The MFC stands for "multi-function" in Brother inkjet printer model numbers, but one of the most essential components in the machine is the ink cartridge. Many MFC models can copy, scan and fax documents, in addition to printing functions. However, if the you deplete your ink stores, then printing and copying -- two out of four functions -- become almost impossible to execute. The quality of your documents may lack some colors or the machine will just pause ink-based operations all together. Household and business users can effortlessly remedy this temporary setback to restore the machine to full operation.

Step 1.

Obtain a new ink cartridge(s) for the Brother MFC printer. Read the "Ink Empty" error message that appears on the LCD display screen on the top or front of the printer. This message usually states which colors you need to replace. Temporarily place the cartridges to the side of the printer on a flat surface.

Step 2.

Access and open the compartment on the inside of the printer that holds the ink cartridges. In some models, you must lift the flat-bed scanner cover to see the ink cartridges. Other models have an ink compartment door to the right side of the machine.

Step 3.

Remove the empty ink cartridge. Unlatch the locking mechanism that holds the cartridge in place, if available. Pull the cartridge out from the machine. Discard it in the trash.

Step 4.

Open the plastic wrapping or container that holds the replacement cartridge(s). Peel off the protective tape that covers the contact points.

Step 5.

Look at the colors of the receptacles that hold the ink cartridges. Pick up the new ink cartridge for a single color. Use the guiding arrows on the cartridge and inside the printer to slide the tank into the machine. Carefully push the cartridge in until it stops. Repeat this step for each additional replacement cartridge.

Step 6.

Close the locking latches that hold the ink cartridges in place, if available. Close the flat-bed door or compartment door for the ink cartridge area.

Step 7.

Look at the LCD screen on the printer. Most models can automatically sense when a new cartridge is in place. Read the question and follow the instructions on the screen. For example, the printer might display the following sequence of text: "Did you change the black cartridge?" > "Press 1 = Yes" > "Press 2 = No." Use the numeric keypad near the LCD screen to enter your response. Proceed with sending print jobs to the machine.


Navigate to the Brother Solutions Center website to download and read the manual for your specific model MFC printer.


Differentiate between "toner" and "ink cartridges." Toner is used in MFC laser printers and ink cartridges are for inkjet printers.

Though generic cartridges and refill kits are available as a cheaper alternative to buying Brother-branded cartridges, you might damage or impair the printer if these products are of poor quality.