What is Duplex-Printing?

Last Update: August 9th, 2021


Duplex is a term for printing on both sides of a piece of paper.

It is also a term for a part of a printer that performs the flipping of the paper to print on both sides (called a duplex unit).



The term “duplex” is used for a hardware mechanism that physically flips the paper around to physically print on both sides.

Printers with a duplex unit can print on both sides of the page. The duplex unit flips the paper around after being printed on the first side so that the printer can print on the second side of the page.


Some print systems are equipped with a software system to “duplex print.”

To use a software duplex, first, print the pages on one side of the paper.

Next, physically take the printed document and load it back into the paper feeder. Face the paper so that the printer prints on the blank side of the paper.

Last, resume the print job. The printer will print on the opposite sides of the paper.

Software duplexes can be cumbersome to use and are prone to having pages printed on twice or different sides of the paper around the wrong way.

Why do people want to print in duplex mode?

Printing on both sides of the pages uses less paper (helping the environment).

It also creates smaller documents which are easier to handle.

A document printed on both sides of the paper can appear more professional.

How do I print to both sides of the page?

It depends on both the software that you have and the printer’s or fax machine’s software.

We suggest choosing advanced printing options (such as duplex mode) through the printer driver instead of through a document’s software. This way there is less risk of confusion between the software and the printer.

Some software (for example Microsoft Word) has an option to print to both sides of the page.

Important: Do not select both “duplexing from a software program” and “duplexing from the printer’s settings or print driver” at the same time. If you do, the document will print with pages in the wrong place.

More information and examples of Duplex print instructions