How to Cancel a Print Job and Clear Printer Queue

Clear your printer's queue and get rid of stuck print requests

No matter what printer you use, you're likely to come across situations where you need to cancel a print job. Maybe you sent the wrong document, or a print job is taking too long and blocking other documents in the print queue. Whatever the cause of your errant printing situation, there are some easy ways to cancel a print job and clear the printer queue and printer spooler.

Instructions in this article apply to printers in use with Windows 10 computers.

How to Cancel a Print Job

There are a few different approaches to canceling a print job. Cancel the print job via buttons or settings on the printer itself, from an application dialog box, from Windows Settings, through the Windows Taskbar, or from the Windows Control Panel. If all else fails, resetting the print spooler may solve the problem.

Someone holding papers and pressing a button on a printer to stop a print job
CC0 BY 2.0 / Pxhere

Cancel a Print Job Directly Through Your Printer

While mobile to all-in-one printers differ according to manufacturer and model, they all have similar functionality that can help stop a print job:

  • 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 to stop a print job or clear the print queue. See your printer manufacturer's website or manual to learn more.
  • Remove paper tray: Delay a print job by removing the paper tray. This will give you more time to cancel or clear your print job without wasting paper.
  • Turn the printer off: Sometimes turning your printer off and then back on again will clear the print job. This isn't always the case, however.

It's worth a try to turn off the printer, unplug the power for a few seconds to let the printer reset fully, and then plug it back in and turn it on again.

Cancel a Print Job Through an Application Dialog Box

During printing, most applications will briefly display a printing dialog box that offers a cancellation option. This is 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.

Clear the Print Queue Through Windows Settings

It's fast and effective to go into Windows Settings and cancel a print job and clear the print queue, if necessary.

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

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

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

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

    Printer settings dialog box within Windows 10.
  4. Select the printer where 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. Your print job is now canceled.

    Confirmation of canceling a print job in Windows 10.

Clear the 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 where 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 rather clear one that isn't working properly. There are additional steps to regain control of your printer.

  1. 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. Select Restart to reinitiate 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, try to clear the Print Spooler. The Print Spooler communicates your print command to the printer and it 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've now reset your printer spooler.