How to Cancel a Print Job

By Joseph Kowal

Have you ever sent a print job to your printer by accident? What if you meant to print only two pages out of 500, but accidentally printed them all?

Step 1

After you click the "Print" button and realize that you have made a mistake, you need to act quickly to avoid wasting paper and ink. There are two different methods you can use to cancel print jobs. The fastest way to cancel a print job is to look in the notification area of your task bar (at the bottom right of your screen next to the time) for an icon that looks like a tiny printer. Double-click on that printer icon and you will see a list of print jobs currently running or about to run. Right-click on the print job you want to cancel and then choose "Cancel" from the small list of choices that pops up.To cancel all pending print jobs at once, double click the small printer icon, choose the "Printer" menu option from the window that opens, and then click on the "Cancel all documents" choice. All print jobs will be canceled at once.

Step 2

If you do not see a small printer icon in the notification area near the time, you need to click on the "Start" button and then look for the "Printers and Faxes" menu option. After choosing the "Printers and Faxes" option you will see a list of printers attached to your computer. Double-click on the printer you sent the accidental print job to and then you will see a list of print jobs currently running or about to run. You may now cancel those print jobs as described in Step 1.

Step 3

If none of the steps described above stop the currently running print job, it may be too late to cancel the printing from the computer. In this case, you will need to go to the printer itself and hit the "Cancel" or even the "Off" button in order to stop the printing process. This happens because your computer sends the print information to the printer very quickly and the printer then stores that information in its own memory until the print job is completed--this all happens in a matter of seconds.

Tips & Warnings

  • Some operating systems make it a little more difficult to locate the currently running print jobs. If you do not see a list of printers after clicking on the "Start" button, you should then click on the "Control Panel" button and then look for the "Printers and Faxes" option. If you do not see a "Printers and Faxes" choice, you should then look for the "Hardware and Sound" option and open it up. Your list of printers will be inside of the "Hardware and Sound" category.
  • Your best option in all cases is to look for the small printer icon in the lower right of your screen and then double-click that icon. This is always the fastest way to get to your currently running print jobs so that you can cancel them quickly with a simple right-click of the mouse.