Super User is a question and answer site for computer enthusiasts and power users. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

I've never witnessed an issue like this before. Suddenly my machine is printing graphics with colors inverted, like a photo negative (polarized). It doesn't always happen, which is blowing my mind.

If I open an image in and print, it prints in reverse. If I open, say, this url the "Inc" logo prints in reverse, but text is black on white. If I print some other Web page, it prints normally.

Has anyone else ever experienced something like this? This is near impossible to troubleshoot. I've removed and re-added the printer and that didn't work.

It's an HP LaserJet 1020 on Snow Leopard. Again, it used to work flawlessly for years, now this madness.

share|improve this question
What happens when you plug the printer into a different computer and print there? What happens if you plug a different printer into this computer? – Stephen Jennings Apr 4 '11 at 2:07
Same printer, different computer: correct output. Same computer, different printer: correct output. Changing usb sockets: same incorrect output. Got to be a driver issue. What I don't understand is why this "photonegative behavior" doesn't always affect all images! – ybakos Apr 12 '11 at 19:32
That is bizarre. I can't think of anything besides drivers either. – Stephen Jennings Apr 13 '11 at 6:07
Actually, let me clarify this. Same computer, different printer: _in_correct output. – ybakos Jun 2 '11 at 20:39
up vote 2 down vote accepted

I've found the issue and it is actually related to color profiles. Apparently, some users report that when using a gutenprint based driver the color profile may get set to something other than "use the profile of the device," especially when you're using a driver that works but isn't for the exact model of hardware.

The bottom line is that if you face this problem, check the OSX printing dialog, under the "Color Matching" option. If "ColorSync" is checked, you need to change that to "Vendor Matching."

In my case, I was using a model-specific driver for the printer, was witnessing "polarized" output, yet could not select "Vendor Matching" as the option was disabled in the UI. I actually changed to a gutenprint-based driver for a slightly different printer model and voila, was able to select "Vendor Matching." What irks me is that I actually have to use this gutenprint driver for a different model printer in order to change the color management option. (sigh) At least printing works and I don't have to think about it any more.

Another thing I discovered is being able to "Reset Printing System..." via the Print & Fax prefpane, which is only evident when you right-click a printer in the list. (This is different from deleting and re-adding the printer).

Lastly, I also discovered the "Printing Simulator" which could perhaps have been used to further troubleshoot the data being generated by the driver.

share|improve this answer

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .