Printing Lingo: What is a Roll Fold?

This illustration shows a document being Roll-folded into 8 panels (4 panels on each side).

A Roll Fold refers to a document folding method that uses a succession of parallel folds to create multiple panels of approximately the same size. Also known as a Barrel Fold or an Over-and-Over Fold, Roll-folding is a popular choice for folding a variety of documents, especially brochures, flyers and mailers.

The Roll-Fold Sequence

The panel on one end of a document is folded inward so that it lies flat against the panel next to it. These two panels are then folded inward so they lie flat against the next panel and so on. A Roll fold is aptly named because it is similar to “rolling up” the document using a series of folds.

Technically, the folding sequence can be started from either end of the document, but starting the sequence from the rightmost end is the generally accepted convention.  By design, a Roll-folded document enables the reader to view the information in a logical, step-by-step manner.

Roll-folding is most commonly used to create 8-Panel documents (4 panels on each side). The Roll-folding technique is also used to create 10-panel documents (5 panels on each side) and 12-panel documents (6 panels on each side). Though not as common, Roll-folding can also be used to create documents with 14 or more panels.

PRINTING TIP: In order to perform a Roll Fold properly, the widths of some panels must be slightly smaller than the desired finished size of the folded document. Otherwise the document will not fold completely flat. If you are unsure how to lay out a roll-folded document, contact us about your specific project.

Have any other questions about the Roll-fold or any other type of document folding method?  Give Formax a call at 866-367-6221. Or, if you have a printing project and need a quote, click here to submit our easy quote form. Either way, we look forward to assisting with your project!

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 fulfillment and 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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