Q&A: Pregnant pause when printing

Q I own an iMac connected to a Canon Pixma printer. In recent weeks, when I wish to print something, there is a very long pause between when I select the Print command in the File menu, and when the Print dialog appears. Sometimes this can be over two minutes. How can this be cured?

A In general, the first time that you go to print in most applications, it takes slightly longer for the Print dialog to appear, as all the software components to support printing have to be readied and loaded, and the printer checked out. However this should not take as long as two minutes, which suggests that there is a problem.

Furthermore this should only apply the first time that you print in a given application. As with any issue that has suddenly appeared, you should think back to what updates and installations might have taken place just before this appeared, as they may well be responsible. It can sometimes help to remove the current printer, perform any driver updates that are due, then re-install it.

If you cannot get any better clues, the only way that you are going to get to the bottom of this problem is to browse the printing logs, accessed in the CUPS items in /var/log, using Console. Try performing a test print or two and watching for CUPS errors. Further information about troubleshooting printing is here.

Updated from the original, which was first published in MacUser volume 27 issue 4, 2011.