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July 19, 2004 12:11 AM

Broken: Two-sided printing

Word-duplexDave Collins writes:

From Microsoft Word, all I want to do is print my doc on both sides of the page. So - what's "Duplex"?? Do I need to take a course in publishing to do this?

Update: Several readers have pointed out that the fault lies with the printer driver, not Microsoft Word.


This isn't Microsoft Word's fault; rather, the blame needs to be placed on whoever created the printer driver...

Posted by: codeman38 at July 19, 2004 01:19 AM

It looks like that is for a high capacity printer. It makes sense that the author of the driver would expect the end user of a high end printer to have some publishing knowledge, or to at least familiarize themselves with the nomenclature. Perhaps what is actually broken is that the network administrators expect that this interface is suitable for walk up users, assuming that is the case.

Posted by: bp at July 19, 2004 02:00 AM

All of the printers that I've used with double sided printing label it "duplex" in their printer options. Some of them were as 'slow' as 35ppm, and its not unreasonable that you'd see these printers in a central location for a bunch of people to print to.

However, unsurprisingly, most people don't print duplex on it. :)

Its the printer options here, not MS Word.

Posted by: Alex at July 19, 2004 12:00 PM

The "duplex" labelling for double-sided printing is an attribute of the printer driver and not MS word. We have a netwroked HP 8000 series printer. The printer driver doesn't call it "duplex". It's called "Prin on Both Sides" which is much more obvious to the casual user than a label of "duplex".

Posted by: Carlos Gomez at July 19, 2004 01:26 PM

Duplex is the thing illustrated in the picture beside the word "Duplex" (where page 2 is on the back of page 1) and which could take options like "One-Sided", "Top Binding", and "Side Binding", and which might even be documented behind that help button there.

Posted by: mendel at July 19, 2004 05:29 PM

I would imagine that the difference between side binding and top binding (if that's the other option) is that side binding has the back side oriented the same as the front for flipping over horizontally, and top binding has back side oriented upside-down for flipping vertically. The screenshot shows that the window has one of those question mark buttons, so it probably would pop up a description box resolving your confusion if you right-click on the word "duplex".

Posted by: RotJ at July 19, 2004 11:55 PM

This one is pretty weak guys...

It's hard to say this is absolutely wrong if the general population doesn't know the lingo. I understand your point, but it isn't a very strong one.

Posted by: Weak at July 20, 2004 02:04 AM

(As the original poster, I'll add my 2c)

"This one is pretty weak guys... It's hard to say this is absolutely wrong if the general population doesn't know the lingo."

That's why it's broken (usability-wise). I have to know "lingo"? To do something as gum-chewingly-simple as printing? A document? From Word?

And yes, I grant that it is the driver that's wrong. This is classic case of user (me) seeing the application interface as "the program". I neither know nor care whose problem it *really* is. It annoys me that some (not all) my print features all hidden under a 'Printer Properties' button while I'm ON THE PRINT PROPERTIES PAGE. What???

Posted by: DaveC426913 at July 20, 2004 10:26 AM

Wow. I learned what duplex printing was back in high school--and this was the year before the school got IBM-compatible PCs. Additionally, I didn't have any courses in printing; plus the TRS-80 Model III computers I used in computer science didn't have printers hooked up to them. I was on the school newspaper staff, but for us, "cut and paste" meant exactly that--we got proofs back from our printing contractor, and we cut them with X-Acto knives and pasted them with mucilage.

I learned the definition of duplex printing in English class my freshman year, since we had to learn Latin and Greek root words as part of our vocabulary. "Duplex" comes from the Latin for "double" or "double-sided." It's not that difficult. Therefore I submit that while something is indeed broken, it's not the language used by the printer drivers.

Posted by: P.F. Bruns at July 21, 2004 01:02 PM

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