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Printing Lingo: What is an NCR Form?

An NCR Form is a multi-part form constructed from carbonless copy paper (aka NCR paper). NCR Forms allow multiple copies of a handwritten or impact-printed document to be created simultaneously. NCR Corporation, a global leader in consumer transaction technology, developed carbonless copy paper…hence the names NCR Forms and NCR Paper.

NCR forms generate quick and inexpensive copies of an original document, so they are popular in the world of business. NCR forms are often used for proposals, contracts, invoices, sales receipts, requisitions, work orders, purchase orders, delivery documents, medical and insurance forms, employment applications, and virtually any other document that requires multiple copies.

NCR forms can be created for use as handwritten forms, which are filled out manually with an ink pen. NCR forms can also be created as continuous forms (aka computer forms), which are fed through an impact printer connected to a computer. The most common NCR forms are 2-part, 3-part and 4-part forms. The sheets that make up an NCR form are often a different color - white, canary, pink, goldenrod, etc. - to clearly identify the original (topmost sheet) and each subsequent copy.

How do NCR Forms Work?

The sheets of paper used to create an NCR form are coated with a layer of microscopic dye capsules and/or a layer of reactive clay. The back side of the topmost sheet is coated with a layer of microscopic dye capsules. These tiny capsules break open when pressure is applied by a writing instrument or the mechanical strike of a printer. (article continues below)

Many thanks to Юкатан for creating this diagram (view license)

The dye then spills onto the top of the second sheet, which has been coated with a reactive clay compound. This thin clay layer chemically reacts with the spilled dye to form a permanent mark. Because the dye capsules are microscopic, the spilled dye does not spread excessively and results in a very precise transfer of the original text.

To transfer the image to every sheet within the form, all intermediate sheets are coated with a reactive clay layer on top and a dye capsule layer on the bottom. The last sheet of the form has the reactive clay layer on top but no coating on the bottom.

Whether your business has a need for handwritten NCR forms, or continuous (printer-fed) forms, give Formax Printing a call at 866-367-6221 or simply fill out our quote request form. We can custom print your forms in black ink or colored ink. We can also sequentially number each form for easier referencing and accountability. We look forward to assisting with your NCR form needs!

Take care! Keith

About the Author

Keith Beaty is the owner of Formax Printing Solutions in St. Louis, MO. Formax provides a complete array of offset and digital printing services. Specialty areas include book printing, full-color printing, laminated printing, map printing, plus mailing services. If you ever have a printing question or project you would like to discuss, Keith is always happy to help. He can be reached at 866-367-6221. Keith and Formax have been providing worry-free printing and related services since 1985.

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