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What does collate mean?

When it comes to documents with multiple pages that you need to get in print, one question that you will get from your printing company "Do you want your printed documents to be collated or uncollated?" So what does collate mean? Collate is a verb that indicates that there are a number of items that are collected and combined in a proper order. The way in which it applies to printing is that the electronic files that contain the information that will get printed See the following collate examples
PDF document or Word processor files are the most common digital used to produce a collated or an uncollated job.

Collated printing examples: Different collated printing jobs can look different, so here are some examples. In every example we assume that multiple copies of each document are necessary.

When a document is long enough to print in multiple pages (because it won't fit in one single page), collated printing will get you a printed document where page after page and sheet of paper after sheet of paper, the original sequence is respected. We can represent it with the following graph that show that the information to be printed comes from a digital file and what the finished printed job would look like. Since multiple copies of the same original are created, there will be multiple groups of collated documents as a product of the job.


on this image there are 2 icons that represent digital files that contain the document that will get printed.
on this image there is an arrow following the process that represents printing.
this image shows two groups of sheets in a collated document: The first image shows a collated document that is printed on a single side only. The numbers of the pages is indicated as a reference. The second image shows the same scenario but double sided printing is being used. The numbers of the pages is indicated as well to provide clarity.
The digital files such as PDF and word processing documents have the content that will get printed. On the right side you see what each group of collated documents will look like.
When a printed document requires divisions within, such as chapters, sections, special tab sheets are often used. Other times the way to indicate sections is by the use of a sheet that uses a different thickness (example cover stock as opposed to text weight).
on this image there are 2 icons that represent digital files that contain the document that will get printed.
on this image there is an arrow following the process that represents printing.
this image shows a document that consists of multiple pages and a special section separation which is represented by a yellow tab sheet
The digital files such as PDF and word processing documents have the content that will get printed. On the right side you see what each group of collated documents with their corresponding tabs will look like

Order your collated and uncollated printing through our website. Our Color Copies page

What does uncollate mean (collated vs uncollated)?

Uncollated represents the opposite meaning than collate. Uncollated prints are therefore not combined nor gathered at all. In a printing job when multiple copies of the same document are required, you will receive all of the sheets separately. So all page #1 will be grouped by themselves, and so on.
Each sheet of uncollated documents will be separated from any other sheet that belongs to the same project.

Collated documents or products are beneficial for these applications

When the document being printed is considered in itself a single element, having your printing company collate your document is advantageous. When having a single sheet without the rest of the document makes no sense. Here are some examples of printed documents that benefit from the printing company collating the job:

It is usually not more expensive to get collated documents as opposed to uncollated ones

It is usually not more expensive but since we organize differently to produce a collated job than an uncollated job, we need to know your preference before we start to process your order.

Uncollated prints are useful at trade shows, seminars and as product sheets.

When the printed sheets in the document will be used as required, uncollated stacks of sheets is a better way to go. The following examples will help understanding:
  • Trade Shows: Your digital file has product specifications that belong to 10 different products. The printed documents will be handed at a trade show: Because different visitors to your booth might be interested in one of the multiple products that you offer, the visitor will probably want to keep documentation about the specific piece of his interest. Having stacks of sheets, one stack per product could be more convenient.
  • Handouts: At a conference, a speaker might want to distribute a sheet among assistants at a specific moment and, maybe later, distribute a second document or sheet. The reason for this might be to keep the attention of the audience and not having the audience go ahead of the pace of the event. Under this circumstances, uncollated documents would be useful.

Contact us today for great service and prices on collated and uncollated printed products.

can provide you with all of your collated or uncollated projects. It doesn't matter how complex your requirement is, if tabs or other special separators are needed. We will work hard on your need.

Collated and uncollated printing can be ordered online. You can get a proof.

Yes. As long as you have your digital files available and can email them, at your request we can present you with a digital proof or a hard proof.

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So many people call asking about the meaning of collate, that we decided to explain the concept in detail: What does Collate Mean is now a fully developed article. If you have any questions, let us know.

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About Color Copies USA

We are experts in digital color printing and color copies. Our best technology produces your best copies. We also offer on-demand color copy printing of digital multi-page-newsletters, brochures, business cards, leaflets and sales material.

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