Printing double sided on Mac (duplex with a single side only printer)

David Fletcher, © 2013

I have an HP LaserJet P1505 - a laser printer which prints on one side of the paper only. HP produced a nice utility which allowed printing on both sides, but after a Mac security update in June 2013 it stopped working. Others have noticed the same issue.

To fix this issue I wrote an Automator script that will do double sided on the HP P1505, and it should work for any other printer too. For it to work you need to install the free PDFtk package. I installed this using the precompiled package labelled: "PDFtk Server for the Mac").

The automator script so far does double sided for A4 portrait documents. How it does this is shown in the preview picture below. I haven't yet worked out how to do landscape, or documents which switch between orientation part way through. So, if you need landscape, you have to rotate the document in software to portrait before printing. The HP software used to handle this better, but I don't know how - offers of improved versions are welcome - contact here. There's some extra stuff in the script about counting the number of pages which isn't used any more, but I left it in.

After installation, Duplex3 is available in the print dialog by clicking the PDF button. Use this to start printing and wait until the pages stop coming out. Insert these pages back into the paper feed tray after turning top to bottom (to get the top in the right place), but without turning the pages 'over', i.e. the last page to print in the first stage should become the first page to run through the printer for the reverse sides. Then click the pop-up message on the screen and the reverse sides will print. If it doesn't work the first time look at what's come out and work out which way to re-insert the pages - please do NOT contact me for help on this!

Download here. Unzip the file and place the workflow in the folder: Library/PDF Services/ in your home folder, or the equivalent folder at the system level so it would be available to everyone.

Outline of Duplex3.workflow