I have designed some fancy cards (80mm x 48mm), and I would like to print them on both sides of a sheet of paper now (5x2 per A4 sheet).

Naturally, both sides of the print need to coincide exactly. However, after several attempts, it seems it's not working as expected: my printer seems to impose extra margins which mess up the alignment (which makes the printed area of the front side no longer coincide with the printed area of the back side). I already tried adding 1-2mm extra on all sides to allow some fluctuation, but this turns out to be insufficient. The difference seems to be always in the same direction, but strangely, moving the images around doesn't seem to change much -- as if the printer automatically corrects this.

So I wondered, are there any good ways to do it? In the PDF, things are aligned very well, but the printer messes it up with more than 2 mm difference. Any idea what would cause this and how to avoid it?
(For what it's worth, I'm using Windows 7 (pro, 64bit) and my printer is a Samsung CLP-325.)

  • Do you have an inkjet printer? I have had better luck doing something similar with an inkjet, my attempts with a laser were futile
    – JohnB
    Jun 25, 2013 at 2:17
  • 2
    A 2mm variance actually sounds pretty good for a home printer.
    – DA01
    Jun 25, 2013 at 3:38
  • If you're producing a PDF and that appears to be correct, then you could try printing the PDF at 100% (no scaling, full-size, the exact wording depends on your PDF reader). Jun 25, 2013 at 8:51
  • I was printing the PDF at full scaling. Strangely, if I use "reduce to printer margins" (96.01%) then the alignment is nearly perfect, but then the total size is a bit too small for the final cards I want to put them in. Jun 25, 2013 at 10:02

16 Answers 16


I found the solution. Apparently my PDF program had an option "auto-center" to remove imposed printer margins. When I turn that off, the positions are moved quite a bit away from what they should be, but at least now they respond consistently to moving the images around on the paper. It's now printing with the 2mm margin correctly (with a fluctuation within 2mm, that is). Nevertheless, thanks all for the input! :-)

  • I know this is old but this is high up on Google when searching for CLP-325 alignment/scaling problems. My problem seems to have been the driver that came with Windows 10, it shrinks an page so a 15.0 cm line becomes a 14.5 cm line. My solution was to download an official Samsung driver (Samsung_CLP-320_Series_SPD_V3. that that finally worked.
    – olafure
    May 2, 2017 at 20:00

Since you say you can make the distortion pretty consistent in the same direction, you can lay the cards out on the page like this (A = front, B = back, one sided):

| A | B |
| A | B |
| A | B |
| A | B |
| A | B |

...then, after printing one, flip the paper horizontally and put the same sheet(s) through again, printing the same file. It's the same orientation lengthways, so the lengthways distortion should be the same, and since it's flipped horizontally the As will be on the back of the Bs.

If the distortion is the other way, lay out so the divide is the other way, then flip the other way.

Another thing to do is check that nothing like "Scale to fit media" or "Shrink oversized pages" or anything like that is ticked in your print settings.

  • I was printing the PDF at 100% scaling. Strangely, if I use "scale to printer margins" (96.01%) then the alignment is nearly perfect, but then the total size is a bit too small for the final cards I want to put them in. Jun 25, 2013 at 10:38

Can't be done on a home printer. Paper shifts and moves as the printer pulls it through itself. You could print 1000 copies and never get one where both sides line up perfectly.

The best solution is to design something which does not require both sides to line up.

  • It doesn't have to line up perfectly. But a 2mm fluctuation margin should be sufficient, right? When I use "reduce to printer margins" (96.01%) then the alignment is nearly perfect within the 2mm margin, but then the total size is a bit too small for the final cards I want to put them in. It's only when I print at unscaled 100% that these extra deviations trigger. Jun 25, 2013 at 10:39
  • 2
    There's just no way to control what you are trying to control. The paper shifts and there's little which can be done about that. It works better when you reduce because the art is centered within the margins rather than the paper size. 2mm is actually a very small margin. Honestly, the best solution is to not design something which needs a full bleed to match perfectly on both sides.
    – Scott
    Jun 25, 2013 at 17:21

@Scott is correct, however I understand the need for this, so instead of redesigning, I'd recommend printing on two sheets and then mounting them onto each other. Provided you take care and use the right materials this can be seamless.


I've been working on this issue for quite a while. You can 'almost' exactly align both sides if you

0. create crop marks on your PDF and

1. test print both sides (I flip pages manually because my printer doesn't have automatic duplex option).

2. get a ruler and measure the differences

  1. Nudge the exact distances (of an odd or even page)

4. Save and print.

*For the Nudge part I use 'adobe acrobat pro', which has a layer tool that lets you import pages while nudging exact calculated amounts.

I've been searching for an automated solution for this and I came upon this post. If there's a better solution for this please let me know.

Happy Duplex Printing


Make sure the copier machine is pulling the paper thru correctly so the paper feeds thru &  stays positioned  correctly . Thats very important to get consistent positioning you'll need to get both copies aligned perfectly on either side of the page. Use new paper.

Clean rollers and grippers with alcohol or whatever the manual suggests using so they all pull evenly.  Make certain the tray paper guide clamps are adjusted as close to the paper edge as possible,  no gaps.

Use a few sheets in the paper feed tray to make feed-in go smoother.

Before putting the stack of papers into the feed tray stand the stack of papers on their longest edge and tap the stack on a table a few times to break adhesion by insuring a layer of trapped air gets between the sheets to act as a air cushion and keeps the paper from sticking together . This will prevent pulling several sheets thru instead of one sheet. Prevents a paper jam also.


How to Adjust Double-sided Print Line up

  1. Go to your print dialogue box hit setup then preferences
  2. Then go to the layout tab click image shift and then set your offset for one side
  3. Trial and error the settings until you get a close match.

As others have said it'll never be perfect but I'm getting it to within 2mm with this method

Hope this works for someone!


I hate this issue so much too!! It sort of helps sometimes to have a small stack of paper behind the paper you are printing on, to help it feed through the printer a little more consistently. I mean the result is sometimes still pretty inconsistent but it's worth a try!


Not sure what success you have had with this but thought I would share my solution to this.

Basically, the back of the cards is designed with a print bleed area which is larger than the card when it's cut. The front of the cards contains all the cutlines, so I don't have to perfectly align the back. It has enough tolerance to allow for the ±5 mm movement between the front and back. Additionally, I print in batches of single sides so all fronts and the then manually flip all the sheets together. The tip is to have the same edge be the leading edge that comes out of the printer.

  • Welcome to GD.SE!
    – Mensch
    Dec 7, 2021 at 15:47

Video record your steps to keep track of the right order. The copier flips pages so you must label the front and then the back of pages and the top and the bottom of pages so these markings show up on your video . This helps to get and keep your bearing and correct page-object orientation .

Start the recording then begin making copies while paying attention to the relationship of the position of the copies on either side of the paper. With each successive copy you may have to adjust the position until they align on both sides of the paper. If you record the entire process until success,  you'll have a video record  of your alignment steps as well as your misalignments. 

Then just review the video to make a written notation of only the successful alignment steps . Always keep it near the copier or save as a how to text- video file  on your computer or what have you.

  • 1
    Hi Noprinterproblems, I see you've added two answers to the question. While this is not strictly prohibited by the system, in this case it's not really necessary. Did you know that you can edit your answer to add information? Thanks for contributing, and feel free to answer more questions or ask questions of your own.
    – PieBie
    Aug 24, 2018 at 12:24

Might be a silly question, but your designs are symmetrical AND positioned exactly the same distance from the sides of the paper as you look at the print page? I do what you're trying to with an old version of Publisher (2000 I think) and had this trouble, I drew rectangles the size I needed (8 total, 4 down the left side 4 down the right) then flipped the page and print again, held it up to the light to measure the difference and as you are getting they ALL looked out of line, when you are correcting it, only correct one side of the set of 8 (either 4 left or 4 right) and it brings it all it line, don't try to correct the whole lot unless you half the difference, up and down is mostly to do with paper feed as was said further up. once you have it lined up right save it as a template, and make future version from that. works for me haven't had to line up again after that.

Or you could print outlines of what you want lined up (boxes?) on one side of the sheet fold it exactly in half shine a bright light through it, if theyre not aligned means youre printing a page not equidistant from the edges (no matter what settings are ticked) and adjust accordingly.

  • Then your printer/software combination may not be in need of this thread. That was obviously one of the first things I tried and they did not match up initially. Feb 8, 2019 at 10:28

Group all the artwork on the front and center it on the page. Do the same for the back. So each "card" will be aligned with its reverse. Have used this technique for for years.


The issue is that all home use printers has safety margins to avoid cash counterfeiting. So no matter how you print, small random margins will always be on the top and the left edge of the paper. My solution is: to print the front and the back of the cards on two separate pages. Give the card back design a thicker outline, so the card back will be slightly bigger than the front. Align 9 cards in a 3 by 3 grid, and put a circle in every corner of the grid. After you've printed both sides, punch all 4 circles on both sides and align them on each other. Glue the two sides together with a thin adhesive, let it dry and then cut the cards off from the front, and cut the corners of the cards with a corner rounder. With this method, you can make thick custom made cards using cheaper paper. For instance a 200g or a 120g A4 paper is still cheaper and more easily accessible than the 350g A4 card paper. (experiences x'D) And also use clear card sleeves. They are also cheaper and more accessible than Dragon Shield card sleeves for instance. :)


Fix the printable area and document area same as Manual Duplex Printing.

I think it can solve your problem.

  • 2
    Downvote and leave is not constructive people! I think you need to extended your answer and include some steps on how you reached that conclusion.
    – Rosenthal
    Dec 12, 2014 at 2:51

Print out both sides of the card, then cut out the cards.

Get a clean sheet of paper and cut a hole in it the same size as the card. Tape the cards into the hole in the paper back to back so that one card is visible on each side of the paper.

Duplex copy in color and cut out your two-sided card.

  • Open it in Microsoft Paint.
  • Flip it so the longer side is your height or so that it is sideways (the top is now the left and the bottom is now the right or vice versa - in other words, it doesn't matter which way sideways).
  • Now go to properties (top left corner drop-down menu) and enter your desired dimensions.
  • Hit OK then click on the upper left corner drop-down menu again and go to print then page setup.
  • Under Scaling check the adjust to and 100%. Under centering check vertical.

You can now print both sides perfectly matched up.

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