What Does Collate Mean When Printing?

In general, collate means gather and combine, which refers to arranging information or data. And while printing a large document, you must have wondered about whether or not to click on the ‘Collate copies.’

So, what does collate mean when printing? Well, it’s a technique to have your multiple-page document printed according to the predetermined sequence.

And it comes in handy when you are handling catalogs, booklets, or a large number of official documents.

There are several perks of collating printing. And this article will guide you through the instances where you can benefit from the technique.

Meanwhile, if you need help printing double-sided pdf, read and learn how to print double-sided PDF effortlessly on Mac and Windows?

And collate printing means having your printed document arranged in a predetermined sequential order.

What Does Collate Mean When Printing?

When printing multiple sets of a document, manually sequencing the page is a great deal of labor. Because each document again has multiple pages that should be sequentially arranged to form a set or package.

And with the advent of printing technology, this sequencing can be done automatically and effortlessly. The technique used for the purpose is collating.

Collated documents come as packages or sets, meaning the printer will print the whole file in order before moving on to printing the next batch. So, you will have each assembly ready to distribute or bind.

This automated printing option is often the default setting in various versions of Microsoft Word. And you probably use the setting almost all the time without even knowing.

Collate Mean When Printing

But, when you have different contents in a single document that you intend to use for different purposes or hand out to different sets of people, make sure you have unchecked the collate option. We will get to the details of uncollated printing in a while.

Nevertheless, whichever option you choose, make sure your printer is functioning correctly and doesn’t show any paper jam error. If it does, have a look at how to fix the Hp paper jam error.

Collated vs. Uncollated Printing

When printing large volumes of files and you need multiple copies for business or marketing purposes, printing technology gives you two options.

One is to print the files organized as packages, and the other is to have single pages of the files printed at once.

And which option you should choose depends on the purpose of your project. So, before you submit the multiple-sheet document for printing, it’s crucial that you clearly understand the difference between the terms collate and un-collate.

It will help you adopt these settings wisely according to the project’s specifications. So, if you are getting mixed up, let us break down the terms with a couple of examples.

Say you need 10 copies of a file that consists of 10 pages. And when you choose the collate option, it will sequentially produce each copy in the correct numerical order. That is, you will have 10 copies altogether, each assembled automatically.

Collated vs. Uncollated Printing

The option itself is a default setting, so you probably have no idea you are using it. However, never forget to double-check before getting into a major printing project.

Now, the other option is not to click collate button. By doing so, you will have 10 copies of each sheet, not assembled, not in order. This means the required number of copies of page-1 will come first, then all the copies of page-2 will follow.

So, uncollated printing doesn’t assemble your documents, which means you have to do it yourself. This is not the desired option when producing booklets, manuals, or distributing handouts to people as packages.

However, uncollated printing is helpful in certain instances.

When You Need Collate Printing?

Well, the answer to the question would be most of the time. But to be specific, if your file needs to be read as a single piece, from start to end, collate printing makes the appropriate option.

The instances include printing books, catalogs, manuals, handouts for seminars, presentations, lecture sheets, or reports. Having your file being print-ready as packages eliminates the manual labor of organizing and aids in easy distribution.

Surely, you don’t want to spend several hours organizing the annual report you have been working on the whole night that needs to be distributed to 25 people. 

So, for consistent orderly printing, choose ‘collate the copy,’ sit back, relax, or have a coffee while the printer does all the work. 

For this reason, most book publishers or printing companies adopt this technique to be time-efficient.

Collate Printing

Sometimes you might have to incorporate uncollated printing into your project in combination with collated printing.

These instances include printing books with similar pager inside but different covers outside or creating an assignment set for your students with different front pages. 

Booklets or catalogs with one or more page variations inside are not very uncommon either. And in these cases, you have to produce those particular pages un-collated and hand-collate the sheets in the required order.

How Can You Collate Print?

Collate printing is the default setting for most printers. So, indeed you have used it several times without realizing what it actually means.

Although it’s the innate option that is automatically checked, you should be careful before printing large volumes of documents.

It’s plausible that you left the printer doing its job to have a cup of coffee only to find out your copies are not collated at the end.

And that’s hard to swallow- because the annoyance of having to organize the pages manually needs no further explanation.

How Can You Collate Print

So, how can you collate print? Well, it’s simple; just follow the 4 steps below:

  • After you are finished with working on your document and ready to print, click on the File tab at the top left corner.
  • Select print to open a new window or click on the Print dialog box
  • Look for the Collate option and click on it.
  • Make sure to put the number of copies you want to print and press the print button

If you sequence your document in this manner while printing, it is also known as online collating. And when you do it manually after printing, it is known as hand collating or offline collating.

When to Choose Uncollated Printing?

Depending on the purpose of your project, you might want to leave your document un-collated. So, let’s look at some specific situations where you would benefit more by not going with the auto-sequencing printing technique.

Printing Different Flyers Altogether

Yes, while printing flyers of 5 different products that you have designed or put in a single document or file, it’s better to go un-collated. This way, the various flyers will be sorted separately, no matter how many copies you want to print.

Printing Different Flyers

Similar advertisement posters or handbills that you intend to hand out separately are better to be printed uncollated as well because you don’t have to put extra effort to sort them individually.

Distributing Single-sheet Individually

You are probably acquainted with the singly distributable fact sheets that are prevalent in office environments, seminars, and classrooms.

Uncollated printing is preferable for papers that need to be distributed as individual pages rather than in packages or sets.

Printing Different Version of a Poster or Form

Say you are inviting people to register for a conference or event. And the forms are categorized into several types targeted for people of different walks.

So, either you can print 100 copies of 10 different forms in separate documents or get the job done in half by enabling uncollated printing.

Printing Different Version of a Poster

All your forms will be printed at once while ensuring the dissimilar types are sorted separately. So, you can stack the papers, one kind in one stack, allowing people to take the one they need. The same goes for creating piles of different posters.

Benefits of Collate Printing

Now that you have learned what collate printing is, let’s summarize the benefits of choosing this.

Benefits of Collate Printing

It’s the Default Setting

So, even if you don’t know about it, chances are you are collate printing. But make sure to check beforehand, and if you are having some difficulties with your printer, you can try resetting your printer to factory settings.

Here, you can check out how to reset your Canon printer to factory settings.

Saves You Time and Effort

Undoubtedly, hand collating is exhausting and requires a great deal of time, especially when the printing volume is vast. So, why do the hard work when it’s perfectly doable by your printer alone?

Saves You from the Mistakes of Hand Collating

Yes, hand collating is not only tedious and time-consuming but is susceptible to errors also. Messing up with the order while handling a large number of copies of volumetric documents is possible.

So, it’s better to go for automation. Also, you get to stay relaxed, knowing the printer will sequence your files correctly. 

Mistakes of Hand Collating

And to avoid any kind of anomaly in the order, book publishers always make sure they are collate printing.

Wrap up

By this time, we hope you have a clear understanding of what does collate mean when printing, how you can benefit from it, and when to adopt it.

Nevertheless, to sum up, collating means having your multi-page documents organized and sequence according to the correct order, no matter how many copies you are printing. And uncollated printing, of course, means the reverse.

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