Green Tips

This article is for those with printers at home that don't have a print double-sided feature (which most don't).

For an example, we will use NRDC's recycled paper products guide (2009 March/April's Online Green Action of the Month).

Image of two pages of NRDC brochure.


A narrow guide, it is displayed as two separate pages in Adobe's PDF reader. It would be nice to have this printed double-sided so we wouldn't have to glue it together, and small enough so it could be folded in half and put in the billfold of a wallet, or a purse.

1. First, find out, if you don't already know, which side of the paper your printer prints on. This becomes very important. small icon of a printer

a) Put an X on one side of a sheet of paper, preferably on a corner.
b) Put the sheet of paper into your printer, X side down.
c) Print a test sheet using a short document of some kind.
d) Examine your test sheet. Is the printing on the same side as the X? Then your printer prints on the side of the paper facing down. Vice-a-versa -- if it prints on side without the X, then your printer prints on the side facing up. (Most print on the side facing down, but not all.) If you have a top feeding printer, put the X on the back to tell if it prints on the back or front side of the paper.

2. Also notice if the top of your test print (top of the page) comes out of the printer first or last.
Once you are sure which side of the paper your printer prints on, click the print icon in the Adobe Reader.

3. When the Printer Dialog comes up, print just one side by selecting odd/even and odd pages only. If you don't have a printer that will print odd/even, then choose a print range of pages 1 to 1.

The Printer Dialog may vary according to what printer you have. The screen shot below shows both "print range 1 to 1" and "odd pages only" (although selecting only one of them is necessary). To make the guide slightly smaller, also select Printer Scaling with "Fit to Printer Margins."

screen shot of Printer Dialog

4. Now page down in Adobe to the next page. To print the other side, do the reverse.

a) Choose print range 2 to 2 and/or even pages only.
b) Make sure the printer will print on the blank side. If your printer prints on the side facing down, put the sheet back in with the printed side facing up. If your printer prints on the side facing up, put it in with it facing down. (Ditto, same for a top feeder -- make sure it prints on the blank side.)
c) Reverse the paper direction by turning it so the second page of the guide will come out with the text running in the same direction as the first (with the top at the same end). If the top came out first, turn the paper so the top goes in first. If the top came out last, turn it so the top goes in last. small printer icon

For instance, if your printer printed the first page on the side facing down and the top came out first, you would put the paper back in with the guide face up and the top going in first.
That's pretty easy and now you have a double-sided guide. Just cut it out.

5. However... if this were a normal-sized page, you could stop right here. But, our example, the NRDC guide, is narrower than a full page and meant to be "wallet " guide. It is still a pretty big when printed on 8.5 X 11 paper (approximately 4 x10 inches). It would be more portable, smaller. There are two ways to do this: one, sort of classy, and the other, sort of a "hack."

The Classy Way - When the Printer Dialog comes up, click on the Properties button at the top. Choose the Paper/Quality tab from the box that pops up. Change the Media with the drop down selector, and choose a paper that is smaller than 8.5 x 11. Then print with that paper (or 8.5 x11 and cut it down later) using the instructions above. The PDF will resize to fit the new paper size, making the overall guide smaller. This, however, requires that you have paper profiles for your printer installed on your computer that use paper that is smaller than 8.5 X11. If you do, you probably need no help with printing. ;-) So we will explore...


another screen shot of Printer Dialog

 

The "Hack"

  1. When the Printer Dialog comes up do the same as before. Select odd/even, odd pages only, and/or a print range of 1 to 1.
  2. Only this time, instead of selecting Print Scaling with "Fit to Printer Margins," select " Mulitple pages per sheet" and select 2 for "Pages per sheet." This will automatically make the guide print on the paper in landscape direction instead of portrait, thus making it smaller. (If you were printing both pages, both would show in the dialog. But we are printing double-sided.)
  3. Print, but this time notice something different than whether the top or bottom of the page comes out first. Notice which end of the paper the guide prints on, the end that comes out last or first. (Since it is printing sideways.)
  4. Now page down in Adobe to the next page. To print the other side, do the reverse.
a) Choose print range 2 to 2 and/or even pages only.
b) Make sure the printer will print on the blank side. If your printer prints on the side facing down, put the sheet back in with the printed side facing up. If your printer prints on the side facing up, put it in with it facing down. (Ditto, same for a top feeder -- make sure it prints on the blank side.)
c) Reverse the print direction by turning it so the second page of the guide comes out on the backside of the first. If guide was on the end that came out last, turn the paper so the guide goes in last. If the guide was on the end that came out first, turn it so it goes in first. small printer icon
For instance, if your printer printed the first page on the side facing down and it was on the end coming out last, you would put the paper back in with the guide face up and going in last.

The text on the back will now run in the opposite direction from the front, but that is almost more convenient, because when you flip it, it will be right side up.

small screen shot of close up of Printer Dialog

You can make it smaller and smaller by selecting more Pages per sheet. But it will also get harder and harder to match up the front and back. With 2 Pages per sheet, it comes out approximately 2.5 X 7.5 inches -- small enough to fold in half and stick in a wallet or purse, and still legible.

If you use card stock or resume paper, something heavier than normal paper, it will be what it was meant to be -- a handy and durable wallet guide.

Cut it out and you're good to go -- shopping for more environmentally sound paper products!

By Marnie Parker