Dean Herr

Removing a paper jam in a copier | How to

It never fails a paper jam in the copier! You are in a rush and just need to make one final copy before the meeting and you’ll make your deadline. You walk up to the copier and it’s lit up like a Christmas tree. Flashing lights and buzzing sounds are now between you and arriving at the meeting on time. This is certainly not the time to panic!


Here are a couple of quick tips to remove that paper jam in your copier without even breaking a sweat!

  1. Believe it or not all of those flashing lights do mean something. Moving past the annoyance, take a look at what they are actually trying to tell you. There is more than likely a visual display as to where the jam is located and a self-prompting menu to guide your efforts. Use them.
  2. Most common jam issues are directly related to misloaded paper cassettes. Open the paper draws and insure that the paper is loaded correctly and there are no bent corners or folded over paper towards the bottom of the stack.
  3. Knowing that today’s modern copiers/MFP’s are designed to achieve lightning fast speeds, understand that there is always more than one sheet of paper in the machine while processing jobs. Finding just one sheet of paper may not solve your jam issue. Locate the original offender and any pages that might have been in the middle of the process to rid your woes.
  4. Sometimes a jam is just not a jam. I’ve been a part of the office equipment industry for 30+ years and I’m here to tell you there is such a thing as a phantom jam. Whether it is a momentary power fluctuation or a faulty sensor, I have seen a machine register a jam that wasn’t a jam. It never hurts to just “reboot” the system. By doing a power cycle, you might just fix what ails the machine.
  5. The last bit of advice I can offer and probably should have been #1; NEVER attempt to remove a piece of paper with a scissor, letter opener, or otherwise “sharp” implement. This will only lead to further down time and possibly a bill from your copier vendor for damages above and beyond the scope of the maintenance contract.

I know Murphy’s Law is a big contributor to needing a copy, I’ve seen this first hand. Keep your equipment well serviced, do the preventative maintenance when required and be nice to your copier technician and just maybe he’ll give you his cell phone number for those emergencies. With a little due diligence your copier paper jams will be an uncommon occurrence and when you really need it, it will be there for you

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