Printing is the source of many problems for a lot of people. For whatever reason, people seem to click first and ask questions later. Depending on the software, often if you click the little printer button on a toolbar, the program bypasses the print dialog box where you can set options. So you either end up with mistakes such as printing more than you want or sending your document to the wrong printer.
The Print dialog box has a sea of options you can set, depending on what you want to do. First, make sure you are printing to the correct printer by choosing it from the Name drop-down box. Next, decide what you are printing by checking the options in the Print What dialog box. For example, in PowerPoint, you can choose to print Slides, Handouts, Notes Pages, or Outline. Word lets you print the Document, Properties, Styles and so forth. You can set any other necessary options such as how many copies you want to print and then click OK to start printing.
Using the Print dialog box forces you to think before you kill a bunch of trees. But what if a document starts printing and you realize it's not what you want? How can you get the print job to stop?
The key to understanding printing is to realize that your print job "spools" to your computer's hard disk first. After the job is sent to your hard disk, it then goes on to your printer. So stopping a print job using the dialog boxes doesn't necessarily stop the printing if the job is already off your hard disk. If you accidentally started printing an enormous document, you need to try two things to make it stop.
In Windows XP, click the Start button and choose Printers and Faxes. (In earlier versions or XP Classic View, you can find printers by choosing Start|Settings|Printers.) Find your printer, and a window appears that shows your print job. Alternatively, while a job is printing, you generally see an icon in your Quick Launch toolbar. Right-click it to open the window. In the dialog box, right-click your job and cancel it or choose Printer|Cancel All Documents.
Sometimes the window is empty. That means the job has spooled off your hard disk and is at the printer running from the printer's memory. The only way to kill the job is the direct approach. After you cancel the job in the Printer window, just turn off the printer to clear the print job from memory. Generally, this process causes a paper jam, but I tend to think it's worth the time to clear a paper jam in order to save a few trees.