How to Cancel a Print Job

Learn how to clear the printer queue

Someone holding papers and pressing a button on a printer.

CC0 BY 2.0/Pxhere

If you regularly use your printer, you need to know how to stop that print job and clear the printer queue. You should also know how to deal with a print job stuck in the print queue and causing a backlog of print jobs to sit there. Below are some ways to not only stop an errant print job, but also clear the printer queue and/or the printer spooler.

Instructions in this article apply to Windows 10.

How to Cancel Print Job Through Your Printer

Through the printer itself, there are a few things you can try to cancel a print:

  • Cancel, Reset, or Stop buttons: Most printers have a Cancel, Reset, or Stop button physically on the printer itself. It may take a combination of these buttons as well to stop or clear the print queue. See your printer manufacturer’s website or manual.
  • Remove paper tray: You can also delay printing by removing the paper tray. Doing this will give you more time to attempt canceling or clearing your print job.
  • Turn printer off: You can turn your printer off, then back on, though this may not always clear the print job. You can also try turning off the printer, then unplug the power for a few seconds to give the printer a chance to reset fully.

Cancel Print Job Through Application Dialog Box

During printing, most applications will briefly display a printing dialog box. It's the fastest way to cancel a print job, but you have to be quick to catch it and select Cancel.

Printing an Adobe PDF with the progress bar showing.

How to Clear Print Queue Through Windows Settings

  1. Select the Windows icon, then select the gear icon to open Window's settings.

    Opening up the app menu in Windows 10.
  2. Select Devices.

    Windows Setting dialog box within Windows 10.
  3. On the left-hand side, select Printers & scanners.

    Printer settings dialog box within Windows 10.
  4. Select the printer you want to cancel the print job.

    Selecting a printer within Windows 10 printer settings dialog.
  5. Select Open queue.

    Viewing printer queue options in Windows 10.
  6. The print queue should open showing all print jobs for the printer you selected. Select the document, then select Document > Cancel

    Canceling a print job from the printer queue.

    You can also right-click the print job and select Cancel, or, to cancel all print jobs, select Printer > Cancel All Documents.

  7. Select Yes.

    Confirmation of canceling a print job in Windows 10.
  8. You're done!

Clear Print Queue Through the Taskbar

You can also access the printer queue through the printer icon in the Taskbar.

  1. At the bottom right side of your screen, select the Up arrow to see all icons in the Taskbar.

    Viewing apps loaded in the taskbar within Windows 10.
  2. Right-click the printer icon and select Open All Active Printers.

    Opening the available printer queue from the taskbar in Windows 10.
  3. Follow the steps above to reset or cancel the print job.

Clear Print Queue Through Control Panel

While not very visible in Windows 10, the Control Panel is still available to use for troubleshooting and other tasks, including clearing your print job.

  1. Within the Windows taskbar, select Search or Cortana in the bottom left side of your screen. In the search box, enter "Control Panel" and select it.

    Searching for the Control Panel with Cortana.
  2. Select Devices and Printers.

    Windows 10 Control Panel with devices highlighted.
  3. You should see all of your external devices and printers. Select the printer you want to clear the print job.

    A printer is highlighted within the Devices and Printers control panel.
  4. From the menu below the path, select See what’s printing.

    You can also right-click the printer, then select See what’s printing. A third way to access this option is to double-click the printer or right-click and select Open in a new window, then select See what’s printing.

  5. Cancel the print job.

How to Fix a Stuck Print Job

Perhaps you don’t need to stop a print job, but clear one that isn’t working properly. There are additional steps to regain control of your printer.

  1. As before, go to your Taskbar and right-click the printer icon.

    Viewing apps loaded in the taskbar within Windows 10.
  2. Select Open All Active Printers.

    Opening the available printer queue from the taskbar in Windows 10.
  3. Highlight the document(s).

  4. Select Document to find a few troubleshooting print options: Pause, Resume, and Restart.

    Displaying the Document options menu within the printer queue.
  5. To temporarily halt printing on a stuck job so other print jobs might print, select Pause. Then, once the other print jobs complete, select Resume. Alternatively, select Printer > Pause Printing.

    Displaying the Document menu options from the printer queue.
  6. You can also select Restart to re-initiate the print job and hopefully clear up any errors so the print job can finish.

How to Reset the Print Spooler

If all else fails in getting a stuck print job to print, you can try to clear the Print Spooler. The Print Spooler communicates your print command to the printer of your choosing and can sometimes get stuck.

  1. Select Search or Cortana on the bottom left side of your desktop, then enter "services.msc" and select Services.

    Searching for Services with Cortana.
  2. Scroll down and select Print Spooler.

    Displaying the Services control panel with the print spooler highlighted.
  3. To the left, select Stop the service. Alternatively, right-click Print Spooler and select Stop.

    Services control panel showing the context menu for the print spooler.
  4. You should see a dialog box confirming the stopping of the service.

    The print spooler service is in the process of stopping.
  5. Now, select Restart the service. Alternatively, right-click Print Spooler, then select Restart.

    Selecting restart of the print spooler service.

    You can also right-click the Print Spooler then select Properties to find additional Stop and Restart controls.

  6. You should see a dialog box about restarting the Print Spooler service.

    Restarting the print spooler service.
  7. You're done!