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Carbonless Forms

Carbonless Forms 1

What is an NCR form?

NCR (no carbon required) or carbonless forms, like the name suggests, have eliminated the need for carbon paper between sheets to create multiple copies of the same form. The paper is chemically treated to transfer the impression from the first page to the subsequent pages with very little pressure. (For those of you who are scientifically inclined, the bottom side of carbonless NCR paper is coated with micro-encapsulated dye that breaks when pressed. The top of the second sheet is coated with clay that reacts with the dye to form a permanent mark. When the top sheet is written on, the pressure causes the micro-capsules to break and release the dye.)

What are NCR and carbonless forms used for?

NCR forms have a myriad of uses with some of the most common being invoices, statements, purchase orders, contracts, work orders, applications and receipts where multiple copies are needed for customers, sales people, accounting, agents, mechanics, workers, etc.

Common NCR sizes

Standard sizes for NCR forms are half page (5.5" x 8.5"), full page (8.5" x 11") and legal (8.5" x 14") although custom sizes can be ordered to meet your specific need. The design orientation can be either vertical or horizontal. The link below gives you access to design templates that can be used to lay out your form in the appropriate size and orientation.


Did you know that carbonless paper ages? If you’ve ever used a carbonless form that doesn’t print very dark on the second or third sheets, the problem is most likely caused by old paper that contains dried-out micro ink capsules.

When designing forms give yourself 1/2" of white space at the top of any carbonless form. Occasionally, the padding compound that is used will bleed down from the padding edge and cause the top 1/8" of the paper to wrinkle slightly. White space makes it very hard to notice the wrinkling.

Just because carbonless forms are practical doesn’t mean they have to be boring. Consider using two colors of ink, that can make a dramatic improvement in the look of your form. Also adding bold graphics can make the form snap.

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