Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Word versions: 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003. If you are using a later version (Word 2007 or later), this tip may not work for you. For a version of this tip written specifically for later versions of Word, click here: Canceling Printing.

Canceling Printing

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated February 26, 2011)


If you are printing a long document, you may decide that you want to cancel printing for some reason. Exactly how you do this depends on if you are using the background printing feature of Word. If you have background printing turned off, Word displays a dialog box during the printing process. This dialog box, besides informing you of the progress of the print job, also contains a Cancel button. Simply click on this button to stop the print job.

Most people, however, will have background printing turned on—this is the default setting for Word. With background printing turned on Word does not display a dialog box. However, on the status bar you can see a small printer icon that indicates the page currently being printed. To cancel the print job, double-click on the printer icon.

You should remember that print jobs can be stored at various places before they are actually printed. Word "hands off" the print job to Windows, and then Windows figures out what to do with it. Most likely it sends the job to the printer (if it the printer is directly connected to your computer) or it sends it to another location on your network, such as another computer or the printer itself. Why is this important? Because if you want to cancel a print job, you may not be able to do it directly from Word—you may need to figure out where the print job is located on its travels to the printer and then cancel it at that location.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (1237) applies to Microsoft Word 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003. You can find a version of this tip for the ribbon interface of Word (Word 2007 and later) here: Canceling Printing.

Author Bio

Allen Wyatt

With more than 50 non-fiction books and numerous magazine articles to his credit, Allen Wyatt is an internationally recognized author. He  is president of Sharon Parq Associates, a computer and publishing services company. ...


Changing Elements in Lots of Charts at One Time

Got a bunch of charts that you need to make formatting changes in? You can use a macro (or two) to apply the formatting ...

Discover More

Protecting Fields

Tired of getting the fields in your document overwritten by regular editing tasks? Here's how to make those mistakes more ...

Discover More

Adjusting Comment Printouts

Need to print out comments, but in a way that you control what is included in the printout? Here's a way you can extract ...

Discover More

Learning Made Easy! Quickly teach yourself how to format, publish, and share your content using Word 2013. With Step by Step, you set the pace, building and practicing the skills you need, just when you need them! Check out Microsoft Word 2013 Step by Step today!

More WordTips (menu)

Triple-Spacing Your Document

Print your document with lots of space between each line—triple space it! Here's some quick and easy steps for ...

Discover More

Peculiar Font Differences

Have you noticed page layout differences when you open a document on different systems? There are a number of reasons why ...

Discover More

Printing Copy Numbers

Copy 1, Copy 2, Copy 3... Do you want to mark your printouts so that they are numbered? Here's how you can do it.

Discover More

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in WordTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

View most recent newsletter.


If you would like to add an image to your comment (not an avatar, but an image to help in making the point of your comment), include the characters [{fig}] in your comment text. You’ll be prompted to upload your image when you submit the comment. Maximum image size is 6Mpixels. Images larger than 600px wide or 1000px tall will be reduced. Up to three images may be included in a comment. All images are subject to review. Commenting privileges may be curtailed if inappropriate images are posted.

What is four less than 8?

2017-03-08 18:26:05


Hi Allen,

Because of the optional causes outlined in your final paragraph I too encountered problems trying to cancel printing. Often, even after Cancel All Documents in Windows |Settings|Control |Printers - and even switching off the printer to clear the buffer - a document remained in the printer list. I found what appears to be an ideal solution at the following site: Running this little utitity from Windows command line and creating a desktop shortcut now means that Everything is cleared when I click on the shortcut.

I hope this may be useful to others.

2015-09-15 20:11:59

A. Harcourt

"To cancel the print job, double-click on the printer icon."

WHAT printer icon? WHERE?

This Site

Got a version of Word that uses the menu interface (Word 97, Word 2000, Word 2002, or Word 2003)? This site is for you! If you use a later version of Word, visit our WordTips site focusing on the ribbon interface.

Newest Tips

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in WordTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

(Your e-mail address is not shared with anyone, ever.)

View the most recent newsletter.