Home : Technical Terms : Queue Definition


To avoid any confusion, this term is pronounced exactly like the letter "Q". It is not pronounced "kay" or "kyoo-ee" like some people seem to think it is. A queue is a list of jobs that are awaiting to be processed. When a job is sent to a queue, it is simply added to the list of jobs. Computer programs often work with queues as a way to order tasks. For example, when the CPU finishes one computation, it will process the next one in the queue.

A printer queue is a list of documents that are waiting to be printed. When you decide to print a document, it is sent to the printer queue. If there are no jobs currently in the queue, the document will be printed immediately. However, if there are jobs already in the queue, the new document will be added to the list and printed when the others have finished. Most printers today come with software that allows you to manually sort, cancel, and add jobs to the printer queue. While this may not seem like a great benefit for the typical home user, it can be a helpful tool for businesses where many people share one printer.

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