What Does Collated on a Printer Mean


If you’ve spent any amount of time around a printer, you’ve probably come across the term “collated.” While it might seem like printer jargon, understanding what it means to collate documents can save you time, resources, and frustrations. This guide provides an in-depth explanation of collation in printing, its benefits, and how to use it effectively.

Table of Contents

  1. The Basics: What is Collation?
  2. Collated vs. Uncollated
  3. Benefits of Using the Collate Feature
  4. How to Use the Collate Option
  5. Common Pitfalls and How to Avoid Them
  6. FAQs

The Basics: What is Collation?

Breaking Down the Concept

Collation in the context of printing refers to the process of arranging multiple sets of printed documents in a specific order. This is particularly helpful when you’re printing multiple copies of multi-page documents.

Collated vs. Uncollated

Know the Difference

  • Collated: If you have a 3-page document and you print it two times in a ‘Collated’ manner, the printed result will be a set of pages arranged as 1,2,3 followed by another set arranged as 1,2,3.
  • Uncollated: In the ‘Uncollated’ option, if you print the same document two times, the printed result would be 1,1,2,2,3,3.

Understanding this difference is crucial, especially when you’re dealing with lengthy and complex documents.

Benefits of Using the Collate Feature

Why You Should Care

  1. Efficiency: Collating during printing saves time as it eliminates the need to manually sort the pages.
  2. Resource Conservation: Collation reduces errors, which in turn reduces paper waste.
  3. Professionalism: Collated sets are more presentable and easier to distribute, adding a professional touch to your documents.

How to Use the Collate Option

A Step-by-Step Guide

  1. Open Print Dialog: Access the print option from the application you are using (typically under ‘File’ then ‘Print’).
  2. Select Printer: Make sure you’ve selected the correct printer.
  3. Navigate to Collate Option: Look for a checkbox or dropdown menu that says ‘Collate’. This is usually under the ‘Copies’ section.
  4. Choose Collate Option: Click on the checkbox or select ‘Collate’ from the dropdown menu.

Common Pitfalls and How to Avoid Them

Stay Ahead of the Game

  1. Double-Check Settings: Always double-check to ensure you’ve selected the correct collation option, especially when printing important documents.
  2. Printer Compatibility: Note that not all printers have a collation feature. Confirm that your printer supports this option.


Answers to Your Burning Questions

What Does Collate Mean on a Double-Sided Print?

In double-sided prints, ‘Collated’ will ensure that each set of double-sided pages is in sequential order.

Can All Printers Collate?

No, basic printers might not have this feature. Always check your printer’s capabilities before proceeding.

Is Collating the Same as Duplex Printing?

No, collating is about the sequence of the entire document, while duplex printing refers to printing on both sides of a single page.


Understanding the ‘Collate’ function in printing is a simple yet effective way to enhance your productivity. Whether you’re printing reports for a meeting or compiling study materials, knowing how and when to use the collate option can save you a ton of time and effort. Now that you’re equipped with this knowledge, you’re ready to print like a pro.

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