Double-sided Printing from inDesign

Double-sided or back-to-back (Duplex) printing refers to printing an image to both sides of the same piece of paper. Examples are brochures, pamphlets, booklets, magazines and books. Brochures, or similar print collateral that are printed to a single sheet of paper, front and back, may have their  layout designed in either inDesign or Illustrator. Collateral involving more than a front and back side should be designed in InDesign, not Illustrator and certainly not in PhotoShop.

Success requires attention to the following:

  • Set the layout for both sides with exactly the same margins. This usually means using guides to center the image on both front and back
  • Know the paper path for the printer you are using (I usually indicate this on a piece of tape stuck to the inside of the paper feed tray)
  • Pay attention to how the paper comes out of the printer after the first side is printed.
  • Flip over and rotate paper and return it to the paper tray (Work and Turn)

Greater details of these basic points are outlined below

Page layout in inDesign

The following pertains to booklets intended to be saddle-stitched when bound
(your inDesign file will be set-up with the facing pages option checked and you will see designer spreads—also called reader spreads— on your computer).

  • Select “Print Booklet” not “Print” from inDesign
    • Range—All Pages
    • 2-Up Saddle Stitch (for most books using facing pages)
    • or
    • 2-Up Perfect Bound (for most books NOT using facing pages but single pages instead. (notice that the preview will show pages in a different order that the preview of pages for saddle-stitching). The printing and collating will be the same as described below. The difference will be that you will have two book pages on each side of the paper. (2-up). Be sure to check crop marks if your page size is not letter-half. After all printing is done, fold the resulting 4 page signatures in half. If necessary, trim according to crop marks.  The folded edge will be the glue edge, or spine, in the perfect binding process.

Screen Shot 2016-03-29 at 3.04.32 PM

  • Print Settings Button
  • Page Set-up Button
    • Ricoh Printer
    • Paper size (the actual piece of paper you are printing to)
    • Paper orientation (This should be landscape for letter-half)
    • OK

Screen Shot 2016-03-29 at 3.07.04 PM

  • Printer Button
    • Layout
      • two-sided printing button is unchecked or Off
    • Paper Handling
      • pages to print—Odd Only
      • collate pages
    • Print/OK

Screen Shot 2016-03-29 at 3.10.16 PM.png

  • Print Settings
    • Setup—Look at the direction of the paper orientation icon, make note of it
    • Page Position—Centered
    • Marks and Bleed—Set these if needed
    • Color Management
      • Let inDesign Determine
      • Printer Profile—Ricoh
      • Composite CMYK
      • OK


To print the back side of these spreads you must reinsert the first prints back into the printer in a very specific manner. The four main goals for doing this are:

  1. correct side printing
  2. correct sequence of pages
  3. correct orientation of all pages
  4. correct registration front to back

To achieve the first goal you simply keep the blank side of all spreads of the previously printed stack facing up when reinserting into the printer’s tray. Don’t do this however until you have re-collated the stack (see #2, below).

To achieve the second goal of correct sequence of pages you must re-collate (reorder) the pages you have already printed (the odds). Do this by taking the first page only from the printed stack and placing it back in the printer’s tray. Then the next one, the third one and so on until the top paper in the tray is the spread which contains the first and last pages of your booklet.

To achieve the third and fourth goals you must do what is called a “work-and-turn”. Take the entire re-collated stack and rotate it so that what was on the right hand side is now on the left.

Reinsert the re-collated and rotated stack blank side up into the printer’s tray.

Follow the same printing directions as you did the first time except for two differences.

  1. From the Printer Button—Paper Handling—Pages to Print, select Even Pages Only, Be sure the the two-sided printing button is still unchecked
  2. From the Printer Button—Setup—Orientation, select the same orientation icon that you used the first time. (you made a note of this remember).

Screen Shot 2016-03-29 at 3.35.47 PM


Multipage PDF printed as a booklet: four pages per sheet, printed both sides, left-side binding.