How to use the other black ink cartridge when one is empty on your Canon Pixma MX850 Printer!

How to use the other black ink cartridge when one is empty on your Canon Pixma MX850 Printer!

My Canon Pixma MX850 printer is one of the Canon series that uses the 4 small CLI-8 color cartridges (black, yellow, blue and magenta) and then has the large PGI-5 black cartridge, which is what the printer uses when printing regular black and white text. The smaller CLI-8 black cartridge is only used for printing photos and colored documents that require black coloration… now, in the world that us simple folk live in, you would think that if one black runs out, it would use the other black as a backup, right? Not so my friends, the Canon doesn’t use that kind of logic and there’s no way to bypass it within the printer’s menu. BUT FEAR NOT! With a couple of clicks, you can trick the printer in to using the other cartridge.

First off, this applies to when your large black cartridge is empty… the one used for printing standard black and white documents. So if you’re printing out your thesis at 4AM when everything is closed and run out of ink mid-way through, this will save your ink-starved derriere! Here’s how to force the printer to use the smaller ink cartridge:

  1. Click on print to get the print options window in whatever program you’re using… This is the window where you normally select the printer you want to use, how many copies etc.
  2. Within that window, you should see a link, button or icon that allows you to adjust the printer settings, such as paper, paper source, ink use etc.
  3. Switch the paper type from regular paper to “high resolution paper”.
  4. Click OK and close the settings window.
  5. Print your document.
  6. Post a comment on this postย telling me if it worked.
  7. Mail me your underwear a check.


Hope that helps someone out there!ย  It saved my ass last weekend when I had to print tickets with barcodes 20 minutes before leaving for the St. Sauveur Aquapark!


286 thoughts on “How to use the other black ink cartridge when one is empty on your Canon Pixma MX850 Printer!

  1. Mate you are a SAVIOUR! I have been trying to get around this problem for a LONG time! Annoying how the thing doesn’t even let you scan things if it runs out of ink, even send a fax, totally ridiculous, ink expensive and wish i had NEVER bought it.

    Badly need to send off some documents so a big thanks!

    1. Thanks Dan, i can finally use up the mountain of small black ink cartridges i have accumulated! Cheers mate ๐Ÿ™‚

      1. Thank you Thank you Thank you Dan. I too have a stack of black cartridges i need to use up before replacing the larger cartridge for printing black and white text. You have saved my life, as I can now hand in this resume on time!! Thank you so much, i am so glad i googled a dumb question! Karen

    2. How do solve this problem for the exact opposite? I just bought a huge black ink cartridge (PGBK225) thinking this is all that is needed to print in black on this Canon MG5200 series printer?

  2. hey man, thanks a bunch ๐Ÿ™‚ been having one of those ‘have to print something out in 10 mins but not enough time to get to printer shop’ crises! and im all good now ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. Legend, Thanks ๐Ÿ™‚

    I also had to pretend I had replaced the cartridge by taking it out and putting it back in before it would print.

  4. Can anyone tell me if there is a way to do the inverse? I have used up the smalll cartridge and need it to use the large one..

      1. I had previously switched text to be using the small cartridge. I have to print photos and my small black is almost out, the large one is full.Does this setting work for photos?

  5. This is a great workaround for those “must print” situations. I’ve been searching for this kind of solution for a while. Thanks!

  6. Dan, my MX850 will print only in green when printing out .pdf files or from the web. Any ideas what is wrong? Thank you Canon guru!

  7. Hi found a way from following your instructions to force printer to use the large black cartridge if the small black has run out.

    1. Change printer settings on pc to high resolution (I also changed to greyscale although this may make no difference so might not be needed)

    2. Hold down the “stop” for 5 secs to reset the printer

    This is as you say only a temporary fix to get you out of trouble.

    Thanks for you efforts ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. This doesn’t help, I can’t even find the option for high resolution on my printer, I’ve looked through everything. I’m on an MP560 but their not that different.

      1. Do not search for High resolution print. Search for High resolution PAPER ( =print media setting). It will work.

    2. Sarah sleet and Dan richards thanks so much you guys should run canon company and call it just easy common sense thank you thank you thank you
      ? ?

  8. I imagine it would, give it a shot.. just change from normal paper to photo paper and then if that fails try photo paper with highest quality print out.

  9. My printer was printing a blank page even though I had a FULL black cartridge, one of five. Along the lines you suggested, I had to selected ‘Photo Printing’, as opposed to ‘Standard’ and it worked. THANKS… Junior was able to print out his homework and hand it in.

    These printers now days are a total scam. Just another tip.. when my printer (Cannon MX880) says I’m out of ink, it stops printing and you feel like you want to cancel, but if I give it a few minutes, it starts printing and most of the time, the print looks good. It’s a total fake out scam, they just want to through away full cartridges and buy new. When are teachers going to accept emailed assignments for god sakes!!!

  10. Oh…my…god. Needed lyrics and a setlist for a gig. Ran out of blue and magenta when all I needed was BLACK ink (which I had PLENTY of). Followed instructions…loaded paper into the back tray and BAM! You just saved my musician in a cover band career!

    1. Dan, my underwear is in the mail. That solution seemed improbable, but worked magnificently. You also have saved the Canon headquarters from an unpleasant visit from me (in which I might have deposited less savory underwear).

      1. Oh, mine was a Canon MP530, and the empty cartridge was one of the color cartridges. Outrageous, since the two black cartridges are full, and the document was 100% black (text) to block the print job. I *never* would have figured out your solution. How did you happen on it?

  11. OMG….I can’t thank you enough!!!! Made a late late night run to Walmart at 1am only to be disappointed by them being out of ink ๐Ÿ™ I am so thankful that you made this post…..thank you!!!!!

  12. Genius! There’s a blockage on the printer head of my large black which means there are white strips all over my printout; you solved it. So here’s another solution I found; this works on my iP4000 but might work on other Canons too. Select-all your document and give it a faintly coloured background; if you go into custom colours you can give it a background so faint that it doesn’t actually print! This tricks the printer into using the colour head for the printout instead of the large mono head. Obviously it works best in Word docs, but if you get some cheap pdf editing software you could do it to pdfs as well perhaps.

  13. Actually, my problem was the other way around. All of my small cartridges were empty, except the big black one( which my printer doesn’t use alot of). There was absolutely nothing in the small black one. I followed your instructions, and it still worked for me. What a save and a relief from tons of trouble!

  14. Fantastic! I used your info and was finally able to get my Canon MX 860 to print. I can’t figure out why the printer will not (until using your trick) print using black ink. The colored inks are fine, just no black. All cartridges are new. From everything I’ve read … perhaps the large black nozzle is clogged. Any suggestions? The problem just came up suddenly. Thanks for your tip.

  15. Thannnnkkkkksssssss so much I’m working on my capstone i was about to have a heart attack. Such a life saver

  16. THANK YOU! I ran out of black ink and needed to print few shipping labels with bar-codes. I could pay for shipping in person but when printed on-line delivery confirmation is included for free with USPS First Class (eBay specifically). I tried saving labels to .pdf with “CutePDF Writer” and changing color with Photoshop to dark blue, but it was not sharp print so I doubt it would be scanned right. This is a GREAT tip you shared. Also, my printer is HP but it had option for highest resolution so I used that option and photo (highest) quality paper settings while printing on plain paper. Worked great!

  17. Here is another scenario: I want to print a document in BW. There is ink in the large BW cartridge, but two of the color cartridges are out (magenta and yellow). Printer is refusing to print since “ink may have run out” and pointing to Magenta and Yellow. I am trying to print in Greyscale. Any suggestions?

  18. GENIUS!! I had to replace a brand new PGI-5 black cartridge with my empty one to get anything to print. For some reason my new PGI-5 black cartridge won’t work and I have no idea why. Thanks for the help!!

  19. You are the MAN! Thank you so much, I have been cursing and struggling with this stupid printer for nearly an hour to print a crochet charrt. Now I can finally go and crochet my Dalek doily in peace. Thank you!

  20. Briliant! Did it on my Pixma 500. Had to pretend I had changed the cartridge like someone else did, so thanks to them too! Just saved me a twenty mile round trip.

  21. I have MP560. I tried same but not working. My big black tank still full but the colors are gone. I had Color Adjustment set to Manual, black. It worked for some time but now it does not at all. Once clicked Print button, a popup window jumped out with two options: “Shop Now” or “Cancel Printing”. Anyone has more suggestion?

  22. Worked like a charm on my Canon Pixma MX712, thanks! My big black tank was dry but the small tank was nearly full. I didn’t have to do anything else than select Paper Source -> Other Papers -> High Resolution Paper. Thanks!

  23. I have a canon MG 5150, big cartridge ran out. Had to put paper in read tray, change to high resolution paper and set it to high quality standard. Took about 2 minutes a page to print, but it works! Thank you!

  24. I tore my hair out looking for the last info I had on bypassing the ink cartridge out – wont print issue… Couldn’t find this blog at the time. Missed a copywriting dead line. Ouch!! mid of night of course. Now I find this. YOU ARE AWESOME…. Hey I have a MX870 as well as the other person mentioned, it worked with it as well… only thing it made me feed the paper from the rear instead of the regular paper cassette. Who cares??? it printed. AND OH YEAH it wouldn’t even let me scan with one of the color cartridges out!!! NO SCANNING just cause pink ran out. LOL. now I can scan as well.

  25. HEY! Matt and WordPress related??? That reminds me I need to finish updating some WPress websites. Took CC courses back in March and have forgotten a lot of stuff. What happens when switching from .org to .com WP site? Can I copy over the old stuff that was on my .org site????

  26. Thanks! Needed to print cassette inlays and didn’t feel like running to the store just for that, which used only black ink.

  27. Thank you!!! it worked for me. I had to press and hold down the stop/reset button as someone suggested (thank you for suggesting that whoever it was that did) for my printer to start printing. thank you everyone!!

  28. Doesn’t work for me unfortunately. I have an MG5150 and it keeps asking me to replace the big black tank. I tried taking it out and putting it back in but I can’t fool it >.<

  29. Thanks! It worked for me too. Also, I’m still working on the copy function, which still printed blank after changing the print settings on the pc. I switched the paper setting on the printer itself to matte photo paper and it printed a copy, but instead of black, it’s olive green, which is an improvement over a blank page. High resolution paper was not one of the choices, but I’ll try others. However, if anyone has already determined which paper setting to use for this, I’d love to save the ink on multiple trial and error attempts. Please share.

  30. it worked perfectly here as well – I just had to push and hold “Stop” for 5 seconds to reset the printer in addition to your other steps, like someone else in the comments had said. You’re the best! Underwear on its wayโ€ฆ..

  31. I have a Pixma MX712 which seems to be using only the black photo ink, or blend of all the inks for greyscale which is how I’m trying to economize, when I ask to print in black only. I’m not sure what it’s using when I ask it to copy only in black directly on the copier. The big black cartridge seems totally full according to ink level display. the pink, blue photo black levels are way down, yellow not so much. Black very full. How do I get it use the black page cartridge only, even when I ask on the PC print selections to only print in black? Can’t seem to find true option or configurations to only use black page ink. Thanks.

  32. My printer a canon will not let me print anything because the blue cart is empty. I can’t print a black text document even thought the black text cart is full. The thing is refusing to print until I replace the empty cart.

  33. Dan, you are THE MAN!!! The names of my first 2 sons will be Dan and Richard!

    I was literally standing next to my printer, waaaay past my wits end, hypodermic needle and syringe in hand, about to suck the ink out of the full cartridge like a crazed ink vampire in order to transplant the life-giving blood into the lifeless husk of a cartridge (hey, that MIGHT have worked) when a little voice in my head said “Google it”….

    The rest, is history.

    PS: my nemesis is (was) a Pixma MP530

  34. you freaking rock!!!!! i had to print out a picture for my son to take to preschool. thanks for helping me look like i have it all under control (while i’m a disaster inside). i have a pixar mp530.

  35. yes,. that is amazing! Was about to run out to buy a small new printer at 2:00am so I had my speech ready to go at 7:00am. Now I can sleep! Thanks so much.

  36. Many thanks to Dan. It works.
    Another problem on my printer MX850 is it doesn’t work for “grayscale printing” even if any color ink is empty and 2 black ink are full. Why?
    I also noticed even I never print color document and photos, because of the color of this print is so ugly, the color inks are still used as normal. Why?

  37. Dan, great MX850 hack!

    Just wanted to pay it forward and let people know that if you want to print duplex (that is, double-sided), changing your printer setting to “high resolution paper” won’t allow for it. BUT, the “photo paper plus double sided” option seems to do the trick.

    Happy printing!!!

  38. You LEGEND!! Have been looking for a solution for this for years!! Now I can use all the other 8 black inks. THANK YOU!
    Got a trick to print out the faxes when all cartridges are empty except for the small black one (BK 8)?

  39. It worked!! Thank you so much. I had no black toner in the small cartridge, but a full large cartridge. No color ink because my 12 year old daughter decided to print pictures of heart throbs to paste on her wall! It is frustrating that the printer will not print black (grey scale) even if there is no color ink. I changed the print job to grey scale, but that didn’t work. Also changing the paper to high resolution worked … after I realized I had to feed paper from the back paper tray, which I had never done before. THANK YOU! My daughter can now read her 41 page Korean War paper for an assignment. Mom (and Dan) saved the day. ๐Ÿ™‚ Cheers!

  40. After an hour-and-a-half yesterday trying various print settings, using alternate web-browsers (including uninstalling and reinstalling ie) and fiddling with menus on the accursed machine itself itself (including replacing the ink carts), a quick mental inventory told me that I was dangerously close to the hitting-it-with-a-fist option (with its kicking-it-to-bloody-hell sub-menu included) and the Canon Pixma MP960 (Premium All-In-One Photo Printer with3.5″ TFT Display and Easy-Scroll wheel!) would end as they all do – in a rattly heap in the trash. But I had to go to work so the fun would wait.

    I awoke at 11:30 o’clock and the first words I heard were my wife saying that the 24 hour deadline to print Alice’s bar-code was about to expire and she would have to pay 2x to post her parcel. Why this fell on me I don’t know but I knew my dad-status hinged for now on the print-job: 0 or hero. The bar-code was the only truly obligatory portion (the rest could be handwritten) but naturally it was the single piece that the beshrewed device ignored – leaving a blank patch where the vital symbolic representation of the postage paid should be. I’m not crazy but I swear the white paper hanging out looked for all the world like the despicable worthless son-of-a-whore was STICKING HIS TONGUE OUT AT ME. “Did you say something?” “Nothing, honey” So I did what all men do in a desperate situation. I googled it and praise-be-the-snotgreen-sea the solution was right here there all along!

    I made the simple adjustments sheepishly and as I read this long reply of users writing as if they had been suddenly released from jail I got all tingly like when you climb a rope in gym class and as the paper eased out of the printer’s orifice I danced triumphantly yes I said yes yes and she asked me with her eyes to ask again yes and then I asked her would I yes to say yes my mountain flower and first she put my arms around me yes and I drew her down to me so I could feel her breasts all perfume yes and my heart was going like mad and yes I said yes I will yes…

    Uh thanks by the way and thought you would enjoy this:!bIhWbE

  41. Thanks to your help, I was just able to print a boarding pass for a trip and avoid a last-minute trip to FedEx. A shipment of my finest underwear is en route to you.

  42. All I can say is that I agree with the “will you marry me?” Comment. But I’m married. So, a little less love than that. But it totally worked ๐Ÿ™‚ thanks dude.

  43. OMG!!! YOU ARE A GENIUS. I LOVE YOU! I am almost tempted to send you a pair of clean underwear. hehe Thank you so much and I’m glad that you are from the Montreal area like myself. I’m printing a Non-Disclosure Agreement that needed to be printed by tomorrow! <3

  44. For those who replace their cartridges when your printer dialogue box says “you may have run out of ink of one color” just press O.K. on your printer and you will get many more printed pages before your ink will actually run out. You will notice this by the color printing much lighter.

  45. Yes it worked, I just had to load the paper in the rear tray. This makes me so happy, I have 3 full small black cartridges, Now I don’t have to go to staples… thanks bunches.

  46. Seriously, you have no idea the amount of headaches and frustration you have just saved me from! BTW, I have the Cannon MP560 and your tip worked just as well. Now, I won’t be sending underwear or money, but will you settle with hopes of long life and good fortune?

  47. Perfect!! Now I can use up all of the small cartridges that have been sitting here waiting to be used!! Awesome solution, THANK YOU!!

  48. On the IP 3600 it was necessary to set it to print in “Other Photo Paper” and to hit the reset button on the printer (the yellow blinking one). It worked like a charm! Thanks, sure saved my night.

  49. I have a question for everyone in the comments section saying that it worked like a charm, etc: does your particular Canon printer NOT have a little yellow light labelled “Alarm” that lights up when the printer is telling you “the ink may have run out” ??? Because mine does (a PIXMA MX860, not terribly different from the MX850 that Dan is using, I would tend to think?), and when that yellow alarm light lights up, my printer is essentially disabled at this point. It is LOCKED; all I can do is turn the thing off! And I suspect a few posters on here are in the same situation, because others have pointed out that they are literally not able to do anything with the machine now. When you hit the Scan, Copy, or even FAX button, I get three very quick high-pitched beeps, letting me know that the Canon isn’t doing squat until it gets a cartridge that it thinks has INK in it! I can change settings in my print dialogue box til my heart is content (regular to “high resolution paper” etc etc), but it doesn’t make that yellow alarm light go away, or the ink run out message go away! So I don’t understand how this fix works for anyone at all. Is it possible that the ink can literally run out BEFORE you ever get this error message (and your alarm light lights up)? Because that’s the only scenario that makes any sense to me, where changing a print setting could change anything….and I thought I’d always heard that the printer gives that empty cartridge message and locks up BEFORE it actually, ~truly~ runs out of ink. I’m at a loss here. Don’t the other Canons lock up and have the alarm light?!

  50. My canon pixma mp 990 won’t print anything because it ran out of grey ink. I can’t find grey in stores anymore. If the small cartridges are to print in color, and the large black one is used to print in black and white, why can’t I print in black and white when the grey is empty? Is there any way to be able to print without the grey? My kids need to print schoolwork.

  51. It would appear that you will be helping people long after you are gone! A remarkable feat, indeed! You may even be more popular than Ben Franklin. I wonder what bill they will immortalize you on? Thank you very much, Dan! You truly are on the right path for “legend” status!

  52. It works great man, thank you so much! My only added note would be to set it to fast print speed as it doesn’t need to print so slow for just black ink. Again thanks!

  53. Canon Pixma 5400 series — WORKED! I had to go click “OK,” but that is much preferable to having to hunt down one yellow cartridge. THANK YOU!

  54. Tried everything imaginable to get the small blk cartridge to work on my Canon MG-5220 to no avail till I found this fix! Thank you sir!!!

  55. When I tried this the printer wouldn’t pick up the paper and gave the message that the printer was out of paper. I then loaded the paper in the back where it picked up the paper and printed. I tried again without the high resolution setting and it worked fine. ?????

  56. My PGBK ink channels are stuffed but I use the printer only for a paper a week or so. So itยดs a long term solution for me without openen my printer. I use cheap refill ink so BK ink is fine to use:)

  57. I have a Cannon MG5522. It is stuck on telling me my large black tank if out of in. When I try to change paper to high resolution paper, I bring the document up to print and try to click on printing preferences, but it won’t let me. I went in through my start menu directly to my printer and could get into preferences and set it to high resolution paper to use the full small black cartridge, but alas, it still tells me the large cartridge is out. And of course, I can’t use any other feature on the printer because it won’t even give me the home screen on the printer. Please Dan, can you work your wizard magic with a solution?

  58. I held down the stop button for 5 seconds so that it would no longer read the large black empty cartridge but now it tells me that the three other color cartridges may be out of ink and still wont print the yellow warning light remains lit. Can I get it not to read the cyan, and other cartridges. I just need to print a document in black ink from the small cartridge.

  59. Oh wise one, how did I doubt thee……a couple tweeks and I have the much needed document!!!!! Life saver!!! How do you get your wings and halo through doorways?!?!

  60. Dude…this little “hack” changed my life…a million thanks! I was about ready to take a sledgehammer to my printer. Thank you thank you thank you!

  61. OMG … this really works. Dad you are a genius and at least I can print in black when required! I had changed my cartridges this week and then found out that the large black one (although full of ink) refused to print. I cleaned it, deep cleaned it and manually cleaned it and nothing worked. However, this did work. WOW … So pleased!! Does anyone have any idea why the big black one refuses to work … or is it just stuffed?

  62. Worked on my HP photosmart. Didn’t have the same choices, but used “presentation” print setting and selected presentation paper. Worked like a charm! Thanks a bunch!

  63. Thank you!! This works for Canon iP3600 as well. After 2 years of pausing printing at home, I decided to buy one small black cartridge, since I only need to print black at home. You are my hero!

  64. IT WORKED on my Canon MX860! But I had to hold down the STOP button to get it to disregard its no ink warning — then it prompted me to load paper through the back tray! Then… SUCCESS!!! ๐Ÿ™‚ Thank you so much! I am printing a birthday card for my fiance and I was so upset it wouldn’t print before he woke up! Thanks again!

  65. i just changed the pgbk cartridge on my canon mp560 printer, while both the bk black and pgbk were saying they were low, and i was getting white bands while printing, and then it printed fine, which is great! it was a document pdf which i printed from photoshop, so i’m not sure if it thought i was a document or image…

  66. Thank you, it works! But how do I get the large ink cartridge to work. I just bought it, did maintenance on it. It just does not release the ink! Thanks again for the tip! Please post solution for large ink……would be grageful!

  67. Awesome! Saved me a $50 late fee and a trip to Staples to printout docs, fill out by hand (which I still need to do) and fax them (but I’ll get snail-mail with today’s postmark. Thank you!

  68. Works for me. Great as printing is black on my Canon MX850. Prints real slow on High Resolution print but…hey, at this time of the night who cares. Thank you!!

  69. This did not work for me and I am not sure why. I changed paper to high resolution and checked the grayscale button but still won’t print because my large cartridge is still out of ink. Any other ideas?

  70. Canon Pixma MG5320 – this trick worked like a charm!!!! THANK YOU!!! Now – I need to use my printer as a photocopier to complete the rest of my packet – any ideas on how to force it to use the device to use the little tank for that function?

  71. HALLELUJAH!!!!!!! Got the photocopy function to work also!!! Load paper into the rear tray, choose “Platinum Pro” paper using the printer control panel – and Voila!!!!! OMG YOU ARE A FINE HUMAN BEING!!!

  72. I seem to have the opposite problem, I just installed ANOTHER FULL SET of cartridges (Again and again and again and again ad nausem) and have printed about 10 sheets of black and white text. This POS printer is emptying the small cartridge.
    I CANNOT EXPRESS HOW UNHAPPY I am with this POS printer. Ya it prints GREAT pictures but it eats ink cartridges like a drunk consumes booze. And WTF is with the 5 minute startup where it whirs clicks buzzes clicks etc.? The way this thing goes through ink I can only figure that each time I turn it on it goes through a “color calibration” cycle that drains 25% of each cartridge.
    What REALLY pisses me off is I went through extensive research to find the ‘best’ printer, the one with the most features and that had the highest ratings. What did I get for my efforts? A printer that will bankrupt me cause each batch of cartridges costs +$50.00, and it seems I’m lucky to get it to print 100 pages per change of cartridges. I figure I’ve paid for this printer at least twice in cartridges alone.
    BYTE ME CANON Never by a Canon product again EVER.

  73. My Canon MX860 won’t print black text. (Photo’s are ok)
    I found out that if you print a PDF you can select SAVE INK/TONER and it will print text!!!
    (I’m using Adobe Acrobat Reader DC) Not sure if every pdf reader has that option.

    If you need to print a word document, save it as a pdf and print that with the save ink/toner selected.

  74. You are my savior!! I blasted a barrage of negative tweets to those idiots over at Canon just to deal with the frustration… Anyone who reads this… blow up their twitter, facebook, etc… Makes these crooks earn that $90.00 you just paid for more ink!

  75. I’ve used this trick often and it works! But….now I have a macbook and I can’t find the option to switch to high resolution paper??? Anyone ever made this work with mac? Thanks

  76. This trick doesn’t work for me. I’ve tried with different types of high rez and photo papers and it just won’t let me print, always saying that my PGI5 cartridge is empty…

  77. I have a MG6820 and the high resolution setting didn’t work, but the photo paper setting did! I never would have figured this out thanks so much!

  78. Yes it worked on my MG5320. Just curious, does it use more black ink when using small tank than large tank? The copies I made are really clear and nice so I was wondering if anyone knew. They also take longer so I imagine one should get their big tank filled and inserted as soon as possible. But a great solution when there’s no time to get tanks refilled at Costco!!

  79. I think I love you! Want to get married? I could use a clever other half. Thank you so much. This worked for my Pixma MG5650 and alleviated my frustration while I wait for ink delivery. Now I can get on with the quilting. Kiss kiss.

    1. This works fine on mac with an MX870 – in the paper handling tab of print settings just set the paper type to “high resolution paper”.

  80. Mate, it’s five years after you wrote this and you just saved my too-poor-to-buy-a another-train-ticket arse. Thanks so much for posting this!

  81. So cool to see this still helps people to this day, this is pretty much my most popular article ever on this blog lol! I personally had switched to an HP when my Cannon broke and the worst part is that this printer won’t print black if ANY other color is empty. So imagine my frustration when the yellow is out and I can’t print black text. So I tossed that and finally switched to a laser. Anyhow, good luck out there folks!

    1. Nevermind, it works! For whatever reason it would not pull paper from the bottom tray where I’d always print from, only from the rear tray.

  82. I followed your directions and used High Resolution on my Canon mg7520. It does work great. I have been so frustrated that I couldn’t get the large black ink to print. I do my own refill and while I was refilling my cartridges with colors and black, it dawned upon me to look at the printhead under the large black. It looked like it hadn’t had a drop of black on it since I had washed and dried it. All of the other colors show up in the printhead. I placed the ink plunger close to the large black well in the printhead and ‘plunging’ very carefully, I put a few drops of black ink on that ‘well’ in the printhead.
    Replaced the large black cartridge and started testing and printing. At first it did’t print too well, but I could read it. Next, I took the large black cartridge to the sink, put the orange plastic holder on the bottom of it so the ink wouldn’t drip all over. I used a sewing straight pin and moved it around in the little pinhole on the cartridge top. I also squirted a little ink into the bottom of the cartridge into the sponge. Note that I did not touch anything with the needle so as not to puncture anything. Viola!! I have been printing a lot things…I think this is important and you need to print several times a week with an older printer. I do feel as though letting the little hole on the top…air hole, I guess, was an answer to my problem. Thanks, dan for your wonderful help. It works great too, but uses up that little cartridge ink fast. If you want to do your own refills, Tractor Supply has the syringes with needles. they are 50 cents each. I have paid $1.00 each from my refill supplier here on the net, before discovering TS ones.

    1. Ok, so I cannot find anything on my printer program drop down anywhere that either SAYS “paper type” or even hints at paper type but with different wording. I’ve clicked on everything there is to click on. Including “page setup.”

  83. all my 3 colours are empty, and small black ran out too, but after holding stop for 5 seconds, she printed fine again from large.
    Replaced small black later on, and got error message for others, but again holding stop for 5 secs got her going again.
    I only every print gray scale, so refuse to replace colours for no reason.

  84. Awesome, I never thought that would work ๐Ÿ™‚
    I have a MG 7550 printer by the way.

    Thank you so much!


  85. Worked for my MX715 as well. I think my PGBK is ruined like Javier’s. Cleaned the print-head properly (running lukewarm water, then let it dry properly), but all colors including BK work, just not the PGBK any longer. Somehow

    One remark: I could only use the paper feed on the back of my printer, and no longer the standard cassette.
    I am considering finishing all the ink that I have for this printer, and then switching to Brother. HP has lost my trust for a very long time, but Canon does not seem to do a better job either…. Personally never had bad experiences with Brother printers and they’re pretty reliable at customers, so I’ll give it a go when I can replace the MX715.

  86. Thank you for being the only blog that has the actual solution to my problem! all of my tanks are out except for my black ink tank. This method with the back load feed for high resolution is the only way I could get my printer to use that tank. In the future, I’ll get a laser printer, but this will help me for now.

  87. Wow crazy! 2017 and it’s still working! I myself has since switched to a color laser, I was fed up of ink cartridges drying out and otherwise being a nightmare. I just bought a Canon MF620C from Staples Canada for $250, hard to beat that price and value and it prints beautifully, wifi, includes a scanner etc. About it’s only limitation, which I don’t care about is that it’s not full duplex for copying/scanning. Anyhow, glad this is still working for you folks!

  88. I print on fabric (charity quilt labels) and I found that, after rinsing, the black lines on the logo were a bit red. This caused me to find this site to force the use of the Pigment Ink – which fixes ok – rather than the Croma (photo) inks which can selectively wash out. I use a Pixma 4300 because of the reasonably straight paper path – so the fabric doesn’t separate from the freezer paper backing..

    Thank you.

  89. worked like a charm after digging for the option in Safari under “Quality & Media”/”Media Type”/”Other Papers”/”High Resolution Paper”.


    Thanks for your kindnesss….

  91. THIS is the very reason I am creating a system that rewards these “acts of kindness” Where corporations fall short of assisting the customers that patron them–people who share solutions are not only to be commended but when possible rewarded. It is obvious that it is either an emergency or scarcity that generally prompts one to search for a solution. Kudos to You! (oh, and the above is a typo it is MX-860)

  92. I wish it worked for me, but did not. I have a PIXMA 720. I cannot find a high resolution paper option. I did find a “print as photo”…but that also kept stopping and warning me I was out of ink. ::sigh:: Thanks for having an option that did work for many.

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