Turn Off 2-Sided Printing

It is so nice that printer manufacturers send out most of their printers these days with 2-Sided Printing as the default. This is all setup in the printer drivers. Yes, you can turn it off each time you print, but what a pain. Recently, my wife was trying to print from an App inside a virtual online window. Even though I set the printer to 1-Sided, the actual Default setting inside the driver was 2-Sided. The virtual App kept using the Default setting so she got 2-Sided printing every time. It your printers are stuck on 2-Sided printing and you would like to turn that off forever, read on!

Default Printer Settings

Some printers come with their own software for tweaking the Default settings. Case in point is my HP OfficeJet Pro 8600 Multifunction printer. Here is the HP Print Utility:

HP Print Utility

Even though it has its own software, I could not find any place to set the Driver Default to 1-Sided Printing. That leads me to the Cups Printing System (Common Unix Printing System). Cups printer setup has been enabled for a long time in the macOS. It is totally handy for changing Default Settings and other behavior on most printers. Let me show you how I set my HP Defaults to 1-Sided printing.

Cups Printing Setup

The first thing you need to do is make sure the CUPS system is activated. You access CUPS by typing “localhost:631” in your browser address bar (without the quotes). You may get a message that says to activate CUPS on your Mac you need to enter cupsctl WebInterface=yes in the Terminal App and hit Return. This command activates CUPS. Please note, my CUPS activation did not seem to stick until I did a Restart, YMMV. Once CUPS is activated, just type localhost:631 in your browser address window and you will be taken to this page:

CUPS Main Window

Click on the Administration link to get this screen:

Manage Printers

Click on Manage Printers and you should get a list of your installed printers on your Mac:

Printer List

In this case I clicked on the HP printer and was taken to the settings area for that Printer:

Default Settings

You will see a dropdown just to the right of the Maintenance that is set to Administration. Click on that and choose “Set Default Options”. You will be taken to this screen:

Printer Options

Depending on what type of printer you have, you should see a setting for 2-Sided Printing on there somewhere. It will have a dropdown menu next to it:

2-Sided Printer

Click on the dropdown and select “Off”! You printer Default is now set to 1-Sided Printing. You may have to Restart your Mac for this to take effect. Once I went through this process for my HP and Canon printers they defaulted to 1-Sided Printing. I was a happy camper. Here is some more information on CUPS if you are interested. 


The process for setting your printer Defaults to 1-Sided Printing is a bit convoluted. However, if the 2-Sided Printing thing drives you crazy, it is worth the time to fix it. If I want 2-Sided Printing, I can choose it manually printer manufacturers!