Office copiers can be confusing, temperamental machines whose user manual got lost on day two after getting it installed. However, familiarising yourself with the office copier features can save you huge amounts of time. One of the most useful features of a modern printer is called collate sorting. While it may sound fancy, collate printing is just a fancy word for “organised printing”. On a typical office copier, collate usually means either stacking or sorting. Fancier copiers may also have an option for stapling.

Collate Printing By Example

Collate printing is easier to understand if you use an example. Let’s say that you are in charge of a meeting, and need to prepare 10 sets of copies for your 30-page report.

If you select *stacking* your printer will make 10 copies of the first page, 10 copies of the second page, and so on all the way down to the last page. You would need to manually arrange them in 30 stacks, and pick one sheet of paper from each to get the reports sorted for your timer. In most printers, however, this is the quickest way to print.

However, if you want to save yourself time you could select “sort” mode instead, which will print the whole document 10 times, one after the other. If your printer offers the possibility of “Staple” mode, you will get them neatly stapled and ready for the meeting room. However, this is sometimes slower, so if you have few pages to print other modes can be quicker.

Where To Find The Settings

Most modern office printers have a sort and stacking mode, and in some cases, a staple collate printing mode will also be available. However, the settings will be in different places depending on which software you are using and what printing software is installed on your machine. For example, a typical Ricoh Aficio will have the options under Printing options > Paper Handling, but this can vary. The printing options usually can be accessed from the Print menu when you are ready to send a document to the printer, along with the paper size and source.

If you are using a copier to make photocopies of a document you will need to find the settings on the machine’s control panel, instead of a computer. In case of doubt check out the manual of the printer, or do a search for “printer-model collate printer settings” on your favourite search engine.

Collate Doesn’t Work!

Sometimes you will find that a printer that is supposed to have collate features doesn’t display them. Check our which drivers are you using: drivers tell your computer which printer is talking to, so while many printers can accept instructions from a driver that is outdated or belongs to another model, the features will be restricted to whatever model the printer driver was originally programmed for.

Office copiers aren’t the most common topic of conversation or part of the curriculum of office training courses. However, being familiar with terms such as collate printing will help you save time on routine tasks such as preparing print documents for meetings.

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