Duplex printing is a feature of computer printers and multifunction printers (MFPs) that allows the automatic printing of a sheet of paper on both sides. Print devices without this capability can only print on a single side of paper, sometimes called single sided printing. Consumer and low-to-medium volume office printers use a duplexing unit that reverses a piece of paper after the first side has been printed.
Duplex print devices, depending on options, software, and printer settings, can print single-sided page to single-sided page (1:1) or double-sided page to double-sided page (2:2).
Duplexed documents can be printed as if to be bound on either the short edge or the long edge. This functionality is mostly available on printers that come with a duplexer. It can be verified in the printers properties whether or not a specific printers supports the settings.
Single sided printers can still print duplex jobs; however, the user has to manually turn the print job over and re-initialise the printing of the document. In that process it is important to determine which edge and side the printer prints on. If the pages are re-initialised on the wrong side and print face the printing will occur on the wrong direction. A simple print test is required to define the print face by writing a letter on a blank sheet and running it through the printer.
How to encourage double-sided printing in your office
- Get your company to establish a double-sided printing policy. This should include:
- Setting defaults on all printers and copiers to duplex printing mode
- Ensuring computers also default to double-sided printing
- New equipment purchases—all new print-ready machines must include duplexing capabilities
- Require double-sided copy on all reports, RFPs, publications, and assignments submitted to your staff.
- Post clever signs at all printers, copiers, and fax machines encouraging people to reduce paper waste by double-siding. Choose pre-designed options or make your own!
- Advertise the double-sided printing policy through email reminders and meeting announcements.