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How to Print Double Sided on Mac

Two-Sided Printing on Mac

Macs with access to a printer capable of printing double sided can print any document as a two-sided print, meaning that each page of the document will go on the front and back of the piece of paper, kind of like a book. This is a popular printing method for many situations, whether it’s manuscripts, manuals, documentation, books and novellas, and even just for people who want to save paper.

You can print double-sided on a Mac with Microsoft Word, Office, Pages, PDF files from Safari and Preview, and many other apps, and the feature works on all versions of macOS and Mac OS X as well, as this tutorial will detail through the relatively easy process.

Before attempting to print double-sided pages, be sure you meet the few requirements which are mandatory in order to use two-sided printing. The first is fairly obvious, the printer itself must be compatible with two-sided printing (sometimes called duplex printing, or a duplex capable printer), which is typically a laser printer or similar hardware. The next requirement is the document being printed must be at a minimum at least two pages long, since the first page will go on one side of the printed page and the next page will go onto the opposite side of the printed page. 

If you want to buy a duplex capable printer, Amazon has many options if you look for “duplex printing”, they are typically laser printers and available at many different price points. Regardless, be sure you have a compatible printer setup with the Mac before attempting to print dual-sided.

How to Print Double-Sided Documents on Mac

Assuming the Mac has a duplex printer available, printing two-sided is really quite easy from nearly any application:

Print double sided documents on Mac
  1. Open the document you wish to print double sided on the Mac, it can be opened in Word, an Office app, Pages, a PDF in Preview or Safari, or something similar
  2. Go to the “File” menu and choose “Print” as usual
  3. Under the ‘Layout’ section look for “Two-Sided”
  4. Pull down the “Two-Sided” dropdown menu, choose either “Long-Edge binding” or “Short-Edge binding” as appropriate for your needs (the default setting is typically set to ‘off’ or ‘none’ if your last print job did not use this feature)
  5. Choose to “Print” as usual, adjusting any other options as necessary

Check the printer and you’ll find your two-sided print job should be going as intended. 

Once you have two-sided printer configured and enabled you can use the print from Desktop methods to print double sided with any compatible files even quicker, without having to open the application they originate from. 

If your printer is having a hiccup (and when are they not?) or gets stuck, remember you can reset the entire print system on the Mac which tends to resolve most of the typical printer problems that are associated with Mac OS software. Keep in mind many individual printers have their own drivers as well, so updating those and maintaining modern driver software for the printer is often necessary. 

My Printer is Not Duplex Capable, How Do I Print Double Sided?

If you do not have the two-sided printing options, it’s quite possible the printer is not compatible with duplex abilities. 

If your Printer is not duplex capable and is not able to perform two-side printing on it’s own, you’ll have to manually print dual sided yourself which is a trickier task. Basically that means printing one page at a time, flipping the piece of paper over, and then printing the next page, repeating every other page onto a new piece of paper. For example, paper A would be pages 1 & 2, paper B would be pages 3 and 4, and so on. Yes it would be tedious to do this, but it does work, and if your printer can’t perform two-sided duplex printing on it’s own, that would be the only other option aside from accessing a printer which is capable of dual sided printing.

Double sided duplex printing on Mac