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Duplex Printing - Saving the Environment One Sheet at a Time

By Simon Williams
December 21, 2017

All of us are guilty of printing single sided sheets for documents that have a short lifespan. Think about those assignments, those company reports or those files that you’ve printed at home or at an office, which you end up using once and then throw it away. Paper waste is a huge issue, typically accounting for up to 25% of the waste in landfill sites. To cut down paper waste, better habits or technology need to be used.

Introducing duplex printing, also known as double-sided printing. While it isn’t new technology, it is becoming a more prominent function in printers and may be the answer to cutting down paper waste. Since double-sided printing uses both sides of the paper, it can potentially halve the amount of paper that ends up in landfill sites.

How can you print double-sided pages?

Firstly, you need to find out from your printing manufacturer if your printer supports double-sided printing. If it does, there should be a function to print a “test page” so you can see the quality of the double sided print. For example, on our HP 2200D (the “D” stands for Duplex), we can push the large “ready” button on the front top of the printer and it will print a double-sided test page. (Also see the Epson Expression XP320 Inkjet Printer).

Do you know if your current printer supports double-sided printing?

In order to print on both sides of a page, your printer must support double-sided printing. Check with your manufacturer to confirm that your printer model indeed does support printing on both sides of a page. Normally it will need a particular chip, or board, installed that supports this feature. Usually the company will advertise duplex printing – check your user’s manual.

How can you turn on double-sided printing?

Once you’ve confirmed that your printer supports duplex, or double-sided printing, you’ll need to actually enable the feature in your operating system. The process differs based on your operating system, but normally if you go into your printer settings you’ll see an option for enabling or installing the double-sided printing feature. In Windows XP, you would do the following.

  • Go to Start. Select the “Control Panel” and then select “Printers and Faxes”.
  • Right-click the name of your printer and select “Properties”
  • Under the “Device Settings” tab you’ll see, under “Installable Options”, a “Duplex Unit (for 2-Sided Printing)” option. If it’s listed as “Not Installed” change it to “Installed” and save your changes by hitting “Apply” or “OK”.

Once you have done this, you should now be able to print double-sided pages. Next time you print, select your printer from the drop-down followed by “Properties”. Under the Layout tab you’ll see a “Print on Both Sides” option. You can choose to have the printer print a double-sided page and rotate on the long or short edge of the page (ie. this determines in what direction the text is printed on the second page, so if you flip the page it will appear either right-side up or upside down).

Would you like to buy a printer that provides double-sided printing?

As long as you purchase a printer that supports duplex printing, you will be able to print double-sided pages. You’ll be doing not only your wallet a favour, but the environment and your desktop (reducing clutter) as well.