How Do I Clear the Invoice Print Queue Without Actually Printing the Invoices?

There are 4 basic ways to clear the QuickBooks invoice print queue:

  1. uncheck the To be printed checkbox on each individual invoice
  2. send the invoices to an existing printer but delete the print job before it even starts
  3. install a new printer configured to print to a file rather than the printer itself and optionally delete the file
  4. use programming techniques to reset the To be printed flag

If you only need to clear a small number of invoices, the first approach is simple and straightforward.  Just find the invoice you want to remove from the print queue, uncheck the To be printed checkbox, and move on to the next invoice to be cleared.

Unfortunately, it doesn’t take a very large number to make this approach impractical.

Our second approach solves the problem of clearing a large number of invoices.  Send the invoices to an existing printer with a specific configuration and delete the print job before it starts printing.  Choose a printer configured for print spooling and to start printing after the last page is spooled.  Turn the printer off before printing the batch of invoices in QuickBooks.  That means that you can tell QuickBooks to print the batch of invoices to that printer, but nothing will actually print.  The entire job will be sent to the printer, or spooled.  To verify your printer is properly configured, in Windows (not QuickBooks!) open your Printers window and right click on your printer and choose Properties from the context menu.  Then, select the Advanced tab.

Be sure to select Spool print documents so program finishes printing faster and Start printing after last page is spooled, as shown in the above image.  (This image is from Windows Vista Ultimate SP1; the exact menus and descriptions may vary slightly in your version of Windows.)  This will insure that the entire print job is sent to the printer before it attempts to print the first invoice.  Since the printer is off, no printing will occur.  Now you’re ready to send the print batch from QuickBooks.  Once QuickBooks has finished sending the print batch to the printer, in Windows (not QuickBooks!) return to your Printers window, right click on your printer, and select Open from the context menu.  You should now see the print job or jobs that you need to delete.  If you need to delete a large number of jobs, click on the first job, then scroll down to the last job, and click on it while holding down the shift key.  All the jobs between the first and last will be selected.  Then, right click on a selected job and choose Cancel from the context menu.  The print job or jobs will be deleted without actually printing any invoices, and QuickBooks will clear the To be printed flag for all invoices on its own.

A variation on our second method is to send the print job to a file, such as an Adobe PDF, and then delete the file.

Our third approach is to install a new printer configured to print to a file rather than the printer itself before attempting to print invoices in QuickBooks.  During invoice printing, select the newly installed printer as the printer for this print batch.  The specific steps to install a new printer configured to print to a file are discussed in this Intuit knowledge base article.

Lastly, our fourth approach is to reset the To be printed flag using advanced techniques.  These file access techniques are beyond the capability of a typical QuickBooks user, and they’re most applicable when a large number of invoices need to be cleared and they need to be cleared selectively.  Using programming techniques, we can select large numbers of invoices far more efficiently than would be possible if performed manually.  If that’s your circumstance, send us an email and we’ll provide a quotation on the cost to clear the print queue.

This article discusses ways to clear the To be printed flag under normal circumstances, but there are situations where this flag won’t clear using these techniques.  One such situation is caused by a damaged invoice template.  In these circumstances, you’ll have to first restore normal operation by following the troubleshooting steps appropriate to that special situation before attempting to change the To be printed flag on a larger batch of invoices.

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  1. I have tried printing to a file, actually printing the invoices, etc., yet the invoices still show up in the “Select Invoices to Print” dialog box. I’m going to try the spooling option mentioned above, but would like suggestions on where to go from here.

  2. Hello I am having a problem deleting invoices that are already printed from my a/r files
    How can I get them off of there

  3. I have Invoices that were already printed out in my a/r I cannot get them to go away , I’ve sent them to other places to see if they would delete but they have not. How can I get them off there?
    I am using QB Accounting 2013

  4. Debbie Johnson says

    I have old invoices since 1998 on my QuickBooks. Is there any way I can remove 1998-2006?
    please don’t make it complicated.

  5. Ran Hooper says

    Thanks for the printing tip, just make a PDF and delete it.

  6. Judy Wilson says

    Can I look up a customer by check number only????

    • Judy – Can you clarify how your question relates to clearing a print queue? Your print queue for checks would be your checks to vendors, not checks to customers.