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How to Manage Documents Waiting to Print

Whenever you print a document, that document enters a print queue, a line of documents waiting for their turn at the printer. A printer icon appears in your system tray next to the clock to let you know that the queue is active. You can open the print queue and do some document management. Some of the things you can do in the print queue depend on whether you are using a printer hooked up directly to your computer or a network printer. Network printers are usually shared by many users; you can manage only the documents that belong to you. You cannot affect other user's documents or the print queue itself, unless you are the administrator of the printer.

Open the Print Queue

To open the print queue, double-click the printer icon in the system tray when it appears. Right-clicking the printer icon opens a shortcut menu that lets you open the print queue for any printer on your system, not just the actively printing one.

Figure 3.12

View Documents Waiting to Print

The print queue shows a list of documents waiting to print in the order in which they are to be printed. For each document, details such as owner, number of pages, document size, and time of submission are also shown.

Figure 3.13

Cancel the Printing of a Document

To remove a document from the print queue—that is, to stop it from being printed—right-click the document and choose Cancel from the shortcut menu. Be sure that you choose the correct document because Windows does not ask whether you are sure that you want to remove the document.

Figure 3.14

Pause the Printing of a Document

If you pause a document, it remains in the print queue but does not print until you choose to resume printing. Other documents waiting in the queue continue to print. To pause a document, right-click the document and choose Pause from the shortcut menu; the status of the document in the print queue window changes to Paused. Choose Resume from the document's shortcut menu when you are ready for the document to continue printing.

Figure 3.15

Restart the Printing of a Document

When you restart a paused document, it begins printing again from the beginning. This can be useful if, for example, you start to print a document and then realize the wrong paper is loaded in the printer. You can pause the document, change the paper, and then restart the document. To restart a document, right-click the document and choose Restart from the context menu.

Figure 3.16

Change a Document's Priority

A document's priority governs when it prints in relation to other documents in the print queue. By default, all documents are given a priority of 1, the lowest priority available. The highest priority is 99. Increasing a document's priority causes it to print before other waiting documents. Double-click the document to open its Properties dialog box. Then drag the Priority slider to set a higher priority.

Figure 3.17

Pause the Whole Print Queue

Pausing the entire print queue keeps all documents from printing. This can be useful if you suspect a problem with your printer (perhaps it's low on toner). You can pause the queue, fix the problem, and then restart the queue. To pause the queue, open the Printer menu and choose Pause Printing. The title bar for the print queue window changes to indicate that the printer is paused. To resume printing, choose the Pause Printing command again.

Figure 3.18

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