Printer Prints “?????” instead of Normal Text – Printer Problem

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When you are printing a label, the printer output does not look like that which is displayed on the screen. Some of the text – in a foreign language – was replaced with “???“.

Situation and symptoms

Here is the original text:

Original, on-screen text

This is what came out of a printer:

Output from printer with the Cyrillic characters replaced by “???”


You may notice that there are multiple languages in that one block of text. A closer look shows that the blocks of text which are not printing are in Cyrillic (Russian), while the Greek, Hebrew, Arabic and various Asian scripts are printing without issue.

Over the past few decades, computer software has made significant improvements to accommodate globalization – namely, the ability to display multiple languages on on screen. For a normal person (non-computer geek), it is a matter of installing the correct fonts in the computer. In reality, this feat of globalization genius was accomplished by a concept of Code-Page. This article will not go into details on how Code-Page works. If you want to find out more, please follow a link at the bottom of this article.

In modern computers, the ability to display multiple languages is already built in to the operating system. It is natural to assume that your printer can printing multiple languages as well. Since you are reading this article, it can be assumed that things did not go well with printing.

When you send a document from computer to a printer, the process involves a piece of software known as the printer driver. If your display shows all the characters correctly on the screen but the output from the printer replaces some or all of it with “???” instead, then the likely cause for the problem is the printer driver.


Install the latest version of the printer driver. In many cases, the publishers of the label design program will have their own version of the printer driver for your printer . Please check their websites.




Additional comments

Learn more about Code-Page


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