What is the Difference Between Collated and Uncollated?

Three designs. One stack is collated (1,1,1,2,2,2,3,3,3) and the other uncollated (1,2,3,1,2,3,1,2,3)

Last updated on November 8th, 2022 at 02:20 pm

Most people have projects they want to receive a certain way. Understanding the difference between collated and uncollated is essential for any project coming out exactly how you want it to.

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What does “collated vs. uncollated” mean?

In order to better understand the difference between “collated vs uncollated”, it’s important to know what “collated” means.

The literal definition of “collate” is: collected and combined (texts, information, or sets of figures) in proper order. What does collate mean when printing? When a printer uses the term, this means that the file has multiple pages that need to print in the exact order of the file. Uncollated means that the file’s pages will be printed separately.

Collated vs uncollated sheets
Collated versus uncollated sheets

Let’s say that you have 3 page file and you would like to print 5 copies of each. If you ordered as collated, the 3 page set would print and repeat for a total of 5 times (1,2,3,1,2,3,1,2,3). However, if you ordered as uncollated then page 1 would print 5 times before moving on to page 2, then page 3 (1,1,1,2,2,2,3,3,3).

What types of products are collated and uncollated?

For the most part, the two products that generally fall into the category of collated and uncollated are color copies and posters. There are many reasons why you would want your color copies collated or mini posters uncollated.

Why print uncollated?

People want copies collated when they’re handing out complete “packets” of information to people. For example, when you need to give each student one copy of each flyer. They need them uncollated if different copies will be handed out to different people. Like when you have three stacks of forms on the counter, a person will grab the one that applies to them.

If these flyers were printed collated, people would need to sort through the whole stack to find the relevant sheet. Avoid messing up your freshly printed pages or having to sort through them. 

Why print collated?

Print collated when you need to print different copies that need to stay in a specific order. Collation especially comes in handy when you need to insert copies into an onboarding presentation folder. It makes it easy to just grab the first four sheets from the top of the stack.

You probably don’t know this since it’s an automatic procedure, but all booklets are printed collated. This allows for easy assembly when binding the sheets together. If the book printing was uncollated, the print company would need to manually put the sheets in proper order before binding.

What will you print collated or uncollated?

At Printivity, we know our customer’s intention for products very well. We know that if you are ordering business cards for 4 different employees, you want them uncollated. Most products do not have the option for collated or uncollated to avoid any confusion. The only products with this option are ones where you are able to order multiple loose-leaf pages at once.

Whether you’re looking for collated or uncollated  color copies, black and white copies or mini posters, Printivity is your one stop resource for all things printed!

You can also choose collated or uncollated when you print with your home or office printer. Programs like Microsoft Word allow you to quickly make that decision when selecting File>Print>Collated.

Microsoft word drop down, print collated

Order your collated and uncollated printing online through Printivity on our color copies page. We have a fantastic customer service team ready to answer any questions you might have.

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