What Does Collate Mean When Printing?


The word “collate” simply means to collect and arrange in a particular sequence or order. When printing, it means assembling sheets of papers together to create a complete set.

Collating is a procedure mostly used when printing large copies of books with a large number of pages such as yearbooks, catalogs, and booklets.

Furthermore, it is a cute term used in printing to describe the specifics of the print job. And it is used alongside uncollated. Uncollating printing is the regular printing we do daily where we don’t have to assemble the pages of your document.

It’s like when you go to print ten pages of your favorite essay. It’s probably just for you and your lecturer. So you really don’t have to collate your document.

It is important to understand the clear difference between collate printing and uncollated printing, hence the need for this article.

Continue reading to discover what collate means when printing and how it can be done.

What does Collate Printing Mean?

Collate printing means putting together multiple different printed pages in a complete set. It means to collect, accumulate and combine. Afterward, assemble in a specific number of sequences.

It is most common with color copies as the copies can be easily collated without being bound together.

Additionally, collating is mostly used to print out sets of documents. These documents include;

  • Booklets
  • Catalogs
  • Brochecures
  • Magazines
  • Instruction manuals and any type of multi-page product.

Why Should I Collate Pages Before Printing?

Collating when printing is useful when you are printing more than one copy of a document. It makes it easier to keep each copy in a different pile.

It can be really frustrating when you need to print a document 30 times to share to 30 people and the printer just prints 30-page one’s, then 30 page two’s, 30 page three’s, and so on.

You’d realize that after printing, you’d have to sort each page together in order for you to hand them out. Collated printing saves you from this stress.

When you are to print a file too large, with lots of pages, collated printing helps you get the job done easier and faster. It gives you page after page while maintaining the original arrangement of the pages in the document.

Collating documents creates consistency when printing. However, if the function is disabled and you’d want to print three copies of the document, it’d print in this order; 111, 222, and 333.

Generally, collating is often enabled by default but it can be adjusted if you want to do so before printing.

How to Collate on Your Printer Before Printing

To print collated documents in the print preview or dialogue box that appears when you click “print document” you’d need to ensure the collate option is selected or ticked before printing.

It is usually represented by a symbol featuring three pieces of paper layered on one another.

When you select this, the printer automatically collates your document and prints it in the right order. Offline collation is also possible and can be performed manually or automated.

If you’re to print documents that have similar characteristics, then it’s easier to collate them automatically. But if they are dissimilar, such as a product catalog, then automatic collation will not work here.

READ MORE: What is Digital Printing? How Does it Work?

Collated vs Uncollated Printing

As we’ve explained, collated printing means putting pieces of document together to create a complete set. While uncollated printing involves printing your document separately.

Uncollated printing is something we’ve all done severally. Every time we print out our ten-page essay, that’s uncollated printing.

What are The Most Common Types of Binding For Collate Copies?

Not all binding is used for collating copies. There are special types of binding used and they are as follows;

#1. Saddle-Stitch

Saddle-stitched printing is ideal if you are trying to collate smaller booklets. Books, catalogs, and magazines with less than 100 pages would use this kind of binding.

It works by printing the document on both sides, arranging the documents in order, folded in half, and then stapled through the folds.

#2. Spiral and Wire-O

In Spiral bookbinding, a plastic coil is used to hold your book together. This can pass as the most common form of binding. Wire-O binding on the other hand uses a plastic coil but is more professional-looking.

If you want a more colorful and appealing binding experience, we suggest you go for spiral binding as it offers different coil colors.

#3. Perfect Bound

Perfect bound binding is the most common type of binding used in collate printing, especially for a paperback.

It is inexpensive and gives you a professional-looking appearance for your book. More so, it is the perfect option if your book is on the longer side and has over 100 pages. Examples of such can be yearbooks and directories.

Which Printing Stores Offers Collate Printing

If you want to get your brochures, books, magazines, yearbooks, or any kind of document collated, you can do this at your local printing store.

However, for the best results, check out these printing services;

  • Sleekblue Media Houz
  • Staples
  • Office Max
  • Walgreens


We hope that now you have a better understanding of what collate means when printing and how to do it.

If you have any questions or suggestions, we are more than ready to help.

PS: You can order your collated or uncollated printing from SleekBlue Media Houz for fast, easy, and affordable printing services. You are sure to get maximum value for your money.

Reference – Visualedgeit

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