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I'm embarrassed to ask this... A family member has a Brother MFC-J870DW printer. When a document is printed, page 1 comes out first, 2 second, and so on. After the job is complete, all of the pages must be reversed by hand. A large document becomes acutely inconvenient.

I want the printer to output the pages in the order expected by a human reader. I found two settings in Brother's printer control panel that appear to control the behavior. The first is Mirror and the second is Reverse. Unfortunately, neither cause the printer to output the pages in the order a human reader would read them. Both flipped the page on an axis.

I also searched on the Internet, but search results are being drown out by irrelevant noise. See, for example, Google search of brother print for human reader. (I have to avoid words like Reverse since they are known to be incorrect).

How do I tell the Brother MFC-J870DW printer to print pages so that the resulting collection of pages is in order expected by a human reader?


For completeness, here are the settings I have tried to change in an effort to resolve the issue:

enter image description here

  • In order for the printer itself to reverse collate a large document, it must have unlimited virtual memory, so that the entire document could be sent to printer before printing begins. The next place reverse collation could occur is the print spooler of the computer, after that it might be an option in some specific software. There might also be 3rd party software that would help you. In any case the best way to google is for the common name of a feature in quotes, in this case "reverse collation" is the feature you're looking for, so try (MFC-J870DW "reverse collate") without parenthesis. – Tyson Jan 21 '16 at 22:28
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    I might add, most if not all home grade inkjet printers are going to have this issue, the ink has to be printed on top the paper and to keep the footprint of the printer small they don't add paper handling to turn the page over after it's printed. Most home grade laser printers on the other hand make the page come out turned over which solves the problem. The moral is if many large documents are printed this likely isn't the best printer for the job, both in terms of page collation AND cost of supplies for per printed page. – Tyson Jan 21 '16 at 22:34
  • Thanks Tyson. Its amazing we are in 2016 and we still have petty UI and technical problems that existed back in the 1990s. Computers are faster with plenty of memory and storage; and there are plenty of Comp Sci majors who know how to write an efficient algorithm to reverse the order of a list. Its absolutely mind boggling in 2016... But I think you are right... no more Brother printers... – jww Jan 21 '16 at 23:02
  • This particular issue is not surprising to me at all. That's a home grade printer, and what home users in general want is small footprint and inexpensive. For the printer itself to do the reverse collation, it's needs a hard drive in the printer so that it can accept ANY size document in full before printing begins, it's no a simple case of reversing the order of a list. – Tyson Jan 21 '16 at 23:17
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    Thanks Tyson. I'm pretty sure modern print drivers use the host's hard drive, so the spoiler service only needs to chunk the job and send what the printer can handle. And the document is a PDF, so the pagination is trivial because the PDF specs calls out the precise layout. But like you said, its a cheap printer. I ordered her a HP Color LaserJet Pro M252DW. – jww Jan 21 '16 at 23:32
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How do I tell the Brother MFC-J870DW printer to print pages so that the resulting collection of pages is in order expected by a human reader?

You don't.
Trying to reverse the pages by the printer driver is the wrong place.

Use the application program that submits the print job (e.g. Adobe Reader) to reverse the order of the pages. This would typically be the same dialogue window where you can select printing one page or the whole document or specify the number of copies.

enter image description here

The above screencapture is immediately displayed after I've clicked the "Print" option off the Linux Firefox browser toolbar.
Another application, Adobe Reader, will offer this print otion window (courtesy of @Tyson) enter image description here

You cannot setup this reverse page as a permanent configuration; you'll have to select "Reverse" for every multipage print job.

Unfortunately not all application programs (e.g. Firefox for Windows) offer this reversal of pages.

  • Thanks Sawdust. How, exactly, does one do that. I've tried both Mirror Print and Reverse Print as shown in the print server's property page. – jww Jan 22 '16 at 1:07
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    You have to reverse the pages when you submit the print job. The printer driver or/and the print server are the wrong places to look for this option. Where/how did you initiate a print request? The above screencapture is immediately displayed after I've clicked the "Print" option off the Firefox browser toolbar. You cannot setup this reverse page as a permanent configuration; you'll have to select "reverse" for every multipage print job. – sawdust Jan 22 '16 at 1:28
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I just solved this issue in my Brother DCP-J562DW Printer. But the solution should be uniform to all Brother printers. This is for Microsoft Windows.

Step 1. Go to Control Panel > Hardware and Sound > Devices and Printers

Step 2. Right click on your Brother Printer Icon > Select Printer Properties

Step 3. Go to Advanced Tab

Step 4. Select the option "Start printing after last page is spooled"

Step 4.1. (Optional) If you are sending multiple documents to print and you want them to print in exact order you selected. You must untick this option. "Print spooled documents first"

Step 5. Click apply and OK. Enjoy printing documents in correct order

Printer properties menu

  • I have a J870DW (same as the asker's), and I tried this solution on Windows 10. This solution did not work for me. However, I noticed the Printing Defaults... button at the bottom of the advanced settings. Opening that menu presented me with an option to reverse the printing order. :) – vastlysuperiorman Aug 27 '17 at 16:33
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If you are printing from Microsoft Word, you will find the relevant setting as follows:

  1. From the "print" dialogue box in Word, choose "page setup"
  2. From there, go to "print options" and then "advanced."
  3. Scroll down until you get to print options and you will find reverse order.
  4. After you hit okay, you will be back in "page set up" and there you can choose to set this to be the default setting.
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The way to do it – besides clicking on the reverse collate button, if you can't find the it – is just to type in the page order backwards, e.g., instead of print pages 1-12, print pages 12-1.

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    The site is a knowledge base of solutions rather than a forum, so answers are better if they just stick to the facts and don't include a rant. – fixer1234 Jan 10 '17 at 17:24
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If anybody else has this issue, on my Brother DCP-J4120DW, there is an option to print in 'reverse order' through the drivers setting panel on Windows. On Ubuntu, I would just manually reverse the order of the pages using the applications default print menu.

Below is an image of the option; it is on the 'Basic' tab.

enter image description here

In Mac OS operating systems, the following steps should be done (extracted from their support page):

  1. Open the Print dialog.  (Click here to see how to open the Print dialog.)
  2. Click the application pop-up menu, and then choose Paper Handling.
  3. Choose Reverse for Page Order.
    enter image description here
  4. Click Print.
The Brother support article is here showing the actual steps.
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Control Panel --> Printers and Devices Right click printer Select printer preferences Select check box for reverse order Save

All documents will now be printed in reading order.

  • This duplicates what's already been provided in other answers. – fixer1234 Feb 5 '18 at 21:47
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The machine normally prints from page 1 and ejects it face-up so that the following pages are stacked on top of previous pages and the printouts are stacked Page 5, Page 4, Page 3, ..., Page 1.

When you want to get correctly-ordered printouts, use the function to print in reverse order. Using this function, the printer driver spools the entire job in your computer and sends the data starting from the last page to the printer. Since the printer prints from the last page forward, the printouts are stacked Page 1, 2, 3, ..., Page 5. Please note that this function takes more time.

This option is not the same as REVERSE PRINTING which rotates the image 180 degrees.

Follow the steps listed below to print in reverse order.

(Windows) Open Printing Preferences. (Click here to see how to open Printing Preferences.)

Click the Basic tab, and check the Reverse Order box.

Win_ReverseOrder

Click Apply => OK.

(Macintosh) Open the Print dialog. (Click here to see how to open the Print dialog.)

Click the application pop-up menu, and then choose Paper Handling.

Choose Reverse for Page Order.

Mac_ReverseOrder

Click Print.

Credit: Collate Printing

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