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How to print double sided on a Windows PC

How to print double sided on a Windows PC
(Image credit: Getty)

If you want to print double sided on a Windows PC then you're in the right spot. You might want to save the environment by cutting back on paper use, or perhaps it's simply more space efficient for paper storage, or you may just want to save a few bucks on paper costs. Whatever your reason for being here, you are about to learn all you need to know on how to print double sided.

Just to avoid wasting your time. If you're trying to print double sided on your current printer automatically, and it's not a duplex model, then there is no amount of guide reading that will help you, that printer simply isn't built for the automated task. This is common in the best compact printers (opens in new tab), which give up the ability to print double sided in the quest to shrink down their size.

If your printer doesn't support duplex printing and you want a replacement that does then check out our guide to the best all in one printers (opens in new tab) and pick a duplex model that will be up to the task. But all hope is not lost! You can still print double sided manually.

For those that already own a duplex printer then auto double sided printing is relatively easy to do. For those that own a regular printer then a manual option is available to you, more on both of those below.

Print double sided

(Image credit: HP)

How to print double sided with a duplex printer automatically

For those with a duplex printer, getting it to print double sided is made to be as straightforward as possible. That means, when using your Windows PC, you can select the double sided print option at the point of printing, or set your printer to automatically default to that no matter which program you are printing from.

To set the printer to double sided, within the program you're printing from, after you've hit File then Print be sure to go to the More Settings link. Here you'll find a Duplex Printing drop-down menu. Hit this and select "Print on both sides". You're good to select OK and then the final Print button. For ease that path is:

File > Print > More Settings > Duplex Printing > Print on both sides > OK > Print.

To set your printer to always default to double sided, select the Start icon on the Windows desktop then Settings followed by Devices then Printers & Scanners. Now pick your printer from the right side of the screen and then Manage, followed by Printing Preferences. In the dialogue window pick the Printing Shortcut tab and in the Printing Shortcuts box select the "Two-sided Duplex printing". To make that clear here is the path:

Start > Settings > Devices > Printers & Scanners > select your printer > Manage > Printer Preferences > Printing Shortcut tab > Printing shortcuts box > Two-sided Duplex Printing.

Print double sided

(Image credit: HP)

If you own a printer but can't seem to find an option to print double sided then it's likely that printer isn't a duplex model capable of that. This is where manual double sided printing becomes an option.

You'll only have the option to print on one side so you will simply have to print one page at a time, then feed the same sheet of paper back in, on the flip side, so it comes out with the next page printed on the reverse. Repeat until done.

This is a laborious task if you've got a lot of pages to print. Also, you must be careful to load the paper the correct way. This will vary depending on how your printer feeds. It can be a good idea to pop in a sheet of paper that already has markings on one side so you can see how it comes out in relation to how it went in.

All that sound like too much? Check out the best all in one printers (opens in new tab) and snap up a duplex model that will automate all that work for you, saving you on paper costs to help justify the new printer.

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Luke is a veteran tech journalist with decades of experience covering everything from TVs, power tools, science and health tech to VPNs, space, gaming and cars. You may recognize him from appearances on plenty of news channels or have read his words which have been published in most tech titles over the years. In his spare time (of which he has little as a father of two) Luke likes yoga, surfing, meditation, DIY and consuming all the books, comics and movies he can find.