How to Print Multi-Part Carbonless Forms in a Laser Printer

Need to convert continuous carbonless forms to a laser format? Carbonless laser paper is an ideal solution. Find common carbonless paper applications here.

multipart carbonless formsMulti-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:

  1. Draw a hand-written X on a sheet of paper.
  2. 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.”
  3. 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.
  4. 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.”
  5. 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.
  6. Take your notes and follow through the table below to determine if you need straight or reverse collated multi-part forms.

Determine straight vs. reverse collated multi-part carbonless forms

  1. Once you know what you need, purchase the correct forms.

How to print a three-part form

Once you receive the correct paper, 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!

Carbonless multi-part forms labels

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.

Finished product

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.

Coatings multi-part carbonless forms

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

Whatever your need, you can cut costs by the versatility carbonless laser forms offer. They will run on every machine, including laser, offset press, high-speed copiers and digital duplicators.

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. Ready to buy right now? You can visit our online store.

Reimage Sample Request

*This post was originally published in February 2015. It was updated in December 2016, June 2019 and March 2020.

Medical Forms Are a Nightmare. Carbonless Paper Can Help!

See how Relyco’s REIMAGE carbonless paper helped one hospital increase efficiency and reduce cost.

Carbonless laser paper

At Relyco, we have this friend. Her name is Hypothetical Holly.

Hypothetical Holly works in a hospital, keeping and organizing medical records and forms. It’s difficult work, and before the advent of carbonless paper, it was incredibly messy work. Holly spent her days covered in black smudges from forms that needed to be completed in triplicate, buried in discarded carbon sheets.

Carbonless paper saved Holly from that sooty fate, but it too has its challenges. Traditional carbonless paper is not intended for use in a laser-compatible environment, and has severely damaged parts of the hospital’s laser printers and digital copiers.

Luckily for Holly, there is a solution, as Griffin Hospital in Derby, Conn. discovered a few years ago: It’s called REIMAGE™ Carbonless Laser Paper.

Customer Story: Griffin Hospital’s Carbonless Paper Solution

Griffin Hospital is a 160-bed acute care community hospital serving more than 100,000 residents of the Lower Naugatuck Valley Region and also serves as the flagship hospital for Planetree, an international leader in patient-centered care.

The hospital operates its own print shop, which delivers a comprehensive range of printing services on demand to departments across the health care organization. Long-time employee Steven C. Katilius, the print shop’s sole operator, said that the facility uses carbonless laser paper for a range of documents, from discharge instructions to payment receipts. 

Katilius tried a sample of REIMAGE on the print shop’s Risograph, a high-speed digital duplicator, and was so impressed with the results that it’s all he’s used since.

Some carbonless papers cause issues with the equipment, but the REIMAGE works flawlessly; it has literally never jammed, which saves me time in the long run. The adhesive Relyco recommends for use with REIMAGE dries quickly and works great to produce multi-page form sets. Most importantly, though, when the carbonless forms are used throughout the hospital, the writing is clear, even on the third sheet, which is a critically important quality in the types of forms we produce.

It’s also cost-effective, Katilius said. Carbonless paper can be expensive, but Relyco’s prices for REIMAGE are very competitive, he said.

Interested in learning more about Relyco’s REIMAGE Carbonless Laser Paper and its applications to the healthcare industry? Request free samples below.

Reimage Sample Request

Carbonless Paper FAQs: Everything You Need to Know

Do the forms run through the printer at the same time? How do the forms stay together? Does laser carbonless paper come pre-collated and un-collated? Find these answers and more.

REIMAGE Carbonless Laser Paper is an environmentally-friendly, cost-effective, laser printer compatible carbonless paper solution. It is ideal for converting continuous carbonless forms to a laser format.

Frequently Asked Questions about Carbonless Laser Paper

Here are some of the most frequently asked questions about carbonless laser paper.

Carbonless paperQ. Can I use traditional carbonless paper in my laser printer?

A. Traditional carbonless paper—the kind typically used in continuous, multi-part forms—is not intended for use in a laser printer. Although traditional carbonless paper will run through most printers, it is manufactured with solvent-based chemicals that can cause severe damage to rollers, drums and other critical printer components.

REIMAGE Carbonless Laser Paper is manufactured specifically for safe use in laser printers and digital copiers and will not damage printing equipment.

Q. Do the forms run through the printer at the same time? How do the forms stay together? How does the laser printer print multiple copies of the same form?

A. Traditional carbonless multi-part forms are made up of multiple sheets that are usually pin fed through an impact printer via removable line holes on either side. These types of forms are printed on the top page, and that printing is imaged on the remaining parts using carbonless technology. All the printing and imaging is done simultaneously (one pass through the printer).

Since a laser printer can only print a single sheet at a time, with carbonless laser forms, a user prints multiple copies of the same form. For example, with a three-part form, you simply print three copies of each form, one after the other, on the carbonless laser paper. The paper for multi-part forms can be purchased pre-collated; with a three-part form, the top sheet is white, the middle sheet is canary and the bottom sheet is pink. So if you needed four sets of three-part forms, for example, you can just set the printer to print 12 copies. The paper will come out of the printer in the correct order.

Once they’ve been printed, the forms may be stapled, bound or glued into sets, or left as is, without any binding.

Q. Does laser carbonless paper come pre-collated and un-collated?

A. REIMAGE Carbonless Laser Paper is available pre-collated for single tray use or uncollated for use in multiple-tray (or even multiple-printer) applications. Pre-collated carbonless laser paper is available in straight and reverse sequences for three-part and four-part forms. Why? Because different laser printer models load, feed and output differently, so you want to make sure you use the collation type that is compatible with your printer. To determine whether you need straight or reverse collated paper, follow the instructions to test printer output in this blog post or in this printable document.

Once you have completed the test to determine what your printer output is, you can use this chart to know the collation you need:

Paper inputPrinter outputWhat form you will need
Face upFace upReverse collated forms
Face upFace downStraight collated forms
Face downFace downReverse collated forms
Face downFace upStraight collated forms

Q. Why does reverse vs. straight collation matter? How do the forms flow through the printer?

A. Understanding your printer’s output is extremely important for carbonless forms. Why? Carbonless forms have special coatings on certain sides that allow the transfer of writing through the paper sets. If the paper gets flipped during printing, then the correct coatings may no longer line up for the finished product, which would render the paper useless.

Straight Collated for REIMAGE Carbonless Forms

In straight collated forms, the printer pulls the stock in the tray from the top of the stack. Then it outputs it face down. As you lift them off the tray and turn them over, they are in the correct order, ready for use.

Reverse Collated for REIMAGE Carbonless Forms

Again, in reverse collated forms, the printer will pull the paper from the top of the stack, but it will start with sheet 3. So you load your input tray with sheet 3 (the pink form) at the top, face up. Output will be white sheet on top, face up. The forms will be in the correct order to use. Be sure not to change that order.

Is this explanation confusing to you? Don’t worry! We included it for the visual learners, but it can be too much for others. Simply follow the printer output test steps outlined here and order reverse or straight forms based on your results.

Q. Why don’t I need to worry about straight vs. reverse sequencing for two-part forms?

A. You can purchase our two-part carbonless laser paper pre-collated, but you don’t need to choose between reverse or straight collation (like you do with three or four-part forms). Why? Because when dealing with only two sheets of paper, they can’t get out of order. But it is still important to do your printer input test (in the next question) to make sure you put the paper in the tray properly.

Q. Do I put the paper face up or face down in my printer tray?

A. To determine whether you should put your carbonless laser paper in the tray face up or face down, follow the instructions to test your printer input in this blog post or this printable document.

Q. Is testing laser carbonless paper recommended?

A. Yes! Because each application is unique, physical testing of REIMAGE Carbonless Laser Paper using the actual laser printer and laser printer trays on which the forms will be printed is the most effective way to determine which REIMAGE option is right for you. Please make sure to do the testing recommended in this blog post and request free samples if you need them! When printing multi-part forms, we always recommend that you print one set – and test that the transfer of writing works – prior to each print run.

Reimage Sample Request

This post was originally published in March 2015. It has been updated in June 2019.