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Print Quality Defect – Light or Faded Print – Lexmark MS/MX71x/81x

Document ID:TE548

Usergroup :External
09/12/13 Properties  


Issue description

Lighter than expected output with:   

  • Blacks that appear gray.
  • Color output represented by shades of gray that appear more faint than expected.


Possible causes

Light or faded printout usually points to an issue with a printer setting or a supply item (Imaging Unit) that has developed a defect. However, there are other factors that should be considered when diagnosing light or faded printout. These factors may include, but are not limited to, the following items listed.

NOTE: Click each link to view the specific topic.




Non-genuine Lexmark supplies / refilled cartridges / ‘compatible’ supplies

Use of Non-Lexmark supplies can result in damage to printer components and in multiple failures, including degraded print quality within the system; i.e., the effects of using such non-Lexmark supplies are not limited to the imaging unit, printhead, fuser, transfer system, and paper feed reliability.




Lower darkness setting

The printer's toner darkness setting is one factor that can affect the quality of its printout. Follow the steps on How to adjust Toner Darkness of the printer and print sample pages to see whether the printout improves. If the printout does not improve even after adjusting the Toner Darkness, please proceed with the next section.



Print resolution set to 1200 dpi

Fine lines might not appear clear or crisp with some printer settings. The printer's resolution setting is another factor that can affect the quality of such printouts. Following almost the same steps as used to adjust Toner Darkness, alter the Print Resolution to 600 dpi to see if the default resolution resolves the issue



Darkness variation across an image with a new Imaging Unit

Should print darkness variation be observed only after replacing the supplies, uninstall the Cartridge and Imaging Unit and fully inspect them to ensure that all packaging material pieces have been removed. The red strap/plugs must be fully removed before installing the supplies into the unit. 



Darkness variation across an image due to environmental condition

If the darkness variation is observed from left to right across the page while the printer is situated in a hot or cold environment, please validate that the printer is located and operating in a supported environment based on the printer specifications. Turning the printer off and back on might help correct for some of the observed darkness variation.



How to adjust toner darkness (or other settings under the Quality Menu)

If the printer is connected to a network, use the Embedded Web Server (EWS).

Step Action

Open a web browser and then type the printer's IP address in the address field.


  • View the printer's IP address on the printer's home screen. The IP address appears as four sets of numbers separated by periods, such as
  • If you are using a proxy server, then temporarily disable it to load the Web page correctly.


Click Settings > Print Settings > Quality Menu.




Adjust the toner darkness to desired setting and click Submit (or other settings such as Print Resolution).




Continue adjusting until desired output is achieved.




Using the printer's control panel:

Step Action


From the home screen, navigate to:  or  > Settings > Print Settings > Quality Menu > Toner Darkness.




Adjust to desired setting, and then touch Submit.




Still need help?

If you require additional assistance, please close this window and locate  Get In Touch with Lexmark! for contact information. NOTE: When calling for support, you will need your printer model/machine type and serial number (SN). If you need help locating these, click here.

Please be near the products described in this article to expedite the support process and reduce callbacks.


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