I recently purchased a Hp Envy 5540 printer with original inks and noticed that none of the colours smudge when I run my fingers across them apart from the black ink on the page which smudges very very easily. This is the case even after I leave the page for many weeks. When I come back to it, the black ink is still smudging and none of the other colours are.

My question is, if I get a more expensive dye based printer will I encounter the same issue? or is the issue just a result of me having a cheaper dye based printer?

There are some dye based printers on the market, especially the Canon Pixma range, that have all dye inks and one black pigment ink too however, I have learnt that these printers will not default to using the pigment black unless the whole document is black, which is a shame.

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    \$\begingroup\$ I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because this is about printer ink specification, not photography. \$\endgroup\$
    – Tetsujin
    Commented Feb 6, 2018 at 19:30
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    \$\begingroup\$ If you've selected the wrong paper profile the printer may be putting down more ink than the paper you're using can absorb. Ink behavior is highly dependent on the paper you use. Coated 'photo' paper (such as this) should absorb the ink quickly and smearing shouldn't happen assuming you've told the printer the correct media type. \$\endgroup\$
    – BobT
    Commented Feb 7, 2018 at 20:39
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Tetsujin if the question is about printing photographs, I think it's definitely on topic. There might not be a lot of expertise here on the site for this particular question though. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Feb 8, 2018 at 3:34
  • \$\begingroup\$ Printing is surely part of the photographic process? \$\endgroup\$
    – Crazy Dino
    Commented Feb 20, 2018 at 22:48

1 Answer 1


Some printers smudge less when printed in highest quality (vs default fast print), as it lays the ink in more precise economic layers.

Pitch black typically uses ink heavily unlike dark gray. If you are printing from Photoshop, make your blacks grayish by increasing Output value of Levels of the blacks (0) a few grades up towards the grays (e.g. 10).

Smudging also depends on paper quality. Printer makers suggest to use their branded paper.


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