The Collate Feature

What does it mean to collate?

If you have printed multiple copies of a document from your computer, you have probably used the collate option. Collating is a common feature of printing.

To collate a document means printing multiple copies of a multi-page document in the same order as the original multi-page document.

stacks of collated papers

Example of collating

If you have a 4-page document and want to print 4 copies, you will be printing a total of 16 pieces of paper. If you choose to use the collate option for your print job, the order of pages will print as shown below:

COLLATE FEATURE TURNED “ON”

example of four 4-page documents being printed as collated

Page 1, Page 2, Page 3, Page 4
Page 1, Page 2, Page 3, Page 4
Page 1, Page 2, Page 3, Page 4
Page 1, Page 2, Page 3, Page 4


If the print job is not collated, the order will print like this:

COLLATE FEATURE TURNED “OFF”

example of four 4-page documents being printed as uncollated

Page 1, Page 1, Page 1, Page 1
Page 2, Page 2, Page 2, Page 2
Page 3, Page 3, Page 3, Page 3
Page 4, Page 4, Page 4, Page 4


Why would you want to collate?

While everyone’s printing needs will vary, if you are printing multiple copies of a multi-page document, you will probably want to collate. By collating, the printed pages will be in the exact order you want, without having to manually sort them afterward. Basically, it will save you and your business a lot of time.

Why wouldn’t you want to collate?

If a document is not order-based, then collating is not necessary. For example, if each individual page of a training document is written for a specific department and each department will need 4 copies of their own page, then you will not want to collate. Not collating will keep the individual pages together by department, making it easier for you to distribute 4 copies of each page to the appropriate department.

Do most printers or copiers have the collate option?

The short answer is yes.

Printers can easily collate because it is usually a setting offered by the software program you are using, such as Microsoft Word. When clicking to print multiple copies of a document, you can select the option to collate or not to collate.

Copiers usually have a setting in the preferences where you can select whether or not to collate. For example, if you are making multiple copies of a multi-page document, you will need to specify whether or not you want to collate the printed copies. Most copiers offer the option to collate. If this feature is important to you, be sure to confirm this with your dealer in advance.

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To learn more about office copiers, check out our Office Copier Buyer’s Guide. If you are looking for a copier or multi-function printer that offers the option to collate, we can put you in touch with up to 5 suppliers who will give you free price quotes. All you need to do is fill out our form and tell us about your specific needs.

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