Multi-part carbonless paper in a laser printer? No way!
Yes way! There is a whole new breed of carbonless papers created specifically for use in laser printers. These NCR (“No Carbon Required”) papers are not only laser-compatible, but clean and green.
So how does this work? If you need a three-part form, what do you do?
Selecting the correct collation type for your printer
Before you can print, you need to make sure that you buy the right type of forms. The way the carbonless laser paper will travel through your printer – how your printer pulls the paper and then outputs it – will determine which you need.
Why? Because there are special coatings on the paper that allow the transfer of writing through the layers, but the transfer can only work when the paper is in the correct sequence. Some printers will flip paper during the printing process and some will not, so testing your printer’s output and input will determine the type of paper you should buy and how to load it into your printer.
Do you need straight or reverse collated carbonless paper?
To know which type of collation you need, you must determine how your printer inputs & outputs paper. We recommend the following test:
- Draw a hand-written X on a sheet of paper.
- Place that sheet into the printer tray you plan to use for your carbonless forms and make a note of which way you put it in. Did you put it in with the X face up or face down? Make a note: “I put the paper in face ___, so that’s the input.”
- Print a single, one-sided page from a Word doc with the word “test” on it. Make sure you use the same printer tray as your X doc.
- Observe how the printed sheet comes out of the printer and sits on the output tray. Make a note: “The paper was face ____ on the output tray, so that’s the output.”
- Note: the hand-written X and the printed word “test” must be on the same side of the paper for this test to work properly. If they come out on opposite sides, start over and on step #2 place your sheet in the tray the opposite way you did the first time. Record your results again.
- Take your notes and follow through the table below to determine if you need straight or reverse collated multi-part forms.
How to print a three-part form
Now you have the correct paper type and you are ready to print! Consult your note from step #2 in the test above. What was the input method that worked (you got the X and “test” on the same side) – putting the paper in the tray face up or face down?
How to load the paper into the tray
Remember: make sure you are using the same tray you used for the above tests.
- If your printer input test gave you a “face up” result, hold your paper ream so that the arrow on the label faces up. Keep the ream in that position – don’t flip it. Rip open the package, lift the paper and place it into the tray. Remember, don’t ever flip that ream over!
- If you got a “face down” result on the input test, you will want the arrow on the label to face down (so the label will actually be upside down). Keep the ream in that position – don’t flip it. Rip open the package, lift the paper and place it into the tray. Again, don’t flip that ream!
If you have followed these steps, you should be able to just print regularly without adjusting any printer settings. For a three-part form, you’ll print three identical copies. For example, if you needed five sets of your three-part forms, you would simply set the printer to print 15 copies. The paper will come out of the printer in the correct order.
Straight Collated Forms
If you’re using three-part straight collated forms, when they are output, the pink will be on top, face down. As you lift them off the tray and turn them over, they are in the correct order, ready for use.
Reverse Collated Forms
If you’re using three-part reverse collated forms, output will be the white sheet on top, face up. The pre-collated forms will be in the correct order to use.
Reminder: never change the order of carbonless forms. For the special coatings to work and writing to transfer from sheet to sheet, the paper must stay in the correct order.
How to keep multi-part carbonless forms in sets
The easiest way is to separate multi-part carbonless forms is by color, so always make sure the correct color sheet is at the bottom of the stack.
Unlike the forms created for impact printers, these sets are not joined in any way. So what do you need to do to put them together? There are several ways:
- Staple the sets together
- Put them on a clipboard
- Glue them
- Or use them as separate sheets
The choice is yours. You need to determine which works best for your application. By discussing your needs with a specialist in this product, you may find that the 3-part sets you were using can now be condensed into 2-part sets.
Carbonless laser paper form options
Do you have various different uses for carbonless laser paper? Perhaps you need some 2-part and some 3 or 4-part sets, then you may be best served by using 1-part coated front & back carbonless forms so that you can tailor the number of sheets to the application.
Do you have a 3-part shipping form, a 2-part statement or even a 4-part purchase order or delivery form? Using a 1-part coated front & back carbonless form will allow you to choose the number of sheets as you print.
Benefits of Carbonless Laser Forms
And a huge benefit over pre-printed forms is that if you change an address, a phone number or conditions, you don’t have to toss the unused portion of your forms. You simply print what is called for with the most pertinent information and you will always have updated information; no reprinting necessary.
For a deeper dive into Carbonless Laser Forms, check out some FAQs. To try multi-part carbonless laser forms for yourself, request samples below.
*This post was originally published in February 2015. It was updated in December 2016 and again in June 2019.