Resolving Print Quality Issues on G Series Desktop Printers

Article ID: 10486032

Issue / Question

• Light print or faded image 

• Partially missing print or cut-off 

• Broken bars or lines in a barcode 

• Poor or low barcode ANSI grade 

• White lines in the print

Applicable To

G-Series Printers

Resolution / Answer

NOTE The printer can be configured using any number of applications, utilities, or using a Zebra Printer Driver. If there are changes that are needed for the printer settings, determine your application's method used to alter these settings. 

For example: If you need to increase or decrease the darkness setting, you will need to determine if this action is performed on your driver, or application, or both. Zebra provides utilities for printer setup (refer to Helpful Information below) but once you have established your application driver or software or program, you will need to determine the methods used for modification of the printer settings. 



Print quality is a product of proper printer setup and the use of compatible media for the application. The four impacting factors to consider are:

Media and Ribbon (if used) capabilities
Not all media are the same when it comes to being compatible with your application or needs. Printing speed, the durability of the image or media, environment are just a few factors to consider when determining the printer setup for the application. Trying to compensate for poor media compatibility by using high printhead pressure and/or darkness settings can impact your printer’s printhead life.

Printhead Pressure
There are no printhead pressure adjustments on the G-Series Printer.

Print Speed
The printer is capable of printing at multiple print speeds. The speed selection takes the media or ribbon (if used) compatibilities into consideration since if high darkness settings are required to achieve acceptable print, then slower rates should be used. If your application requires the highest print speeds available, be sure your media supplier has recommended the correct media for your application. 

For example: To set the print speed using the ZebraDesigner Driver, follow these steps: 
(Go to Printing Preferences > Options > Print Speed). 
For more information, refer to the ZebraDesigner Driver Printer Configuration Printing Preferences vs Printing Defaults

Print Darkness
Print Darkness also referred to as (Density or Burn Temperature) is a user-adjustable setting. Avoid overheating the ribbon as it can melt if it is set too high. Try varying the darkness to produce the best print quality. 

For example: To set the darkness using the ZebraDesigner Driver, follow these steps:
(Go to Printing Preferences > Options > Darkness). For more information, refer to the ZebraDesigner Driver Printer Configuration Printing Preferences vs Printing Defaults article.

IMPORTANT! All printer settings can be impacted by commands from a mismatched or misconfigured driver or software application. A printer that is functioning fine after setup but fails or indicates an error after label requests are received is most likely affected by the host side misconfiguration of the driver or printer software settings. The host device that generates the printer commands for printing typically has a setup configuration that sends these as commands to the printer. Make sure all settings match the printer settings to avoid intermittent issues.

Problems and Resolutions




Print is faded or too light when printing self-test
NOTE If the problem occurs after printing from your application, verify your driver/software configurations.
NOTE If there is a flood coating or preprint on the label surface where the print issue is occurring check with your supplier for corrective action.

  • Media must be matched if the ribbon is used, applicable to (TLP2824 Plus Only) and if no ribbon is used, verify the quality of the Direct Thermal stock. Check with your media supplier if you have tried all suggestions without success.
  • Verify the ribbon is not slipping due to improper loading. Look at the spent ribbon and observe the image is a negative of the printed image on the label. If it is shorter or compressed, see if the ribbon is sticking or if the ribbon core is not properly loaded on the spindle.
Print is faded or too light on the left or right side

Refer to Label Properties to view the left or right side of the label.

  • The printhead latch may not be closing properly. Verify both sides latch correctly. 
  • Check the platen roller for wear. If you use varying widths of labels, check to see if there is wear or compression in the narrower media area of the platen.
Barcode ANSI grade is low or won't scan
NOTE It is common to have the darkness set too high and cause bar spreading. This may look visually better but it causes the spaces to be reduced lowering the barcode grade.
  • Verify your quiet zone is 10x the narrow bar width. Barcodes too close to the edge may not scan.
  • Check for printhead element problems when printing the Pause test. Missing elements may create problems with the bars in the barcode. Print a configuration label (One Flash Feed Button) and look at the box around the text. It should be a solid line with no white stripes in the direction of travel.
The print is smearing or rubbing off
  • Media and ribbon mismatch
    • The ribbon ink will rub off the label if it is not matched for the media. Verify your ribbon and media are properly matched for your application. 
The ribbon is wrinkling
If the ribbon is wrinkling:
  • Verify the media guides are properly adjusted to prevent horizontal wandering.
  • Assure the printhead is properly latched on both sides
White lines in the print
  • Clean the printhead elements.
  • The printhead element(s) may have failed and the printer requires service.
The image is cut off on the right 
  • If using ribbon, ensure the ribbon is wider than the labels.


  • Verify there is no debris or label stuck to the printhead covering the print elements.

Helpful Information: 

Utilities and Drivers

Application or Utility Comment
Zebra Setup Utility

Refer to:
Zebra Setup Utilities: Downloading ZSU and Configuring Printer Settings

This is a free Windows-based utility that features a printer setup wizard for simple printer or network setup.  

ZebraNet Bridge

Refer to: Setup or Modifying a Zebra Printer Configuration Using ZebraNet Bridge
This is an enterprise application for network printer management but it is free to use for configuring a network or locally connected printer.
ZebraNet Print Server Webpage

Refer to: 
Using the ZebraNet Print Server Web Page to Configure the Printer      
The ZebraNet Print Server has a Webpage that is accessed from a browser when you enter the printer's IP Address. Printer configurations can be viewed and altered.
ZebraDesigner Driver

Refer to: 
Configure or Modify Basic ZebraDesigner Driver Settings Information
If you are using the ZebraDesigner Driver, there is a Printing Preferences section that allows you to configure your printer.


Self-Test Print
A printer self-test label can be used to determine if the given print quality issue is seen from the printer itself and to test any changes made on the printer as you are troubleshooting the issue. 

Print a test label using the Feed Button method.
Refer to:  Printing a Test (Printer Configuration) Label.

Print Speed

The printer operates at the selected speed in terms of inches/mm per second. That is because the print quality is affected by print speed, media, ribbon (if thermal transfer), and printer operating modes, it is important to run tests for your application to choose the optimal print speed setting. Slowing down the print speed can also help if the print is too light.

The darkness level can be set directly on the printer, through the button flash method. Refer to the User Guide: Feed Button Modes for more information.

Methods used to alter your print speed and darkness varies based on your application:
Configuration Label

The configuration label will let you view the present printer settings. Your printer supports two languages. (ZPL preferred) Use the method supported by the language your printer is using to see the printer configurations. 

+ Product Codes

  • G-Series GC Desktop Printers
  • G-Series GK Desktop Printers
  • G-Series GT Desktop Printers
  • G-Series GX Desktop Printers
  • GC420d Desktop Printer
  • GC420t Desktop Printer
  • GK420 Healthcare Desktop Printers
  • GK420d Desktop Printer
  • GK420d Healthcare Desktop Printer
  • GK420t Desktop Printer
  • GK420t Healthcare Desktop Printer
  • GX420Rx Desktop Printer
  • GX420d Desktop Printer
  • GX420t Desktop Printer
  • GX430d Desktop Printer
  • GX430t Desktop Printer