Is Printing Possible with One of Ink Cartridge Empty?

Picture this scenario: you’re in a rush to print an important document, only to find that one of your ink cartridges has hit empty. You might think, “Well, I’ll just print with the other cartridges, right?” But here’s the twist – it’s not as straightforward as it seems. Printing with one empty ink cartridge might sound like a quick fix, but it’s a decision that could lead to unexpected consequences.

Can I Print if One Ink Cartridge is Empty?

Some printers are designed to stop printing in this situation, aiming to prevent potential clogs and damages to the printhead as well as other problems. So, it is not advised to keep printing if one ink cartridge is empty.

However, don’t fret just yet. There’s a silver lining. If you find yourself stuck with an almost-empty cartridge, there are ways to navigate around this roadblock. Curious about how to maneuver your printer in such a situation? In this post, there are some ingenious methods to tweak your printer settings and bypass the empty ink dilemma, ensuring a smooth printing journey even when faced with a not-so-fully-loaded cartridge arsenal.

How to Print with Only Black Ink (Windows)

    • From whatever application you’re using, press CTRL+P to pull up the Print popup.
    • There are many possible buttons or links to click from here. You might see Printer Properties, Advanced Settings, or More Settings. Click any of these buttons or links to get to the next step.
    • If what you previously clicked on was More Settings, click Print using system dialog on the next window.
    • Once you land on this window, click the Preferences button.
    • From this window, click on the Advanced button.
    • From here, select Grayscale from the Color Printing Mode dropdown list if you want use this ink saving mode or you can also use Monochrome if you still have ink in your black cartridge and would like prints that are darker than grayscale.
    • In the same window, look for Output Quality and select Normal. You can select draft if you want to save on ink.

How to Switch to the “Color Only” Setting

Not all printer models will have this option in their settings menu, but it is worth a look. If you are out of black ink and only want to print with the color cartridges, see if your printer has a “color only” setting.


We’ve all indulged in the practice of delaying ink replacements, hoping to squeeze out a few more pages. It’s a harmless act if done consciously, but it’s vital to understand the repercussions of extended printing with depleted cartridges. After all, your intention to save on replacement ink can paradoxically lead to the need for an entirely new printer.

If your aim is to trim down printing expenses, there’s a savvy alternative. Embrace affordable ink replacements – they’re both cost-effective and reliable, rivaling their brand-name counterparts. By adopting this strategy, you can build a stash of replacement cartridges, ensuring a constant ink supply without risking printer damage. Remember, the true art of cost-saving printing lies not just in prolonging cartridge life but in investing wisely in quality alternatives.

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