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Why won’t my word document print in colour?

Trying to print a color Word document but ending up with black and white pages is frustrating. There are several potential reasons why your color Word document prints in black and white instead of preserving the original colors.

Check Printer Settings

The most common reason for a Word document printing in black and white instead of color is incorrect printer settings. Here are some things to check in your printer settings:

  • Make sure the print quality is not set to “Draft” or “Black and White.” Choose a higher quality setting like “Normal” or “Best.”
  • Check that “Grayscale” is not selected under color options. Choose “Color” instead.
  • Toggle off any “Black and White” or “Monochrome” print options.
  • Disable any Eco print modes which may default to black and white printing to save ink.

Adjusting these printer settings and choosing color options should allow your Word document with colors to print properly.

Check Word Program Settings

If adjusting printer settings does not work, the issue may lie in your Word program settings instead:

  • Go to File > Options > Advanced in Word and scroll down to the Print section.
  • Make sure “Print in grayscale” is unchecked.
  • Click on the button that says “Print Colors as Black” and choose “Stop Grays from Printing as Black.”

These simple Word program tweaks should stop forcing black and white printing and allow colors to print correctly.

Update Printer Drivers

Outdated printer drivers can also cause color printing problems from Word. Follow these steps to update drivers:

  1. Open Devices and Printers on your computer.
  2. Right click on your printer and choose “Printer Properties.”
  3. Go to the Advanced tab and click “Print Driver Update.”
  4. Check for updates online and install any available driver updates.

Updated printer drivers will ensure maximum compatibility with Word and optimize color printing capabilities.

Check Print Preview

Before printing, use File > Print in Word then check the print preview. The preview will show you exactly how the document will print. If colors show properly in print preview but not on the actual printed pages, the issue is likely with your printer hardware or ink.

Change Printer Ink

Low ink levels, especially in color ink cartridges like cyan, magenta and yellow can prevent full color printing. If your printer preview shows color but prints come out in black and white, try installing new ink cartridges.

Clean the Print Heads

Built up dried ink or debris on your printer heads can block color ink from being applied on the page. Carefully clean the print heads according to your manufacturer’s directions to unclog them.

Align the Print Heads

Misaligned print heads can lead to color printing problems from Word by applying inks incorrectly. Running an alignment and calibration routine through your printer software can help realign print heads for proper color document printing.

Check Paper Settings

Certain paper types like envelopes or letterhead may default to black and white printing only. Switch to plain white printer paper and see if your color Word printing improves.

Change Printer Model

Very old printer models may not support color printing capability anymore, especially on newer operating systems. Upgrading to a newer printer designed for color printing may be required if all else fails.


Troubleshooting and methodically working through printer settings, Word settings, drivers, ink levels, print head cleaning, alignment, paper and possibly upgrading printers can help solve the issue of Word documents printing in black and white instead of color. Carefully go through each step outlined above to identify and correct the cause so you can resume printing your color Word documents.

Here is a summary of the key steps covered in this article:

Section Summary
Check Printer Settings Adjust quality, color mode, eco settings
Check Word Settings Uncheck grayscale, stop grays printing as black
Update Printer Drivers Get latest drivers for compatibility
Check Print Preview Confirm colors before actual printing
Change Printer Ink Low ink can prevent color printing
Clean Print Heads Remove dried ink clogging color
Align Print Heads Realign for proper color ink application
Check Paper Settings Switch to white paper from envelopes, etc
Change Printer Model Upgrade old printers lacking color support