Understand printing errors in OSX 10.12 Sierra

Article ID: ART166676 | Date published: 10/21/2016 | Date last updated: 10/21/2019


Find solutions to printing errors specific to Macintosh OSX 10.12 Sierra including filter error and partial printing issues.


Symptoms and cause 

If you are using the OS X El Capitan (10.11) printer driver on a Mac OS X Sierra (10.12) system, you may have the following symptoms and be unable to print correctly.

  • When you attempt to print, the filter error will be indicated and no printing can be performed.
    print spooler screen showing Printing - Filter failed highlighted
  • Printing stops part way through.
  • Print results are incorrect (some portions are missing, etc.).


Best solution

Update your computer to macOS 10.12.1 and install the latest CUPS printer driver for your printer.  Find the most recent drivers on our support site.


Alternative steps

If you prefer not to update your computer to macOS 10.12.1 or later, the following steps may help.

  1. Select Print from your application.
  2. In the Print dialog, select the PDF drop-down menu. 
    Print dialog with PDF drop down shown
  3. Select Open PDF in Preview.
    PDF drop down options
  4. Preview application will launch, and from in Preview, select File > Save....
    Preview File menu with Save... highlighted
  5. In the Format section, select TIFF, and specify 600 pixels/inch resolution. 
    Save as with Format section called out
  6. Select Save.
  7. In Preview, select File > Export....
      Preview File menu with Export... highlighted
  8. In the Format section, select TIFF, deselect Alpha, and select Save.
    Export As... dialog with Format section highlighted
  9. In Preview, select File > Print....
    Preview File menu with Print... called out
  10. In the Print dialog, choose the same paper size as in Step 1, then perform print settings in the printer driver.
    Print dialog with settings and Print button
  11. Select Print to print.

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