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Duplexing Documents, by Default

When people talk about "duplexing" documents, they mean printing on both sides of the paper. Many printers these days include the ability to print on both sides of the paper, without the need for manually feeding the paper through the printer twice. With most of these printers, you can turn the duplexing capability on by displaying the Print dialog box, and then clicking the Properties button. This gives you access to the settings in the printer driver, one of which invariably controls duplexing.

What if you want the duplexing to always be on for a particular document? What if you want a particular document to always be printed duplex, and never single-sided? There is no setting in Word to do this, but with some printers you can send special codes to the printer that switch it to duplex mode.

For example, let's say that you have a printer capable of printing duplex copies, and that the printer understands the PCL language. You could embed a field in the document that will switch the printer to duplex mode. Follow these steps:

  1. Insert a set of field braces by pressing Ctrl+F9.
  2. Within the field braces, enter the following: Print 27"&l1S"
  3. Collapse the field by press Shift+F9.

The PRINT field sends characters directly to the printer, bypassing the normal slicing and dicing that Word does with characters. When you perform step 3, the field "disappears" because it doesn't display any result in the document itself. However, if the field is at the very beginning of the document—perhaps in the header for the first page—then it will switch on duplex mode in the printer and your output will be printed as you want it.

You can find detailed information on how you use the PRINT field—particularly with PCL printers—in the following Knowledge Base article:


Even though the Knowledge Base article indicates that the article is "retired," it still works with versions of Word up through Word 2003 just fine.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (6904) applies to Microsoft Word 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003.

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