Why Won’t My Printer Scan?

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Updated November 17, 2022

If you are new to the world of multi-function printing, you may ask, “Why won’t my printer scan?” Many of the best printers, after all, are all-in-one designs that double as capable scanners. So what are the various issues that impact the scanner embedded into one of the best all-in-one printers, and what can you do about it? Keep reading to find out.


  • Multifunction printers include scanners with a dedicated scanning bed, though this component can run into maintenance and repair issues.
  • Your first troubleshooting step is to download and install any new printer driver software via the printer manufacturer.
  • You should also test and swap out any USB port cables or printer cables and run the printer’s built-in troubleshooting app to look for an error message.

Why Won’t My All-in-One Printer Connect for Scanning?

Multi-function printers include a number of sensitive components, and any one of them can falter, leading some to wonder why there is no dial tone on the fax machine. The same goes for the scanner, and even learning how to fax from a printer without a phone line won’t solve the problem.

Insider Tip

Keep the scanning bed clean with a dry microfiber cloth but avoid using water or a chemical-based cleaner.

Scanning beds can be finicky, and modern all-in-one printers interact with multiple software suites, which you have learned if you are comparing how a printer manages colors vs Photoshop. In other words, it could be a hardware or a software issue.

Scanner Troubleshooting Tips

Let’s get to the bottom of your scanner issues. Here are some tried-and-true troubleshooting tips so you can get scanning once again.

Update Software

Your first step here is to conduct any and all software updates affiliated with your printer and any scanning software you use. It is very important that you regularly update your printer’s driver software, and this is especially true for multi-function printers. Using out-of-date software can cause problems in a number of areas, and the scanner is no exception. Connect your printer to your computer and look for software updates, downloading, and installing as indicated by on-screen prompts.

Run the Printer Troubleshooter

Modern printers typically include a troubleshooter as part of the overall suite of tools. You should be able to find this in the settings tab somewhere. When you run the troubleshooter, it will go over every aspect of the printer, looking for anything out of the ordinary. This won’t solve the problem for you, but it should give you an idea if the issue lies with the hardware or the software. Having that knowledge can help you make an informed repair decision.

STAT: Modern scanners are considered the successors of early telephotography and fax input devices. (source)

Switch Cables

Often, faulty USB cables and other cords can cause the scanner to malfunction. Swap out all of your cables to see if this fixes the issue. Generally speaking, you should always have a backup cable or two on hand.

Printer Scanner Issues FAQs

Is your printer currently offline?

If your printer is struggling to maintain a stable network connection, that could impact the scanner driver. Check the security settings and your network settings.

Why won't my scanner and printer work at the same time?

This is likely a software or network issue, so check the network connection, security settings, and Internet connection. Also, download and install a new scanner driver and printer driver. You can also look for any connected imaging devices mucking up the system.

How do you fix printer problems yourself?

Depending on your printer model, there are plenty of things you can fix on your own. Download a new scanner driver, check the network connection, and run the troubleshooting app from the drop-down menu as a start.
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