Presenting an irrelevant distractor increases reaction times to a target. The current study shows that cueing the location of an upcoming 'distractor' can help to reduce the effects the distractor has on target processing. It is hypothesized that this reduction is due to the active inhibition of the cued location. In two experiments in which the location of the distractor was cued in advance, a reduced effect of the distractor on target-processing was observed. Analyses indicated that this effect was most likely caused by inhibition of the distractor location. The present findings suggest that inhibition plays an important role in visual-spatial selection processes and that this inhibitory mechanism can be controlled in a top-down fashion. © 2008 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.