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A Simple Way to Save Money with Duplex Printing

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Every so often an idea comes around that is so common sense and simple that it’s impossible to argue with it. If you’re looking to save money on printing costs, duplex printing is such a solution. 

What is Duplex Printing? 

Duplex printing simply means printing on both sides of the paper. Automatic duplex printing is a default setting that can be implemented as long as the printer model supports the function.

Printing in duplex (double-sided) mode saves money on paper costs and reduces the number of trees used to make that paper. According to a U.S. Navy study, the estimated savings from printing duplex is about one cent per page. It might not sound like a lot but, when compounded, the study estimated that the federal government could save $61 million annually. What’s more, it could save more than a half million trees.

Clearly, your organization won’t experience those kinds of results. But changing your default printer settings to automatically print documents on both sides of the page can save you more than you think in the long run. 

Estimating the Cost Savings of Duplex Printing 

Just by changing this one setting on your printers, copiers or multi-function devices, you instantly cut the volume of paper your office uses nearly in half. What does that look like in real dollars?

Statistics released by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) nearly a decade ago may no longer apply for most organizations. In 2013, the EPA stated that the average office worker printed 10,000 sheets of paper annually. By that estimate, an office of 50 workers printed half a million sheets of paper a year!

If that office purchased 100 boxes of paper (the equivalent of 500,000 sheets) at around $40, they would have spent about $4,000. Duplex printing would have cut that amount in half and saved the office $2,000 a year.

Things have changed a lot in recent years, however, and those old EPA statistics don’t reflect reality in most offices these days. Online computing power, content management systems, scanning capabilities and remote work have naturally resulted in fewer printed pages. So, maybe your office won’t save $2,000 each year, but saving even a portion of that amount still means more money in the bank, and more trees in the forest.

Making this simple change is a quick way to put money back in your pocket while reducing waste. 


RELATED: 8 Free Ways to Reduce Printing Costs — Tips from the Pros 

How to Duplex Print 

Most multifunction and laser printers made within the past few years already include double-sided printing features. Some are designed with slower, reverse feeds, while others collate sheets internally and perform the process almost as quickly as printing single-sided sheets.

Depending on your printer you may have the options for either auto duplex printing or manual duplex printing. The automated version is much simpler to use and doesn’t require any additional effort once it’s set up, whereas manual duplex printing requires a bit of extra work by flipping the page over yourself and feeding it back in, leading with either the short edge or long edge.

Generally, the manufacturer’s default setting has the duplex printing feature turned off. Enabling automatic duplex mode will make sure all documents you send to the printer will print double-sided by default.

To set up duplex printing for a Windows-based computer, navigate to the Control Panel, then to View Devices and then the Printer panel. 

Control Panel → View Devices → Printer 

If your printer supports the function, you will find the option to print in duplex there. A network administrator might have to enable this function for large workgroups or office environments. If you work with a Managed Print provider like Gordon Flesch Company, they will help as well. From there, it’s a matter of just clicking the Print button.

Go ahead and give duplex printing a try to see how much paper and money you end up saving on all your print jobs. There are other ways to save paper and encourage environmentally friendly print practices, including printing in black ink instead of color to keep more ink cartridges out of landfills.

Get more tips for going green in our Go Green with Managed Print infographic. Simply click below to get your copy. And, if you need help identifying other cost-saving measures, reach out for a free business technology assessment. 

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