If you use an inkjet printer and see smearing on a page, it's typically because something is sticking to the printhead. If your printer includes the nozzles in the cartridges—as most HP printers do, for example—and you see smearing immediately after changing a cartridge, remove the cartridge and check to make sure the protective tape over the nozzles is completely removed. If some of the tape is still attached, remove it, being careful not to touch the nozzle plate.
Print in the right order
Most laser printers print pages so they come out face down. For a multipage document, this puts the pages in the right order when you turn over the stack. Most inkjets print pages face up, which will normally put the first page on the bottom of the stack, so you have to reorder the pages. A few inkjets default to reversing the print order, so the last page prints first and the first page prints last, and everything's in the right order. Many don't have that feature, however.
For those inkjets that don't have a reverse print feature in the driver, some programs offer printing in reverse order. In Word 2003, for example, you can choose Tools |Options, then the Print tab, and add a check to the Reverse Print Order check box. In Word 2007, you can choose the Microsoft Office Button, click Word Options, and pick the Advanced options in the pane on the left-hand side of the dialog box. Then scroll down to the print options, and check the Print Pages In Reverse Order box.
An alternative approach for Word is to tell the program to print the range in reverse order. To print a 24 page file in Word 2003, for example, instead of searching for the Reverse Print Order option, you can just choose File | Print, and, in the Pages text box, tell Word to print pages 24-1.
This alternative approach may also work for some programs that lack a reverse-print option but offer the option to print a range of pages. Don't try using both approaches at the same time, however, or use either with a driver that also reverses the order. Just as two negatives equal a positive, two commands to reverse order will cancel each other out.