Changing Printing Priority

Working in an office with a shared printer can lead to lots of downtime as you wait for your someone else's project to finish printing before yours floats to the top of the queue. That can be a real problem if you need your output right away -- but Mac OS X offers a way around that problem if you know where to look.

The Mac OS X print dialog includes a Priority option that's neatly tucked away in an unassuming pop-up menu. You can use this option to tell the other Macs on your network that your print job is more or less important than other print jobs. Here's how:

  • Choose File > Print to open the Print dialog.
  • Click the pop-up menu that's just below the Pages radio buttons and select the Scheduler option. Not all Print dialogs look the same since printer drivers and applications can change how the standard dialog looks. That means you may have to poke around a little find the right pop-up menu.

Make your files print before or after others with the Print dialog's Priority option

  • Now click the Priority pop-up menu and choose a new priority setting for your print job. The default is Medium, which means your job will print in the order it was received. Choosing High or Urgent means your file will print before other files that make it to the printer at the same time.


I use the Priority setting when I need to print files with critical deadlines, like notes or outlines for meetings that are about to start, or for documents that need to be shipped before before the FedEx or UPS driver leaves.

Of course, with great power comes great responsibility, so don't change your print priority settings unless you have a compelling reason to do so. It's only fair, and it makes for a happier workplace.