How to Print Double-Sided On a Mac

Printing a document
TeroVesalainen/Pixabay

Whether you plan to create a presentable booklet for work or want to simply economize on paper, double-sided printing is a neat way of producing hard copies of documents. Here's how you do it on Mac when using an offline app and when browsing online, as well as some helpful pointers on what to keep in mind.

How to Print Double-Sided on Mac When Using an Offline App

Double-sided printing of a doc
Printing on two sides on a Mac using Microsoft Word.

Printing on the front and back of pages is easy on a Mac, particularly when using an app such as Microsoft Word or (or any other Microsoft Office app). As an example, here's what you should do if you've typed up a Word doc on your Mac and want to print double-sided:

  1. Bring up the menu bar by scrolling to the top of the screen with your mouse cursor.
  2. Click File.
  3. Scroll to the bottom of the drop-down menu and click Print.
  4. Click Copies & Pages.
  5. Scroll down and click Layout.
  6. Click the Two-Sided submenu.
  7. Click Long-Edge binding.
  8. Click Print.

It's worth commenting here on the difference between long-edge and short-edge binding: long-edge binding prints double-sided such that you have to turn the page over sideways (as with a book). By contrast, short-edge binding prints such that you flip the page over vertically (as with a notepad).

Also, with some applications, the process for printing double-sided will be simpler and involve less steps, since you'll be presented with a "Two-Sided" option by the initial Print window. For instance, here's what you do with a Mac app such as Notes:

  1. Bring up the menu bar by scrolling to the top of the screen with your mouse cursor.
  2. Click File.
  3. Scroll to the bottom of the drop-down menu and click Print.
  4. Click the Two-Sided checkbox next to the Copies box.
  5. Click Print.

With such apps, you'll still have the option of choosing between long-edge and short-edge binding. This can be done by clicking a submenu that's usually named after the app you're using (so that in Notes it would be called "Notes" and in Excel it would be called "Excel"). Sometimes you may have to click a button called Show Details before doing this.

How to Print Double-Sided on Mac When Online

Double-sided printing of webpage
Printing a webpage on both sides.

The duplex printing process is very similar if you're online and wish to print out several webpages, although one or two steps are a little different. Here's what you do if you're browsing on Chrome.

  1. Bring up the menu bar by scrolling to the top of the screen with your mouse cursor.
  2. Click File.
  3. Scroll to the bottom of the drop-down menu and click Print.
  4. Click Print using system dialog.
  5. Click the Two-Sided checkbox next to the Copies box.
  6. Click Print.

Two-sided printing is pretty much the same if you're using Firefox or Safari, although in both cases the browser sends you directly to the MacOS' system dialog, so you skip step 4 and move straight on to steps 5 and 6.

Duplex Printing: Things to Remember

Checking System Preferences
Check Printers & Scanners to ensure that your printer is set up correctly.

This may be an obvious point, but if you wish to print on the front and back of pages on your Mac, you need to have your Mac connected to a printer that's compatible with two-sided (or 'duplex') printing.

And even if you have such a printer, there may be occasions on which you aren't able to select the option to print two-sided when going through the printing process. If so, try the following process:

  1. Go to System Preferences.
  2. Click Printers & Scanners.
  3. Make sure your printer has been selected and then click Options & Supplies…
  4. Click the Options submenu.
  5. Check the Duplex Printing Unit checkbox.
  6. Click OK.