Printing double-sided

This article was written specifically for color laserjet printers such as lw-jesup-maindesk-color in Jesup; however, it probably can be applied to manually print double-sided on most laserjet printers on campus.

Ever find yourself printing things in color (art history slides, thesis, etc) and wasting a ton of paper while you're at it? With a bit of patience, it is possible to print double-sided on the color printers, which don't have automatic duplex capability. You've got to do it manually:

  1. Tip before you start: Make sure your document has numbered pages. That way, you can easily tell which pages are printing and in what order.
  2. In whatever application your document is in, go to the print dialog. Ask the program to print the odd pages only. For example, in Adobe Acrobat, select "Odd pages only" in the "Subset:" drop-down, under the "Print Range" section of the print dialog. Select the appropriate printer and hit "Print" or "OK."
  3. The odd pages of your document will now print on the appropriate printer. Go get them.
    • If you printed to lw-jesup-maindesk-color, you'll have to authorize the print job in the Jesup lobby.
  4. Reverse the order of the printed pages. The backside of the first page should be on top of the stack, facing up. The printed side of the last page should be on the bottom of the stack, facing down.
    • You can usually set an option in the print dialog to do this for you, but do it manually. That way you can check to make sure there aren't any extraneous blank pages in the middle of your document, which will throw off the alignment of the even pages when you print them.
  5. This is important: wait a good five minutes or so before continuing. Your document will, literally, be hot off the presses, and you should let it cool down before going on so that the pages don't stick together and come through the printer several at a time during the next steps.
  6. Open the paper tray on the printer, and put your document in it. The orientation of the pages is very important: the printed side should be facing down, and the top of the pages should be closest to you (bottom of the pages closest to the innards of the printer).
    • Tip: Make sure that there is plenty of paper underneath your document. You want to do this for two reasons: First, you want some extra paper in case there are any pages left at the end of your document after the first set has been printed (though usually this won't be the case, since even pages print on the backsides of the odd pages, which you already took care of). Second, you want your pre-printed pages to come out of the printer smoothly, and if your paper is all that there is in there, the printer is more likely to feed several pages through its system at once. Which is bad.
  7. Go back to your computer and print the second half of your document. Select "Even pages only" this time, just like you selected "odd pages only" before.
    • Again, if you printed to lw-jesup-maindesk-color, you'll have to authorize the print job in the Jesup lobby. (You can actually take advantage of this by sending both the odd- and even-page print jobs at once, but only authorize them one at a time.) lw-jesup-maindesk-color presents a peculiar difficulty: there are two printers, and you don't necessarily know which printer to put your odd pages in before printing the even pages. There are a few solutions to this:
      • Wait until someone else prints something (preferably something big). Put your odd pages in the printer that's not being used, and authorize the job before the other guy's stuff finishes.
      • Put your document in one printer, and pull the paper tray out of the other one. (If you find that your document isn't printing, switch your odd pages to the other printer and push the tray back in.)
      • Put your document in one printer, and shut off the other one (switch on the lower right side, close to the front). (If you find that your document isn't printing, switch your odd pages to the other printer and turn it back on.)
  8. Be careful to watch the pages as they come out of the printer. This is where page nunmbering comes in handy: you want the pages to come out in a sequence of twos--1, 3, 5, 7, etc. If any of the pages are skipped, or you see multiple sheets of paper come out of the printer at once, immediately hit the CANCEL button on the printer, since all your pages will now be out of whack. After cancelling, just repeat the steps listed above to re-print the pages that you cancelled. You don't have to print out the whole document again if some (or most) of it printed successfully.