The Printer Is Not Configured to Collate

By Andrew Aarons

Your printer may need special software to collate documents.
i Creatas/Creatas/Getty Images

When printing several copies of a multipage document, choosing to collate the print job keeps your work organized. But if the printer isn’t set up to collate, one of a few things might be happening. Your printer may not support collating documents or you may not have configured the printer to collate. Not all printers can collate, but if yours can then you can find the settings to configure it.

Check Printer Functions

Before you get frustrated trying to find the option to collate copies while printing, make sure your printer actually supports collating documents. Simple all-in-one printers often don’t have the ability to collate, though larger multifunction printers should be able to collate documents. Check the printer manual, the box the printer came in or the manufacturer’s website to ensure that your printer has the necessary functionality.

Printer Software

Every printer comes with manufacturer-specific software that gives you full control over the printer’s functions. Windows can use generic drivers on many printers, giving you basic functionality without installing special software. The trouble with using a generic driver is that some of the more complex functions, such as collating, won’t be available. Install the software specific to your printer either by using the disc that came with it or by downloading the newest software from the manufacturer. It’s best to install the software on every computer that uses the printer (for network printers), not just the computer the printer connects to.

Network Printers

Your office’s network configuration can block features of the printer on computers that don’t have the printer software installed. You may have set up the printer on one computer and used Windows to share the printer across the network. While this grants basic permissions and allows users to print, it doesn’t give full access to the printer’s functions, such as collating. Install the printer software on each computer that has the printer as a network printer; Windows will know to use the printer software each time in place of the Windows printer configuration.

Advanced Settings

Collate may not be an option on your specific printer’s print dialog boxes -- those windows that appear when you click “Print” from an application. With some printers, you need to click “Properties” on the print window to see advanced settings, which could include collate. If the collate option is greyed out or inactive, remove the printer software on each computer and reinstall it again. If you can’t collate on any computer, consider contacting the printer manufacturer for support, as the printer may not be working correctly.