Quickly cancel print jobs

Have you ever sent a huge print job to your printer, only to realize after the fact that (a) it was the wrong printer, or (b) it was the wrong print job? There are many ways to stop print jobs, including using the Printer Setup Utility and disconnecting the printer’s cable from the computer. But using Printer Setup Utility can be time consuming, meaning you’ll waste more pages before the job terminates, and pulling the cable may leave your print job orphaned in the queue. So here’s a clean, very fast, and easy-to-use alternative that will cancel all print jobs for all users on the current machine.

(Note that if you’ve got a fast connection to a printer with lots of RAM, the job may already be gone from your Mac by the time you realize you want to stop it. If that’s the case, powering down the printer is probably your only solution.)

Terminal solution

If you don’t mind using Terminal, you can kill all pending print jobs with one simple command:

cancel -a -

Enter that in Terminal and press Return, and all print jobs should be terminated.

Non-Terminal solution

Opening Terminal takes a bit of time, and when you’re trying to cancel a print job, time is of the essence. So here’s an even simpler solution. Open Script Editor, in /Applications -> Utilities, and enter the following lines:

	do shell script "cancel -a -"

display dialog "No more printing jobs" buttons ["OK"] default button 1

Save the script somewhere convenient, such as a folder in your user’s Documents folder. In the Script Editor’s Save dialog, give your program a name (Print Terminator!), and set the File Format pop-up menu to application . After saving the file, locate it in the Finder and the drag it to the sidebar, up to the toolbar, or down into the Dock. Now when you need to quickly kill a print job, just click your new program’s icon in the sidebar, toolbar, or Dock, and you’re done!

You may not need this hint very often, but when you do, your paper supply will thank you for being prepared!

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