Many Canon printers (e.g. iX6500) have two types of black ink. Suppose you just want to use one - for example, you need to print something urgently, but there's a fault with the other type of black's ink cartridge and that's the type it is trying to use.

How can you force it to use the other type?

2 Answers 2


PGBK ink is intended for uses like text, it's smudge resistant and good for fine lines. BK ink is intended for photographs, it's richer. The printer defaults to PGBK for text, lines etc - unless it thinks they are part of a photo.

So, you can force a Canon printer to use BK ink instead of PGBK by telling it that you are printing a photo onto plain paper.

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Warning: as user395664 commented, doing this does substantially slow down printing speed, even on "standard" quality.

  • 2
    This is a great idea if you are only printing a few pages. However, when trying to print batches of 100 letters or more it just doesnt cut it. Printing time per page more than triples using this method.
    – user395664
    Dec 3, 2014 at 15:45

In printer settings, change paper type to "high resolution paper". Problem solved! Thanks ~ Dan Richard ~ http://www.danrichard.com/2011/07/14/how-to-use-the-other-black-ink-cartidge-when-one-is-empty-on-your-canon-pixma-mx850-printer/

  • Works great for me on Linux. Cheers!
    – nbubis
    Sep 12, 2015 at 9:58
  • 1
    This is the correct answer. As far as pigment vs dye inks go, it's not a text vs pictures issue, it's a paper quality issue. Pigment sits (and lasts) better on plain paper, dye ink works better on glossy photo paper. If you want the other ink type to be used, tell the printer you are using the other paper type. See the photography SE
    – mcalex
    Mar 5, 2018 at 15:22

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