Resolving Print Quality Issues on G Series Desktop Printers

Article ID: 10480719




  • 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


Applies To

G-Series Printers


A note on printer applications

The printer can be configured using any number of applications, utilities, or using a Zebra Printer driver. If there are changes that are needed to the printer settings determine your application's method used to alter these settings. For example, if you need to increase/decrease the darkness setting you will need to determine if this is done in your driver, or application or in both. Zebra provides utilities for printer setup (see Helpful Information below) but once you establish your application driver/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 use of compatible media for the application.  The four impacting factors to consider are:

1. The Media and Ribbon (if used) capabilities. Not all media is the same when it comes to being compatible with your application or needs. Printing speed , durability of the image/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.

2. Printhead Pressure 

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

3. Print Speed

The printer is capable of printing at multiple print speeds. The speed selection take the media/ribbon (if used) compatiblities 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. 

Example: Setting the print speed using the ZebraDesigner Driver (Printing Preferences - Options - Print Speed) Read More>>

4. Print Darkness  

Print Darkness (also may be referred to as Density or Burn Temperature) is a user adjustable setting. Avoid over heating the ribbon as it can melt if set too high. Vary the darkness to produce the best print quality. 

Example: Setting the darkness using the ZebraDesigner Driver (Printing Preferences - Options - Darkness) Read More>>


Important: All printer settings can be impacted by commands from a mis-matched 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 are 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 have setup configuration that send 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 configuration

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.

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  • Clean the Printhead. Contamination can cover the elements preventing heat transfer. Read More>>
  • Try increasing the Burn Temp  Read More>>
  • The media must be matched for the (ribbon if used- 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.
  • Lower the print speed Read More>>
  • 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. 
  • Make sure you have the correct power supply for your printer. Look at the label on the power supply Read More>>


  • The platen or the retaining bearings may be worn resulting in reduced printhead pressure. Consider your service options for platen and bearing replacement. Read More>>



Print is faded or too light on the left of right side.

What is left or right? Read More>>

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  • 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.


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  • Darkness is too high or low. Check the driver or application darkness settings. Read More>>
  • Verify your quiet zone is 10x the narrow bar width. Barcodes too close to the edge may not scan
  • Check for printhead element problems printing the Pause test. Missing elements can 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.  Button Flash details Read More>>




 The print is smearing or rubbing off

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  • 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

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If the ribbon is wrinkling

  • Verify the printer ribbon is properly loaded Read More>>
  • 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

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  •  Try cleaning the printhead elements. Build-up can cause lines in the print. Aggressive cleaing with cleaning film is sometimes needed if there is baked on residue that fails to be removed by swabs.  Read More>>

  • The printhead element(s) may have failed and the printer requires service.



 Image is cut off on the right 

What is left or right? Read More>>

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  • Verify the PRINT WIDTH is set correctly in the Driver or application. This can also be set with the button flash method. Read More>>
  • If using ribbon assure the ribbon is the widerthan the labels.
  • Verify there is no debris or a label stuck to the printhead covering the print elements.




Helpful Information

Utilities and Drivers

Application or Utility Comment
Zebra Setup Utility Read More>> This is a free Windows based utility that features a printer setup wizard for simple printer or network setup.  
ZebraNet Bridge  Read More>> This is an enterprise application for network printer management but is free to use for configuring a network or locally connected printer
ZebraNet Print Server Webpage Read More>> 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 Read More>> If you are using the ZebraDesigner Driver there is a Printing Preferences section that allows you to configure your printer.


Additional Information

Selftest 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. Read More>>

Print Speed

The printer operates at the selected speed in terms of inches/mm per second.  Because print quality is effected 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.

Methods used to alter your print speed varies based on your application

  • The Zebra Setup Utility can be used to configure the print speed setting. Read More>>
  • If your application is printing through the Zebra Designer Driver Read More>>
  • If your application is printing through a 3rd party driver, contact that vendors technical support.
  • If you are using EPL code in your application Read More>>
  • If you are using ZPL code in your application Read More>>



The darkness level can be set direclty on the printer, through the button flash method. Read More>>

 Methods used to alter your print darkness varies based on your application

  • The Zebra Setup Utility can be used to configure the print darkness setting. Read More>>
  • If your application is printing through the Zebra Designer Driver Read More>>
  • If your application is printing through a 3rd party driver, contact that vendors technical support.
  • If you are using EPL code in your application Read More>>
  • If you are using ZPL code in your application Read More>>

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. 

To view the printer's current EPL configuration Read More>>

To view the printer's current ZPL configuration Read More>>

+ 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