top of page

What Does Collate Mean When Printing?

Updated: Mar 13

If you have been printing documents, you have probably encountered different options for adjusting printing settings. The term ‘collate’ is significant in printing, influencing how your printed materials are organized and presented. But what does collate mean when printing? What advantages does it provide?

In this post, we will explore how it impacts printed documents and enhances organization. Continue reading to discover what is collate in printing and how it contributes to a smoother printing experience.

What Does Collate Mean When Printing
Source: / Photo Contributor: pticelov

What Does Collate Mean When Printing?

To make the desired prints for your project, familiarity with the printing process and its technical terms is essential. These include settings regarding the desired paper size, number of copies, and other properties.

So, what does collate mean in printing settings? The verb collate means to arrange, assemble, or organize into a predetermined order sequence. In the context of printing, collating refers to arranging multiple copies of documents or pages in a specific order.

When you select the collate option while printing, the printer will produce a complete set of each page before moving on to the next one. For high-end printing services, this option gives a polished and organized product. 

At CityPress, we utilize advanced machinery to organize prints and seamlessly maintain precise page sequences to provide an accurate and professionally looking print job.

The Advantages of Collate in Printing 

When in the process of printing, one question that often arises among clients is should I collate when printing? What does collate mean in printer settings? Let’s explore the details. 

Document organization

The main purpose of collating is to streamline the process of assembling a complete set of documents. It is instrumental when you are dealing with multi-page documents, such as booklets and reports. Without collation, let’s say you were to print three copies of a ten-page document, the printer might produce all the pages of the first copy, followed by all the pages of the second copy, etc. 

This might lead to a disarray of documents that might need manual sorting. However, by selecting ‘collate’, you instruct the printer to arrange the pages in the correct order for each copy. In our example, it would print the first page of all three copies, then the second page of all three copies, and so on, until the entire document is printed. 

Makes handling larger print runs easier

As you select the collate option, you instruct your printer to organize the pages in a predetermined sequence, which makes handling larger print runs much more effortless. It saves time and reduces the likelihood of making errors while handling documents. 

It is beneficial for projects that require numerous copies, such as educational materials, promotional content, and training manuals. This efficient tool offers convenience and saves money; hence, it is commonly found in modern printers. 

Simplifies sorting multiple copies and large documents 

When you require several identical copies of a document, this function ensures that each copy has the same set of pages arranged precisely as desired. This practice is crucial in office settings for distributing materials, saving both time and effort. 

It has been proven to be beneficial for dealing with large documents containing numerous pages. This is especially the case for office reports, medical records, legal documents, research, etc., where document accuracy is paramount.

Professional presentation of documents

Collated documents give a more professional and polished appearance. This is especially crucial in business settings where well-organized materials contribute to a positive impression. This option ensures that each document copy is neatly arranged and ready for use without having to do manual sorting. 

What does Collate Mean When Printing Double-Sided?

When you select the collate option for double-sided printing, it means the printer will arrange the pages in a specific order, considering both the front and the back sheets and ensuring they are arranged in a coherent sequence.

For example, if you are printing a booklet, the printer might print the first page on one side of the sheet, then the second page on the reversed side, and so on. This way, when you fold the printed sheets, the documents will be in the correct order.

What does Collate Mean When Printing Double-Sided?
Source: / Photo Contributor: Shape Aid

How to Enable Collate to Print?

Now that you have a good understanding of what is ‘collate’ in printing, let’s proceed with how to activate this option. Follow these instructions for efficient collate printing:

  1. Check your printer settings

  2. Open the document and access the print settings

  3. Look for and click the "File" tab in the top-left corner of the screen

  4. Choose the "Print" option from the drop-down menu

  5. Look for the "Settings" or "Properties" button (typically located near the printer selection area).

  6. Search for the collate option ("Finishing," "Page Layout," or "Advanced section)

  7. Select ‘automatic collation’ or ‘collate’ on the print dialog box

  8. Adjust additional print settings if needed

In some printers, you may need to select between ‘collated’ and ‘uncollated’. Choose this option if you want to organize your documents in order. Some software applications also have this option.

Hence, you can explore the settings to ensure the printing aligns with your preferences. Some printers also have advanced settings that allow you to turn collation on or off based on your preferences.

Before printing a large batch, run a quick test to confirm the collation settings align with your expectations. Doing so will help you avoid issues associated with extensive printing jobs.


So, what does collate mean when printing? Understanding what this option does empowers you to take control over the organization of your documents. Utilizing this function as you embark on your printing project enhances efficiency, professionalism, and document presentation, leading to an organized outcome.


bottom of page