Upon recommedation of a vendor I have purchase an Canon MG6600 for home-use. However, upon trying to print documents in grayscale, I have found that it will use the color cartridges: If one of them is empty, the "gray" suddenly turns into colors, and light grays might be missing entirely from the print.

Previous color-printers I used were able to operate without color cartridges, when grayscale printing was requested. These printers usually create different brightness levels by placing black spots in different densities, but that should apply for different intensities of any coloring agent. Hence the Canon MG 6600 should support this too, at least hardware-wise. Note on the example below, that some of the areas are actually grayish!

How can I find out if a given printer supports such a true grayscale mode?

What I have tried

  • When printing PDFs from within Chrome, set "Color" to "Black and White"
  • Windows 10's "Settings > Devices > Printers & Scanners > Canon MG 6600 Series Printer > Printing Preferences", I have enabled "Grayscale printing".


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Update: The issue seems to be fixed.

At least for me, that issue has disappeared again at some point during September 2019. Seems like a recent update to either Chrome or Windows fixed the issue. Please comment, if you are aware of details (I couldn't find relevant change notes.)

Google Chrome uses color cartridges for B&W

It turns out that the problem wasn't in the printer, but in Google Chrome.

When printing from within Chrome with the "black and white" setting, the colors are converted to grayscale, but the printer isn't instructed to treat it as a grayscale print.

The issue is stealthy

The difference becomes apparent only when running out of color cartridges; Meanwhile, you will be wasting color cartriges on grayscale prints, when relying on Chrome to do the right thing.

Use "Print using system dialog (Ctrl+Shift+P)"

Only by using this option did I get a real black&white print.

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