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Printer copies light gray and colors are smeary looking

HP Envy 5055

My ink levels are good on my printer, but they are coming out light gray and the colors are smeary looking.  What do I need to do to fix this?

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HP Support Agent
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Printer copies light gray and colors are smeary looking



Welcome to the HP Support Community.


Does this happen while printing documents from the Computer?


Adjust color, contrast, and enhancement settings from the printer control panel menu to improve copy quality.


For printers without a control panel menu, most models use default normal copy settings that cannot be changed. As a workaround, scan the original into the computer, and then use the editing tools in the HP scanning software to improve the image quality. You can then print multiple copies of the edited scan file.

  1. Touch Copy, Copy Document, or Copy Photo on the printer control panel, and then select any available basic settings that apply to your copy job.

  2. Touch Settings or the gear icon to open the copy job options. You might need to scroll down the control panel screen to access all settings.

    • Paper Type: Select the type of plain or photo paper for your copies.

    • Quality: Select an available copy quality level.

    • Lighter/Darker or Contrast: If the original is faded or too saturated, make the copy lighter or darker.

    • Optimize or Enhancements: Select the type of item you are copying to improve quality, such as sharpening text and image edges or improving faded colors in photos.

    • HP Copy Fix: Automatic copy quality and skew adjustment tool.

    • Save Current Settings or Set as New Defaults: Retains the selected settings for future copy jobs.

  3. Depending on the printer, touch Start, or return to the main Copy screen by touching Back, and then touch Start Black, Start Color, or OK to start the copy job.

Step 2: Reset the printer and check the power source

Reset the printer to clear certain error states, and then check the power source to make sure the printer is getting enough power to operate the copier.

  1. With the printer turned on, disconnect the power cord from the printer, disconnect the power cord from the power source, and then wait 30 seconds.

  2. If you are using a power strip or multi-plug adapter, connect the cord directly to a wall outlet to make sure the printer is getting enough power.

  3. Reconnect the power cord to the printer, and then try making a copy.

    • If the issue persists, connect the printer to a different wall outlet to determine if the original outlet is causing the issue.

Let me know if this helps.


If the information I've provided was helpful, give us some reinforcement by clicking the Accepted Solution button, that'll help us and others see that we've got the answers!



Have a great day!

I am an HP Employee

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Printer copies light gray and colors are smeary looking

Clean the ink cartridges, this link explains how.

Please mark the post that solves your issue as "Accept as Solution".
I am a volunteer.
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