Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Word versions: 2007 and 2010. If you are using an earlier version (Word 2003 or earlier), this tip may not work for you. For a version of this tip written specifically for earlier versions of Word, click here: Canceling Printing.

Canceling Printing

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated November 12, 2020)


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 (9994) applies to Microsoft Word 2007 and 2010. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Word 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. ...


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What is five minus 4?

2015-04-07 09:30:26

Rick G.

Often the only reliable way to cancel a print job is walk up to the printer itself and press the right combination of buttons. (Which buttons, depends on the printer.)
--- P.Dhir, if by "how to get to the default setting" you mean Word 2010's setting for "Print in background" here is an answer: In Word, click on the File tab. Near the bottom, click on "Options", click "Advanced", scroll down to the "Print" section and you will find the "Print in background" checkbox.
--- In Allan's defense, there isn't a simple answer to the question "How can I cancel my print job?" because it depends on many different things. Microsoft should make it very easy to cancel a print job, but they don't. It is frustrating.

2015-04-07 07:19:22

P. Dhir

Why do the writers explain in such a way that a lay computer user can't understand? With the above explanation, I am still not sure how to cancel the print job and I am not that dumb either. The most crucial step has been left out, namely how to get to the default setting. The writer should always bring himself to the level of a common reader before using his/her pen. I hope we don't have many writers on computer subject like this one.

2014-08-18 12:10:06


Dear Allen,
Your tip is wonderful but incomplete. I "print" to pdf. For some reason it is not functioning. My pdf printer states that there are two jobs in the queue. I want to cancel those and get back to zero. With the previous Office I just went to "cancel print jobs" or something like that, I don't see it here...
Thanks again!!!!!!
Best regards,
Etienne (Steve)
Buenos Aires

2014-05-10 17:38:30

Ferial Bishop

I totally agree with Margaret Carney's comments. Why in the world would microsoft not display canceling print option as it was in microsoft XP. I am still not sure I know how to cancel a print job even with the above explanation.

2013-12-27 10:02:41


I hate this new version 2010 of Word. Under the old version, the cancel print option appeared on the screen. This 2010 version you have to use HELP and then read volumes and volumes of notes!!! I just want to cancel a print. I had to grab the paper out of printer and then look up how to cancel. Nonsense. I am still not sure what to do to cancel so I am going to turn my printer off and hope the printing has been cancelled by the time I turn on....what a rigmarole. Cancelling printing is an important option and should be clearer under the print command.........I am annoyed....

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