What Is Duplex Printing? All The Facts About Double-Sided Printing

Long before duplex printing was a necessity, Persian civilizations were using cylinder seals to certify clay-written documents. Cloth printing, pottery imprints, and block seals are all examples of other types of early printing. Woodblock printing, developed in China in 200 CE, eventually lead to the development of typography and other forms of movable type. It wasn’t long before this lead to book production and the publishing industry.

With printing being such a normal aspect of personal life and business in our modern day, people have gotten clever with how to use it more efficiently. While it was once normal to print on only one side of the paper, duplex printing changed that norm. Duplex printing allows you to print on both sides of a sheet of paper. This printing function is available on some multi-function and computer printers.

Devices that don’t have this capability are only able to print on one side of the paper, also called simplex or single-sided printing. Personal and low to medium volume professional printers print one side of the paper and then reverse it to print the other. Multifunction duplex printers with a duplex scanning feature may be able to scan or print both sides of the sheet at once.

Epson printer

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Ever since printing became normal, the whole process of publishing and sharing information changed. Now, newer and more efficient methods are constantly on the horizon. Duplex printing allows you to automatically print on each side of a single sheet of paper. Printers that don’t have a duplex print function are only able to print on one side, which is not only time-consuming but wasteful.

How does a duplex printer perform this function? A duplex printing device will print on one side of the sheet, then reverse it and print on the other. If you’re selecting a new duplex laser printer, you’ll have to consider its productivity, speed, and resolution. Below are some benefits of duplex printing.


When it comes to printers, speed is one of the most important factors to keep in mind. Duplex printers offer the benefit of faster printing speeds and produce more output in less time. Another advantage to this is that you don’t have to wait very long with most duplex printers as they’re designed to be fast. After switching to a speedy, efficient duplex printer, you may never want to return to single-page printing again.


Duplex printers often have a one-touch feature that allows you to print on two pages at once with a single click. This one-touch feature can enable you to create a double-sided document with extra options like short edge or long edge printing. These features enable you to save paper waste with double-sided printing.


The amount of output your printer can handle is also worth considering in a duplex printer. Most duplex printers are productive and super speedy. The exact output will depend on the memory and processing speed of the individual printer, though. Choosing a quality duplex printer will ensure you can produce as much as possible while saving on resources like time and paper. Saving on paper will have a positive environmental impact over time, which is especially important if you’re printing for a business.

Duplexed Documents

Kodak printer

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Duplex printers come with a variety of functions depending on printer settings, software, and options. They can print double-sided book formats and combine single-printed pages into a page format with double sides. If you just got a duplex printer, make sure you carefully read over the manufacturer’s information to see what the device is capable of performing.

Print Options

You can print duplexed documents to prepare for binding on either the long edge or the short edge. This printing function is usually only available on devices with a built-in duplexer. Selecting long edge binding using portrait mode will enable you to turn the pages side to side as you’d do with a book. Short edge binding, on the other hand, allows you to flip pages vertically like you’d do with a notepad. The latter type of binding/printing is sometimes known as a “tumble.”

Ordinary vs. Duplex Printers

While you can print a double-sided sheet with an ordinary printer, it’s not the same as a duplex printer. Single-sided printers can print on each side of the sheet. But to do this, you must manually remove the paper and turn it over. Manually turning the sheet over can lead to messy or uneven print jobs if you aren’t careful about orientating the page correctly. Being careful will ensure that you’re always printing on the right side, as well.

Duplex Printing With An Optional Attachment

Not every printer automatically supports duplex printing. With some devices, you’ll have to fit an optional attachment before it performs this function. Keep this in mind so that you get the right type of printer or attachment for your needs.

What Is Duplex Printing?

Epson printer

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Duplex printing is a term that often confuses people because it’s not self-explanatory. As mentioned, duplex printing enables you to print on either side of a single sheet. This double-sided functionality helps the environment by saving on paper. You’ll use half as much paper by printing on both sides. Keep in mind that to duplex print pages, you need a special attachment or type of printer. Not every printer has this function.

How To Duplex Print

The next question we’ll cover is how to perform duplex printing on your device. First, you’ll want to go to the page setup dialogue box and choose the option to use both page sides. If your printer comes with the duplex printing function, your computer will now tell your printer to print on both sides. Depending on what your printer can do, as soon as it prints one side, the paper will go back into the printer. You might have to do this manually, but if not the printer will feed the sheet back in and print on the other side. At this point, you will have printed both sides of the paper in the right sequence.

How can you tell if your printer has duplex functionality? If the printer model number has a D at the end (for example, 2500DN), odds are, it has duplex printing. When it comes to printer functions and technology, the setup and availability of the duplex printing function can differ a lot. Different models and makes of printers will have different functions. Because of that, we will try to keep our instructions very basic, so they apply to all models. Again, remember that if you’re using a printer that doesn’t have duplex printing, you’ll have to use an attachment. Alternatively, you can set it up using your PC or the printer menu.

Manual vs. Auto Duplex Printing

Panasonic printer

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You will have the choice between auto or manual duplex printing depending on the printer you have. The automatic version is, of course, easier and quicker to use. As soon as you set it up, it doesn’t take any extra effort. Manual duplex printing, on the other hand, does require more work. With this mode of printing, you will be responsible for turning over each page to print on both sides. However, this extra effort is worthwhile to some for saving money and the environment.

How To Set Up Auto Duplex Printing

You can set up auto duplex printing using the printer settings of your PC. Setting up auto duplex is easy to do as soon as you know what to do. If you’re using a Windows computer, go to the “Control Panel,” then select “View Devices and Printer.” Performing these actions should bring you to the printer settings in your computer’s control panel. At this point, you’ll right-click the printer, go to “Printer Properties,” and open settings.

Opening settings will enable you to alter the default settings on your printer. Next, you’ll need to find the setting that enables you to alter these defaults. You can usually find these settings under the “Advanced” tab. Go to the printing default button to change the settings after you open them. There is usually a section that outlines what settings and features you can use under the printing defaults section. If your printer does support automatic duplex printing, it will show an option for that.

As soon as you’ve finished updating the settings for your printer, click Save or OK. Now, your printer can print double-sided pages automatically. Keep in mind that these settings will now be the default unless you return to settings and change them again. People who only want to print double-sided pages sometimes shouldn’t change their default settings. Later on in this article, we’ll outline how to duplex print only once at a time.

What Is Manual Duplex Printing?

Depending on the model and make of the printer you have, automatic duplex printing might not be an option. If it isn’t, there will usually be a manual duplex printing option. Manual duplexing will achieve the same result as automatic duplex printing, which is double-sided pages. The only difference here is that you will have to turn the page over yourself and the printer won’t do it for you.

Printing machine

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Setting this option up will entail the same process as above with some printers. You will need to go to printer settings to achieve manual duplex printing, in this case. When it comes to other printing devices, however, manual duplexing calls for more effort. If you can achieve manual duplex printing with your printer, your printer will usually prompt you when it’s time to turn the page over and reinsert it.

Do I Have To Change Settings To Use Manual Duplex Printing?

On older printers, there may not be an option for double-sided printing. But what do you do if your business still wants to duplex print and save on costs? There might be an option to only print even or odd pages when you click print. But this does depend on the printer model and software you’re using. Selecting the odd option will enable you to print odd pages first.

Once you’ve printed the sheets, you’d just need to turn the paper over to the side that’s still blank and reinsert it. Next, you would select even pages and repeat the process for the other sides of the papers. As you may have guessed, this method will call for careful attention so that you don’t print the pages the wrong way.

How To Double-Side Print Only Once

What if you want to perform a duplex printing job only one time instead of changing your printer’s default settings? The information we just covered showed you how to change your printer’s settings. But what about infrequent duplex printing? There is a solution to that need, fortunately. Whenever you want to perform double-sided printing for one document, select printer properties when you print.

Epson printer

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Clicking on this will show you the menu and allow you to select “double-sided print” for just this document. Again, this will depend on your printer. But selecting this option should mean that you’re only printing both sides of the sheet for that individual page.

Ready To Take Advantage Of Duplex Printing?

Has all of this duplex printing talk gotten you excited about saving time and money with double-sided printing? Using automatic duplex printing saves a lot of money over time. Although you aren’t saving ink or toner by using duplex printing, you will save on paper. Arizona State University actually saved over 700 trees after they switched to double-sided printing. Hopefully, our article has answered your questions about duplex printing and convinced you to give it a try. Whether you want to perform manual or automatic duplex printing, it will change the game for you.

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