Improve Zebra Print Quality

Is the print quality of your Zebra printer worse than what’s on the screen? Proving you’ve got your page size correct, it might be a simple setting. There are 3 easy settings to improving the print quality of your Zebra label printer.


Step 1: Dithering

If you’re printing from a courier service directly or printing images (this includes image files containing text), dither settings might need adjusting to improve the output quality of these.

Follow these simple steps to change the settings:

  1. Open the “Devices and printers” folder from the “Start” menu.
  2. Right-click on the installed Zebra printer and choose “Printer properties”.
  3. Go to the “Advanced” tab and click “Printing Defaults”.
  4. Go to the “Dithering” tab and choose a different option.
    Our recommended option is “None” for black and white images.
  5. Click “OK” on each window to save the settings and close them.
  6. Do a test print.

Step 2: Ensure your printhead is clean

This isn’t a setting, but it’s worth looking at, even if your printer is only a couple months old. One issue you might be running into is a slight patchiness or unprinted lines when printing. These lines can be really thin, or rather thick.

Firstly, you’ll need the following:

  • A soft lint-free cloth or a non-abrasive disposable kitchen paper towel
  • Isopropyl alcohol
  • A cup of tea or coffee

Follow these simple steps to cleaning the printhead:

  1. Unplug the printer from the wall socket.
  2. If your printer has a ribbon, please remove it to access the printhead.
  3. Apply the alcohol solution to the cloth or paper towel.
    DO NOT APPLY THE ALCOHOL DIRECTLY TO THE PRINTER!
  4. Wipe the printhead from left to right.
    If the cloth comes back with some muck on it, replace with a clean cloth and start from step 3 again.
  5. If the cloth comes back clean, leave the printer open and unplugged for 5 minutes.
  6. Sip your tea or coffee while waiting for it to air out.
  7. When 5 minutes are up, put the ribbon back (if you took one out), plug it in and try printing.

If after cleaning there is no improvement, you might need the printhead replaced. Please call us for prices.


Step 3: Adjust print speed and temperature

There are 2 settings that work in tandem with one another.
The print speed is a selection of speeds from the slowest to the fastest. Quality and be improved by running it slower, but your speed of production can benefit from a faster speed.
The second setting is the “darkness”, which I’ve put in quotes as it’s rather misleading. This setting actually changed the temperature of the printhead which can make it darker in some cases, or lighter and more flakey in other cases.
It is worth keeping the speed at about half (or slower), and adjust the temperature settings in 1 step at a time.

Follow these simple steps to change the speed:

  1. Open the “Devices and printers” folder from the “Start” menu.
  2. Right-click on the installed Zebra printer and choose “Printer properties”.
  3. Go to the “Advanced” tab and click “Printing Defaults”.
  4. Go to the “Options” tab.
  5. Change the “Speed” from the drop-down list selection.
  6. Click “OK” on each window to save the settings and close them.
  7. Do a test print.

Follow these simple steps to change the temperature (known as the “darkness” setting):

  1. Open the “Devices and printers” folder from the “Start” menu.
  2. Right-click on the installed Zebra printer and choose “Printer properties”.
  3. Go to the “Advanced” tab and click “Printing Defaults”.
  4. Go to the “Options” tab.
  5. Change the “Darkness” from the drop-down list selection.
    Remember to start slow and increase by small steps.
    Using the highest setting can decrease the lifespan of the printhead.
  6. Click “OK” on each window to save the settings and close them.
  7. Do a test print.

If while adjusting this setting, it gets better and then worse, you would need to start working your way backwards as you’ve passed the sweet spot.


If you’re still having trouble, please contact us for the current Zebra technical support number.