Gradient Prints as Stripes

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated January 12, 2019)

Elizabeth has a document that includes some clip art, and the clip art uses a two-color gradient. Everything looks great on the screen and in print preview. When she prints the document, however, the gradient is gone, replaced with stripes. She gets the stripes even if she generates a PDF from the document. (They appear in the PDF.) On the screen it looks great; printed or PDF it is wrong. Elizabeth wonders what could be causing this and how it can be fixed.

The first thing to understand is that how something looks on the screen does not dictate how it will look when printed. (Elizabeth is finding this out.) The reason is simple—different output devices use different drivers to produce what they show. Thus, your screen uses one driver to create what you see on the screen and a different driver is used to create what is printed. (Depending on how you create your PDF, it can use the same driver as the printer, or it could use its own driver.)

That being said, the problem could be either with the clip art itself or with the printer driver. To find out if it is the clip art, you might try finding a different image and printing it. This is rather simple—just use your favorite search engine to search for either "grayscale gradient image" or "color gradient image" (without the quotes), depending on what type of gradient you want to work with.

Download the images you select and insert them into your document. You may even want to consider placing two of them and rotate the second to 90 degrees of the original. (That way you can try to print a horizontal and vertical gradient—you may notice different results on the printout.) If these other images print fine, then you know the problem is with the clip art. If they don't print fine, then you'll need to examine the printer driver.

When considering the printer driver, you'll want to make sure you have the most up-to-date version. You should be able to find that out at the website of whoever made your printer. This may solve the problem for you.

You should also try printing the document on a different printer, which may mean going to a friend's or coworker's computer and printing from there. If the image prints fine on a different printer, then you will know that the problem is with how your printer handles the gradients.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (13607) applies to Microsoft Word 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Word in Office 365.

Author Bio

Allen Wyatt

With more than 50 non-fiction books and numerous magazine articles to his credit, Allen Wyatt is an internationally recognized author. He is president of Sharon Parq Associates, a computer and publishing services company. ...

MORE FROM ALLEN

Snapshots of Excel Worksheets for PowerPoint

If you need to get lots of information from Excel to PowerPoint, the task can be daunting. This tip explains different ...

Discover More

Using Message Boxes

If your macro needs to communicate with a user, one simple way to do it is to use a message box. Here's how to use this ...

Discover More

Word 2007 Mail Merge Magic (Table of Contents)

The mail merge tool available in Word is powerful, allowing you to use data from a variety of sources to create hundreds ...

Discover More

Learning Made Easy! Quickly teach yourself how to format, publish, and share your content using Word 2013. With Step by Step, you set the pace, building and practicing the skills you need, just when you need them! Check out Microsoft Word 2013 Step by Step today!

More WordTips (ribbon)

Securing Your Signature

If you want to "sign" your documents, you might be tempted to insert a graphic scan of your signature into them. Before ...

Discover More

Automatically Formatting Graphics and Shapes

Want to change the graphics formatting defaults in Word? You can customize some of these defaults, saving yourself some time.

Discover More

A Picture Is Worth a Thousand Words

Nothing beats a screen shot when you are trying to convey information about using the computer. With just a couple of ...

Discover More
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in WordTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

View most recent newsletter.

Comments

If you would like to add an image to your comment (not an avatar, but an image to help in making the point of your comment), include the characters [{fig}] in your comment text. You’ll be prompted to upload your image when you submit the comment. Maximum image size is 6Mpixels. Images larger than 600px wide or 1000px tall will be reduced. Up to three images may be included in a comment. All images are subject to review. Commenting privileges may be curtailed if inappropriate images are posted.

What is five minus 0?

There are currently no comments for this tip. (Be the first to leave your comment—just use the simple form above!)


This Site

Got a version of Word that uses the ribbon interface (Word 2007 or later)? This site is for you! If you use an earlier version of Word, visit our WordTips site focusing on the menu interface.

Newest Tips
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in WordTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

(Your e-mail address is not shared with anyone, ever.)

View the most recent newsletter.