Collate printing

Updated: 2021-07-12

Collated printing is useful when you are printing multi-page documents that you plan to assemble later into a bound or unbound publication.

What is collated printing?

Collating means arranging sheets of printed paper in the desired order. This will ensure that when printing more than one copy of a multi-page document, the printer will print all pages of each copy before printing the next copy. 

The more copies you print, the more benefit you get from using collated printing, as every copy will be printed in just the same order as you want it to be. 

Why should I use collated printing?

Collating creates consistent, logical documents. It simplifies your work and saves you a lot of time. If you are printing several multi-page documents and you don’t use collated printing, you will have to gather all printed pages first and then re-arrange them in the correct sequence before binding the publication. 

This can take a lot of time. However, if you do use collated printing, you can bind the document immediately after printing.

How do I make sure my documents are printed in collated order?

There are several ways you can do this. The easiest way is to simply instruct your printer to do it for you. 

If you are using Adobe Acrobat, you can select “Print Options” from the File menu and then choose “Collate”.

If you are using Microsoft Word, you can select the Setup tab, then click on the Print heading and select Print collated from the drop down menu.

Collated printing
Collated printing

What is the difference between “collate” and “reverse order” printing?

While collated print means that the pages will come off your printer in the very same order as in the original document, when you print in reverse order, you get the document that’s in the correct sequence but it’s upside down.

Why would you print a document in a reverse order?

Well it turns out that not all printers are capable of printing the last page first and then stacking the rest of the pages one by one on top, finishing with the first page.

If you are using such a printer that is unable to handle it, you can tell your word processor to take care of it on your behalf.

The reverse order printing feature comes in handy in such a situation.