How to specify carbonless (No Carbon Required or NCR) sets
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All About NCR (No Carbon Required) Duplicate and Triplicate Forms

Example of duplicate and triplicate forms

How do carbonless forms work?

Carbonless forms are often called duplicate, triplicate or quadruplicate forms. They use NCR (No Carbon Required) technology to copy whatever is written on the top sheet through to the second, third and fourth sheets.

Each sheet is impregnated with a pressure-sensitive chemical which responds to handwriting from a ball-point pen or an impact printer (such as a dot-matrix machine). Carbonless forms do not work with inkjet or laser printers.

What are No Carbon Required forms used for?

Typically, carbonless forms are used for contracts where both parties need to keep a copy. They are also used for invoices, purchase order forms, diagrams (for example for double-glazing installation plans), restaurant order pads, telephone message pads and so on.

Any situation where you need an instant copy (or copies) of a pad from 1/3rd A4 (99 x 210mm) up to A3 will be a situation which can benefit from the use of carbonless forms. We can cut forms to any size you need at no extra charge.

How do I specify what I need?

Although there are literally thousands of combinations, it is actually quite easy to specify what you need (and therefore for us to quote you a price) if you answer these questions for your specific application:

1. How many sheets should I use?

Do you need duplicate, triplicate, or quadruplicate sets? There is theoretically no limit to the number of sheets in a set, but anything beyond four and it becomes difficult to apply enough pressure to get a clear impression all the way through to the bottom sheet.

2. What colour papers and inks can I choose from?

We stock white, pink, yellow, pastel blue and pastel green paper, and unlike most suppliers, these are not pre-collated, so you can choose any sequence of colours at no extra cost. You can also specify a coloured top sheet if you wish (eg. pink top sheet, yellow second sheet) whereas most printers only offer a white top sheet.

Using a single colour of ink will keep the cost to a minimum as each extra ink colour is chargeable. There is no difference in cost whether you choose black as your single ink or another colour. If you choose another colour, we would ideally like the Pantone reference (see Glossary, right), although we can help you if you don't know it – please get in touch.

3. What other options are available?

As standard, NCR forms are supplied as individual sets – that is, as pairs of sheets (for duplicate forms), trios of sheets (for triplicate forms) and so on. There are a number of options which you may like to consider, all of which can be added for a small cost:

  • Padding, where 50 or 100 sets are glued together into a book or pad. We would recommend you choose pads of 50 sets for triplicate/quadruplicate forms, as they are a little unmanageable in pads of 100 sets.
  • Perforating, so that a portion of one or more of the sheets can be torn off (eg. for a customer receipt).
  • Numbering, also known as 'crash numbering' as the serial number is applied using impact on the top sheet so that it transfers to all of the other sheets in the set. We can number from any starting figure you give us, in case you need to continue serial numbers from a previous order of NCR sets.
  • Hole-punching, so that the forms can be neatly filed with the minimum of effort.
  • Card backing, where the bottom sheet is a 170gsm card rather than paper for sturdier filing. Please note that card backings are always white but, like other sheets, can be printed in any colour(s) of ink.

How are they priced?

We have a computerised pricing system which allows us to give instant quotes over the phone for all of our carbonless form sizes, types and options. You might find it helpful to use the checklist below before you call us, as these are the questions we will ask you to provide an accurate quote:

For each sheet in your set we will need to know:

  • Paper colour (white, pink, yellow, pastel blue or pastel green?)
  • Ink colours (black only, black plus 1/2/3 colours, or Pantone colour?)
  • Any perforation required on this sheet?
  • Is there any print on the back of this sheet? If so, is it black only?

For the whole order, we will also need to know:

  • Any padding required? (no padding, pads of 50 or pads of 100)
  • If padding, which edge should be glued? (top/left/bottom or right)
  • Any numbering required? (if so, what starting number?)
  • Any hole punching required? (two or four holes?)

When you are ready to request a price, please call our Design Advice Line on 01457 778788 for an instant quote.

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