Edit: For future visitors, here's a related answer which explains exactly how to do this quickly.

I help this 75 year old man with Ubuntu (He's not very savvy). He freaks out at any mention of the terminal, and I understand that totally. So I try to find solutions for him that don't involve the terminal.

He is asking for a tool to view all print jobs in queue and to be able to cancel some or all of them.

Is there any GUI tool to do this on Ubuntu? I know the terminal is very efficient, but a lot of non savvy people feel that the terminal is some scary realm where they're not sure what's going on.

If not, what would it take to create a little GUI tool for him?

  • I'm using xfce & my Dad's using Mint (but I'm pretty sure I did find the same thing when I was using unity) so excuse me if I'm wrong, but for both of us there is a simple native 'print queue' viewable without ever opening 'that little black window' as my dad calls it ;) where you can see and control jobs... I just find it poking around in the printer settings?
    – Zanna
    Jun 4, 2016 at 19:12
  • @Zanna Oh, really? I'll have to check when I get to his computer, as I don't have any printer myself. But it wouldn't surprise me if it's that easy and he just missed it. Although I searched through AU and all the previous answers only mentioned CLI. BTW, sorry about overriding your edit. I was trying to fix the typos myself and our edits crashed or something.
    – Fiksdal
    Jun 4, 2016 at 19:18
  • 1
    @Zanna I'm looking forward to checking at his computer tomorrow, I hope it's that easy :)
    – Fiksdal
    Jun 4, 2016 at 19:40
  • 1
    Hope so, then you can answer your own question with a proper explanation of how to find it instead of my vague assurances that it exists!
    – Zanna
    Jun 4, 2016 at 19:45
  • 1
    @Zanna I found it! It's indeed there in the GUI. But maybe not as easy to find as in XFCE or Mint :) See my answer for details.
    – Fiksdal
    Jun 4, 2016 at 22:35

6 Answers 6


In addition to the "Printers" application, there is a CUPS web interface that can be used to view and manage printers and print jobs on your computer. Open a web browser and point it to http://localhost:631 and the print interface should appear.

  • 1
    This looks very cool.
    – Fiksdal
    Jun 4, 2016 at 22:27

Calling the queue window in one double-click

Couldn't resist automating the job in a .desktop file in a scandalously dirty hack.

  1. Install xdotool

    sudo apt-get install xdotool
  2. Copy the code below into an empty file, save it as printerqueue.desktop

  3. Then either keep it on your desktop and make it excutable, or save it in ~/.local/share/applications

To use it, double click (on your desktop) or type Printer Queue (in Dash) to invoke the icon, and press return. Wait a few seconds (without clicking anywhere) and steps you did manually are done by the script.

enter image description here

The code

[Desktop Entry]
Exec=/bin/bash -c "'/usr/share/system-config-printer/system-config-printer.py' & sleep 3 && xdotool key Control_L+f"
Name=Printer Queue


The printers window is called by the command:


If we look into the file, it seems likely that we can somehow hack it to give it the option to show the queue from cli, since the queue window is a transient (child-) window the first one.

That would be the "clean" option on one hand, but I always feel restraint to do such a thing, Even if it was only for the possible trouble during updates.

So, the "honest" dirty option then :)

  • @Fiksdal I think it is too dirty, but editing the file /usr/share/system-config-printer/system-config-printer.py would be relatively easy :) Jun 5, 2016 at 11:49
  • @Fksdal, is something not working? Jun 5, 2016 at 11:50
  • Yeah, it would probably be better for Canonical to do something similar without xdotool. BTW, I accepted this answer because I thought it was so cool. But then I realized that people who come to this post are probably looking for something without the terminal, so even though your answer is really cool and helpful, it might not be the first thing they wanna see on top.
    – Fiksdal
    Jun 5, 2016 at 11:51
  • @Fiksdal it is without the terminal (apart from installing xdotool)! which doe not mean you should accept it, but was wondering why you unaccepted. Jun 5, 2016 at 11:53
  • 1
    Thanks. Too bad about the .deb, but it's no big deal, this is not hard to set up anyway. I will also have to tell him to install xdotool before using this. Not too difficult to tell him over Whatsapp. He accepts terminal commands if it is just copy/paste :)
    – Fiksdal
    Jun 6, 2016 at 19:55

This is somewhat hidden in the GUI, but accessible through a keyboard shortcut:

  1. Press the Ubuntu logo on the launcher bar, type printers, open the Printers app.

  2. While in the Printers app, press Ctrl + F.

  3. A list of jobs will appear. From this list one can manage jobs, delete them, etc.

I've tested this on Ubuntu 14.04 and on Lubuntu 16.04 with Unity.

I learned it from this answer. Actually, this might be a duplicate of that question. But then again, it might not be, because of the GUI requirement.

My friend is happy now. His printer is working again. By the way, he also had to do this.

  • 2
    +1 for nice answer & proving I'm not imagining things!
    – Zanna
    Jun 5, 2016 at 3:57

I am assuming you are using Unity, you can make it stick by doing the suggested answer above and use "Lock to Launcher" i.e.:

  • Press the Ubuntu logo on the launcher bar, type printers, open the Printers app.
  • Right-click on the icon on the Launcher, and click "Lock To Launcher".
  • Then everytime, he needs to open the Printer Queue, he can just click on the icon on the launcher, and either right-click "View Print Job" or press "Ctrl-F" on the Printer he wants to check.

Hope this helps.


Maybe this will help you:

bash -c "/usr/share/system-config-printer/system-config-printer.py --show-jobs $(lpstat -d | sed 's/.*: //')"

It starts the print queue GUI of your printer. And this command is prepared to be included in the menu configuration to create an icon to start this GUI. That is documented here.


In main menu > System > Control Center > Printers ! (ubuntu 20 and others I'd guess)

  • Ubuntu 20 would be a version of Ubuntu Core. If you do not mean Ubuntu Core please use a full version number.
    – David
    May 3, 2023 at 12:18

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