I like to print on pre-printed stationery using the Preview.app and a duplex-capable HP Color Laserjet 4700 (PostScript) printer. The print dialog handles one and two-paged documents differently: the paper needs to be placed differently into the tray if the document contains one page versus when it contains two pages. This is not obvious when printing on plain paper but becomes obvious when front and reverse side of sheets are marked. Otherwise the first page would end up on the reverse side of the first sheet.

I believe the problem is caused by the printer driver setting duplex printing to false (using the PostScript setpagedevice operator) when emitting a single-page document versus keeping it set to true when emitting multi-page documents. All this despite that duplex printing is always specified in the printer dialog. When printing a single-sided document, duplex=true and duplex=false seem to make a difference with respect which side of a sheet gets printed on.

It would be also helpful if others could confirm the problem actually exists. I suspect this problem is not limited to specific printers. I'm on OS X 10.6 and I checked two different HP printers.

  • Are you saying that the marked upper left front corner actually becomes the lower right corner? So that it's kind of printing upside down, but on the expected paper side? – Arjan Jun 13 '10 at 18:50
  • The upper left corner becomes the upper left corner when printing one-sided documents but a different corner on the reverse side when printing two-sided documents. That's the source of my frustration. – Christian Lindig Jun 16 '10 at 10:17
  • Evidently the OSX ghetto is not teeming with people eager to answer your question... – Norman Ramsey Jun 19 '10 at 16:36

I know that with my LaserJet P1005 on 10.6, the option to print duplex was completely removed in the 10.6 drivers. Downloading and installing the 10.5 driver from HP's website restored the functionality.

The 10.5 driver for your printer is here; you may want to give it a shot.


I would check to see if there is an option in the CUPS web interface. (If asked for a username and password, use your admin shortname and password. There tends to be more options for printing in the webui as opposed to the standard Mac OS X print UI. I would also check GhostScript which sometimes has better drivers then those published by the printer vendor.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.