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Collated vs. Uncollated Printing: What Does It Mean?

Are you stuck in a debate about choosing collated or uncollated printing for your next project? You’re in luck! Today, we’re diving headfirst into the topic of collated printing. 

Have you ever wondered why your office printer shuffles pages like a deck of cards one day and then obediently spits them out in order the next? It’s all about the collated settings.

Collated printing offers various advantages in professional printing. Not only does it make many projects easier to manage, but it is also required for some fulfillment programs and printing projects. 

Let’s discuss the topic so you know exactly which to choose next time you submit a professional printing project. 

While the difference between collated and uncollated printing is simple, deciding which to choose is a bit more complicated. First, let’s define collated printing. 

Collated printing is a process where multiple document copies are printed with their pages arranged in sequential order. For example, if you’re printing a 10-page newsletter and need five copies, collated printing ensures that each copy contains pages one through 10 in the correct order. This makes it easier to assemble your documents without having to manually sort the pages.

Most importantly, it saves you time and reduces the risk of errors during the assembly process. 

Examples of Collated Documents

Collated printing is super helpful for:

  • Large documents

  • Reports

  • Presentations

  • Any other printing materials where page order is important

Here are some more specific examples of collated documents:

  • Training manuals

  • Instruction booklets

  • Employee handbooks

  • Printed books

  • School textbooks

  • Annual reports

  • Business proposals

  • Comic books

  • Marketing brochures

  • Presentation slides

  • Store catalogs

  • Legal briefs

  • Technical documents

  • Magazines

Collated Printing and Fulfillment Programs

Collated printing plays a crucial role in fulfillment programs. For some brands and companies, collating may be the only way. Let’s look at some instances when collated printing is commonly required for your printing success.

Marketing Collateral

Fulfillment programs often involve marketing materials distribution. bookletscatalogs, and magazines should typically be collated to ensure they are assembled in the correct order. This is crucial for brand consistency and reputation, as you aim to deliver a professional presentation to your audience.

Product Manuals and Documentation

Companies frequently include product manuals, instructions, and documentation with their shipped products. Collated printing ensures your documents are organized and easy for your customer to follow. Overall, this provides the user experience and promotes a better brand reputation.

Subscription Boxes and Kits

Subscription box services and product kits often contain multiple items, inserts, and informational materials. Collated printing allows for the efficient assembly of these components. You’ll know that each box or kit includes the necessary materials in the proper sequence. Ultimately, this enhances the value and appeal of your boxes and packages. You can even invest in professionally printed packaging for better brand awareness.

Customized Marketing Campaigns

In personalized or customized marketing campaigns, collated printing ensures each recipient receives a tailored set of materials in the correct order. Personalized letters, targeted promotional offers, or individual inserts are all presented seamlessly to your customers to maximize engagement and response rates.

Why Should I Choose a Professional Printer for My Collated Printing?

When printing your documents, the choice between collated and uncollated printing can make a world of difference. Here are some reasons why opting for collated printing with a professional printer is the way to go.

Efficiency Guaranteed

Collated printing ensures your documents are delivered in perfect order. When you pick them up from our store, they’re ready for immediate use and distribution. No more shuffling through stacks of paper to assemble them in the correct sequence. We’re sure you have more important tasks to do! 

Save Time and Effort

With collated printing, there’s no need to spend valuable time manually sorting pages. Whether you’re assembling a training manual or a marketing brochure, collating your project streamlines the process. 

Professional Presentation

Impress your clients, colleagues, or audience with professionally printed documents. Your project will be well-organized, easy to navigate, and perfect to grab and go! Collated printing adds a touch of professionalism to your materials, making a lasting impression of your brand. 

Reduce Errors

Say goodbye to mix-ups and confusion caused by misaligned pages. Who wants that embarrassment anyway?! Collated printing eliminates the risk of errors, ensuring each printing copy is consistent and accurate. 


Collated printing is suitable for a wide range of documents. Whether you need a handful of copies or thousands, a quality professional printer can easily handle any job of any size. 

Customization Options

With a professional printer, you have the flexibility to customize your collated documents according to your specific requirements. From paper type and size to binding options and finishing touches, you can create a finished project tailored to your needs and brand. 

When to Choose Uncollated Printing

While collated printing is much easier and more efficient, there are times when uncollated printing is the way to go. Here are some scenarios where opting for uncollated printing might be your best bet:

  • Individualized Distribution: Uncollated printing allows you to easily customize on your own if you’re handing out different pages to different people. It can be an excellent option for surveys, where participants receive a unique set of questions tailored to their responses. 

  • Quick Reference Materials: Need quick access to specific pages? Uncollated printing lets you grab and go without worrying about sorting. This is great for reference sheets or informational pamphlets where users only need certain sections. 

  • Last-Minute Revisions: In a hurry to make changes? Uncollated documents allow you to print and replace individual pages without reprinting entire documents. 

  • Event Tickets and Coupons: Planning an event or promotion? Choosing uncollated printing allows you to distribute individual tickets or coupons easily. It also ensures each recipient gets their own unique code or entry pass without the hassle of sorting through a stack. 

  • Assembly Instructions: Uncollated printing instructions for a DIY or other assembly project make it easy to follow step-by-step.

  • Flyers: All types of flyers use uncollated printing since businesses are typically printing to advertise to a general audience. Although some online research reports that flyers can be collated, this is inaccurate. Instead, professionals would use a printed booklet format, as seen here

Doument Type Collated Uncollated


Catalogs Yes  
Books Yes  
Pamphlets Yes  
Comic Books Yes  
Flyers Yes Yes
Sell Sheets   Yes
Event Tickets Yes Yes
Postcards   Yes
Invitations   Yes
Letterheads   Yes
Note Cards   Yes
Programs Yes  
Instruction Manual Yes  

Should I Collate by Hand?

So, we’ve got you all hyped up about how collated printing streamlines the process and is the best way to go. But we wouldn’t be a trusted professional printing company if we didn’t mention that there are rare occasions where manual collation should be considered. 

It’s not typically the easiest or most efficient choice, but it might be the most affordable option for small print runs or where printing resources are limited. Or, if you’re looking to keep a group of individuals busy or create a volunteer project, collating by hand might be an asset to your company. Just be prepared for the extra effort and potential challenges that come with it.

CollatingBook by hand

What Do I Need to Know Before Sending a Collated Document to My Professional Printer?

As you get closer to making the right choice for your specific printing project, it’s also best to know the requirements when sending a collated document to your professional printer. 

Here is a comprehensive checklist of the things you need to let our professional printing team know before we start your project: 

  • Correct page order

  • Page numbers, if applicable

  • File format

  • Resolution and image quality

  • Color specifications

  • Paper size

  • Paper type

  • Binding options

  • Finishing options

  • Quantity

  • Delivery preferences

It’s also super important to make sure your document is finalized and error-free before sending it for printing! You should read and reread your document. Then, read it again! We also suggest asking a few people (trustworthy ones, obviously) to proofread the document before sending it for printing. 

Any revisions or changes after printing may incur additional costs. We always want to save you the costs and headaches simple errors can cause in printing. Use that money to buy your proofreaders a coffee instead!

Collated Printing Questions to Ask Your Professional Printer

Collating your documents really is a straightforward process. But if you’re new to the idea, you may have some questions. Here are some frequently asked questions we hear from our customers:

Frequently Asked Questions:

  • Q: What file formats do you accept for collated printing projects? 

  • A: We accept PDF, InDesign, Illustrator, Word.


  • Q: Do you have any specific requirements or guidelines for formatting my document before submission? 

  • A: Please follow our stanard guidelines for safe area of 0.25" and 0.125" Bleed. Make sure pages are numbered


  • Q: What is the maximum paper size and weight that your printers can accommodate for collated printing?

  • A: We can collate upto 12" x 18" and as thick as 16pt cover stock.

  • Q: Can you recommend a paper type and finish that best suits my project? 

  • A: We would have to see your project and look at the files and images used. Typically photos look best on our Gloss or Silk finish paper. Text is mostly printed on uncoated paper.

  • Q: Are there sizing requirements for specific projects? 

  • A: Our minimum size for collating is 4" x 6" and our Max is 12" x 18". However in some cases and based on volume we are able to do bigger or smaller sizes than standard. Request a quote.

  • Q: What options do you offer for binding or finishing my collated documents?

  • A: We offer Saddle Stitch, Wire Bind, Coil bind and Perfect binding with soft cover or hard cover bind. 

  • Q: Do you provide additional printing services such as hole punching, folding, or inserting covers for collated documents? 

  • A: Yes, we do. Enjoy!

  • Q: What is the expected turnaround time for my collated printing project? 

  • A: Typically depneding on the project we offer Next business day upto 5 business days and based on the binding of your choice.

  • Q: What is the pricing structure for collated printing? Are there any additional charges or fees I should be aware of? 

  • A: Our prices are typically included online when purchasing the books or booklet. We do not charge any extra fees or surprise tactics. 

  • Q: What are your delivery options? What is the shipping cost involved for my collater printing project? 

  • A: We use UPS for our shipping method. Our prices are on our website and you can use the estimator to check pricing before placing an order.

  • Q: Do you have any recommendations or best practices for optimizing my collated printing project for cost-effectiveness or efficiency? 

  • A: Best practices for collating or just in printing in general is communicating what you want exactly and double check all your files before submitting.

Get Accurate and High-Quality Collated Printing with Gold Image Printing!

Ready to take your collated printing to the press? Don’t let your documents get lost in the shuffle. At Gold Image Printing, our skill and expertise since 1996 make us the go-to experts for all your collated printing needs. 

Why wait? Drop us a line, and let’s make your printing project a breeze! And don’t forget to check out many other printing services we offer clients, such as custom books, printed presentations, booklets, flyers, and more! We truly are your one-stop shop for professional printing services nationwide. Reach out to us today, and let’s get your project started. Contact us now