5 Ways to Fix ‘ERROR: Timeout OFFENDING COMMAND: Timeout’ on Mac

Printing out documents, images, drawings, and other types of files should be an uncomplicated process. All you need to do is connect a printer to your Mac, open the file you want to print out, then hit the Print button.

However, because of some factors, printing errors could happen, ranging from printing out extra pages to the paper being jammed to not being able to print anything at all. The printing error message should give you a clue as to what caused the problem and how to fix it. For example, if you see a notification that says you’ve run out of paper, just feed more paper to the printer and resume your printing.

However, things could get confusing when you encounter this message when printing:

ERROR:  timeout
OFFENDING COMMAND:  timeout
STACK:

This printing error does not exactly say what the error is all about, what triggered it, and most of all, how to fix it. According to users who have encountered this error, this message is printed out on an additional page after every print.

For most users, the printing process seems fine except for the extra page with the error message on it. But if you’re printing checks or other files that need special materials, this error could be costly and cause complications. Extra checks, for example, need to be canceled at the bank even if they were printed in error. If you’re printing CAD files or flyers using special paper, the extra printed page is a waste of your resources.

What Is ERROR: Timeout OFFENDING COMMAND: Timeout?

The ERROR: timeout OFFENDING COMMAND: timeout printing problem is a PostScript error indicating that a time limit has been exceeded when executing the command. This error happens when a significant time gap occurs between receiving two portions of the same printing job.

This timeout delay could be caused by a slow connection between the printer and the computer you are using. It could also be due to  an incorrect Raster Image Processor (RIP) timeout value on your computer or printer. RIP is the software that is in charge of preparing data for display or printing.

Here are other reasons why printing gives the “ERROR: timeout OFFENDING COMMAND: timeout” message:

  • Outdated printer software
  • Incorrect printer settings
  • Corrupted printer preferences

How to Fix ERROR: Timeout OFFENDING COMMAND: Timeout

The ERROR: timeout OFFENDING COMMAND: timeout issue is not a critical problem. The printing process is usually completed successfully, except for the extra page with the timeout message printed on it. But if you’re using special materials for your print-out, that extra page is a huge waste of resources.

But before you try fixing this error, you should try out some basic troubleshooting steps first to see if the problem goes away:

  1. Unplug your printer, disconnect the cable from the computer, then plug it back in again. Restart your printer.
  2. Restart your Mac.
  3. Clean out junk files using Tweakbit MacRepair. This will delete old printing caches that may be causing the error.
  4. Scan your Mac for malware, just in case.

If the error persists even after completing the steps above, then proceed with the solutions below.

Solution #1: Update Your Printer Software.

One of the reasons why printing gives the “ERROR: timeout OFFENDING COMMAND: timeout” message is outdated printer software. If the issue appeared after recently installing an update or new software, then you’re probably having compatibility issues.

To install any updates for your printer, check the App Store  in the Apple menu. Install all available updates there while you’re at it. If you don’t see any printer update in the App Store, visit the manufacturer’s website and check out the latest version of the software. If there’s a new update, download it and install the update manually.

Solution #2: Reset Your Printer Preferences.

When you’re using a Mac, your printer’s preferences are saved in a .plist file in the Library folder. Over time, the preferences file can get corrupted, leading to various printing errors. If this happens, you need to reset your printer’s preferences to resolve the error. Deleting the .plist file associated with your printer is the only way to do that.

To delete your printer’s .plist file:

  1. In Finder, hold Options, then click Go > Library.
  2. Look for the Preferences folder and open it.
  3. Search for the .plist file associated with the installed printer on your Mac. Delete these .plist files from the folder.
  4. Go back to the Library folder and click the Printer folder.
  5. Delete all files inside the Printer folder.

Once done, restart your printer and computer, then try doing a test print to see if the error has been fixed.

Solution #3: Reset Your Mac’s Printing System.

Resetting the printer system is a common troubleshooting method to deal with various printer issues. But before you proceed, take note that this option will remove and delete everything that’s related to your printer, including:

  • Printer queues
  • Existing print jobs
  • Printer settings
  • Printer preference files
  • Printer permissions

If you’re sure you want to proceed with the reset process, follow the steps below:

  1. Click the System Preferences icon from the Dock or go to Apple > System Preferences.
  2. Choose Printers & Scanners.
  3. Right-click in an empty area in the Printers & Scanners window, then choose Reset Printing System.
  4. Click the Reset button when the confirmation message appears.
  5. Type in your admin password when asked, then click OK.

Wait for the reset process to be completed before doing a test print to see if it worked.

Solution #4: Edit Timeout Value.

The printer timeout is the amount of time (seconds) that the printer has to wait for the data to be sent out from the computer during a printing job. If the stream of data pauses for more than the specified timeout value, a timeout error occurs.

The default timeout value for most printers is either 40 or 45 milliseconds. To edit this value, you need to access your printer’s settings. You can also ask your manufacturer for instructions on how to change the timeout value for your printer.

Solution #5: Uninstall, Then Reinstall Printer.

If the solutions above don’t work, you can try uninstalling the printer from your Mac, then re-installing it after a few minutes. To uninstall your printer, follow these steps:

  1. Go to Apple Menu > System Preferences > Printers & Scanners.
  2. Click the lock icon and sign in using your admin credentials to be able to make changes.
  3. Under Printers on the left menu, click the printer you want to remove.
  4. Click the (-) button below, then click Delete Printer to remove the printer from your computer.

To add it back, just go back to the Printers & Scanners window and click the (+) button instead. If the printer is already available on your network, just click the name of the printer from the list. If you’re using a printer using a USB connection, just plug it in and you will see a pop up prompting you to install the software for that printer. Wait for the driver to be installed, and you should be good to go.

Summary

The ERROR: timeout OFFENDING COMMAND: timeout issue may not be a critical system problem, but those extra printed papers and other materials are a huge waste of resources. It might not be a big deal if you’re using ordinary paper, but it can be annoying just the same. If you come across this error, simply follow the solutions above and see which one works best for you.

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