still says its full but it only prints pages yellow. Do you know why?

  3. samaa

    i just installed new ink cartridges and now its printing everything yellow (ps: canon pixma 1P2700)

  4. Amélie

    I have a Canon LBP5050n and a new computer. I want to install the drivers for the printer on this computer. I couldn’t find the original disks so I installed from the Canon site with the right printer software. The printing worked but came out with an all yellow background which leaves yellow tones on the photo’s and other printing. I found the disks and installed them. Still the same problem. So I came here and did the test print from the orignal printer settings. That came out white with black lettering, like it should – no yellow background.

    But when I print from word, it’s still yellow. I printed direct from my images library, and it does the same.

    When I go to the pc settings and into the devices – printers and then to hardware specifics, it says that it is working as it should. Which is clearly not the case.

    Do you know where the problem comes from and can you help me?

  5. Amélie

    By the way.. it doesn’t need refilling of the cartridges. Everything is full.

  6. berna

    our printer prints yellow only. Inks were full the only problem is the hose. the ink goes down and it doesnt reachthe cartridge. what will i do to fix it? thank you

  7. Nita Garland

    My Canon i960 has been sitting up for awhile. Tossed all old cartridges and replaced with new. Now all photos have a yellow tint. What to do to solve? none

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