Drag and drop print jobs between printers

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Do you have more than one printer—a color inkjet for printing photos and a laser printer for everything else, for instance? If so, you’ve probably (more than once) accidentally sent a printjob to the wrong printer. If it’s a simple one-page text document you sent to the photo printer, then you’re just out a bit of black ink. But if you send your 300MB full-page full-color bleed ad to your laser printer, you may find the machine locked up for quite a while as it processes the images. But all is not lost; if you’re somewhat quick with your fingers, you could still salvage things.

First, some setup. To make it possible to quickly correct mis-routed print jobs, put both your printers’ icons in your dock. The easiest way to do this is to open Printer Setup Utility (in /Applications: Utilities), and then drag each printer’s entry in the list to a folder on your hard drive—you probably won’t be accessing these files directly, so go ahead and bury them in your user’s folder somewhere. For example, I created a folder called Printers inside my user’s Documents folder, and dragged each printer to that folder. From there, drag each printer icon from the Finder to your Dock. Here’s a portion of my Dock, showing the two printers at the end of the left side:

The reason for doing this is to put access to your printers one click away, regardless of which app you may happen to be using at the time. Note that you could also put the printers in the Finder’s toolbar or sidebar, but if you do, you’d have to be able to see a Finder window to get at them; that’s why I use the Dock instead. Now that you’ve got the printers set up, you’re ready for a misdirected print job.

Now that you’re ready, here’s how to correct your next misrouted job. As soon as you realize that you’ve sent a print job to the wrong printer, click on both printers’ Dock icons. This will open a window for each printer. Click on the window for the printer that received the job, and click the Stop Jobs button in the toolbar—do this as quickly as you can, to prevent the job from actually printing. Obviously, the larger the print job, the more time you’ll have to stop the jobs.

Once the job is stopped, all you need to do is drag and drop the print job entry from the “wrong” printer to the “right” printer, as seen here:

As soon as you drop the job, it will begin processing on the other printer. If you don’t want it to start right away, you should click the other printer’s Stop Jobs button prior to dragging the job across.

I don’t keep a lot of stuff in my Dock other than running applications, but I’ve definitely saved some wasted paper (and aggravation!) by having access to my printers via their Dock icons.

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