Perfect Binding Printing Steps

The very first thing you must always, always do is make a dummy or mock-up of the book indicating what goes on what pages and in what order they should print. Most importantly, when printing pages back to back, what pages will be printing on the back of one another. This will vary greatly depending on the type of binding you plan on doing. DO NOT OVERLOOK THIS CRUCIAL STEP!

In general, 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 single front and back side (in other words, multi-page duplex) 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. (This will vary slightly if printing two-up as when printing letter half pages two-up to 8 1/2 x 11 inch paper)
  • Know the paper path for the printer you are using (look for 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. (On the Ricoh, the print will be upside down)
  • If printing a booklet or book, You must choose the PRINT BOOK command NOT the regular Print Button
    • print ODD PAGES only
      • If printing letter half to 8 1/2 x 11 paper, orient the paper to be landscape with the icon head on the right-hand side
      • After making all print settings, check the Preview window. If the pages are not in the order you are expecting from your dummy, DO NOT PRINT. Correct the mistake first.
    • collate the printed paper stack,  keeping the top of the stack at the top when returning it to the printer tray.
    • print EVEN PAGES only
      • If printing letter half to 8 1/2 x 11 paper, orient the paper to be landscape with the icon head on the left- hand side
    • Greater details of these basic points are outlined below

Books to be Perfect Bound

The steps are slightly different depending on your method of binding which will affect how you put the paper back in the paper tray as well as the inside margin.

  • Select “PRINT BOOKLET” not “Print” from under FILE in the top menu Bar

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    • Select 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 than 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). Do not check Trim Marks or Crop Marks if your page size is letter-half. After all printing is done, cut the resulting 4 page signatures in half. The cut edge will be the glue edge, or spine, in the perfect binding process.
  • Print Settings Button at Bottom of the Screen
    • Click the Page Setup Button in lower left-hand corner

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  •  Select the Ricoh Aficio SP C830DN Printer

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  • Page Setup Page Attributes
    • Paper size (the actual size of the piece of paper you are printing to. This will be US Letter for 2-UP printing)
    • Paper orientation (This should be landscape for letter-half inDesign book pages)
    • Orientation should be Horizontal /Landscape with the icons’ head on the right hand side.
    • OK
  • This will return you to the Print Window.
    • Select the Printer button at the bottom of the Print window screen

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  • Layout setting from the Print window options
    • The Two-Sided button should be unchecked or Off

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  • Color Matching from the Print window options
    • ColorSync
      • select the Printer Profile from the list that corresponds to the printer you are using

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  • Paper Handling from the Print window options
    • pages to print—Odd Only
    • Be sure that the Two-Sided box is NOT checked
    • Be sure that the Collate Pages box IS checked

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  • Paper Feed from the Print window options
    • Select the tray which holds the paper you are printing to (Tray #1 on the Ricoh holds 8 1/2 x 11 or US Letter size paper).
  • Cover Page from the Print window options
    • None
  • Print Button in lower right-hand corner of the screen. (this will not actually send your file to the printer yet. It is really an OK button that is misnamed. This will return you once again to the Print Window.
  • Print Window Settings
    • You now need to basically confirm many of the same settings you just finished doing by going down the list that is on the left side of the page, one-by-one. As you select each one its controls settings will appear on the right. Make sure each of these is the same as the ones you made earlier.
      • General— Confirm you are printing 1 copy only
      • Setup—Look at the direction of the paper orientation icon, make sure its head is on the right (the same as it was in the Page Set Up). You will need to reverse this, or choose the icon with its head on the left, when printing to the even pages.

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  • Page Position—Centered
  • Marks and Bleed—Set these if needed. This should normally be unchecked when printing books with letter-half size, 2-up.
  • Color Management
    • Let inDesign Determine Colors
    • Printer Profile—Ricoh Aficio SP C830DN/C831DN
    • Composite CMYK
    • OK

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  • PRINT (Again, this is a misnamed OK Button)
    • This will return you to the Main Print Booklet Window
  • Main Print Booklet Window
    • Preview Button—Confirm that the pages will be printing in the correct orientation and order. (The Preview window will show all your pages even if you are only printing the Odds or Evens)
    • Do Not proceed with printing if the preview window does not show pages in the order, orientation or size that you expect. Correct those errors first by going back to step one above and follow the steps more closely from there.

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  • The Initial Print Settings from the Print Booklet Command

  • To print the back side of these spreads
    • You must reinsert the first stack of prints (the Odd Pages) 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, second goals (correct side printing and correct sequencing of pages) you must reload your pages back into the printer in a particular order (collate).

  • Leave the printed stack of (the evens) in the printer’s out tray
  • Open the printer’s load tray
  • Place each of your pages from the out tray, one by one, into the load tray, starting with the last paper that came out of the printer. Then the next single page and so, on. (This will collate the pages correctly and keep the correct side facing up when reinserted into the printer’s load tray.  (Remember, the side to be printed should be facing up in the tray).
  • Do not rotate the pages, keep them facing the same direction that they were facing when they came out of the printer or the second printing (the odds) will be upside down.
  • The video below demonstrates an alternative version of re-collating the stack. Here, the entire stack is re-ordered first and then placed back into the load tray. Either this method of collating or the method described in the steps above will place the pages in the proper order and orientation for back side or duplex printing.

  • To achieve the third and fourth goals (correct orientation of all pages
    correct registration front to back) you must change the orientation icon’s direction in the Print Window Setup Settings. If you printed the Odd pages with the Icon Head on the right, you should now print the Even pages with the Icon head on the left. 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, this time select Even Pages Only, Be sure the the two-sided printing button is still unchecked.
      Screen Shot 2018-04-28 at 8.26.10 PM

From the Printer Button—Setup—Orientation, select the opposite orientation icon that you used the first time. (you made a note of this remember).
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  • Backside Printing or Duplex Print Settings from the Print Booklet Command  

  • Assembly (thanks Jo)


  • Trouble Shooting

Essentially, if it is printing on the wrong side (in this case the same side as the first printing) then the reason is that you put the paper in the printer with the print side facing up instead of facing down. (for the Epson printers always put the side of the paper you wish to print on face down in the  printer tray)

  • If it is printing on the correct side of the paper but upside down then you put the paper in the printer with the wrong edge going in first. Pay attention to which side is the bottom of the page after the first side printing. That will still be the same side for the bottom of the pages when printing the second time for backside printing.
  • If incorrect page numbering then you did not reorder the stack correctly. Simply put the second page at the top (instead of second) the 4th page as number 3, the 6th page as number 5 and so on. Reinsert this stack into the paper tray correctly as described above.