What Is NCR Paper & How Does It Work?

Handwritten copies with NCR paper
Photo by Joshua Hoehne on Unsplash

NCR paper has its origins in a love story. In the 19th century, Italian inventor Pellegrino Turri invented “carbonated paper” to enable his beloved, the blind Countess Carolina Fantoni da Fivizzano, to write love letters without smudging her hands (and, one assumes, to leave less proof of their liaison). There’s an opera in there somewhere, but that’s a subject for another time.

Carbon paper has been used for hundreds of years to make an exact copy of something written or traced. It changed to a blue underlayment that was both hard to use and a source of dust that could cause respiratory issues.

NCR—or No Carbon Required—paper is an excellent modern option without those drawbacks. Also called carbonless forms or carbonless copy paper, we’ll go into what NCR paper is, what it’s good for, and everything you need to know before buying your first pad.

What Is NCR Carbonless Paper?

Introduced in the 1950s, NCR paper, or ‘No Carbon Required,’ was quite a step forward. NCR forms were a new way to make copies of handwritten, typed, or printed documents. Plus, it was an alternative to carbon paper, which was messy, fragile, and emitted a potentially harmful blue dust.

Coated in a mixture of safe, non-toxic chemicals, NCR paper today captures and transfers writing without the need for dusty, messy carbon paper. NCR pads and forms provide an excellent alternative and a truly seamless way to copy important documents.

How Does Carbonless Paper Work?

On NCR carbonless paper, the back of the top sheet, called the CB, is coated with pressure-sensitive microcapsules containing chemicals.

Those chemicals alone are not sufficient to make a seamless copy. The second sheet of paper, layered under the coated back top sheet, is also coated with a separate mix of chemicals. When those chemicals come into contact with those on the second sheet of paper, or CF sheet, the transfer of colour occurs.

Additionally, this also allows for the creation of multiple copies of the same document simultaneously through the use of a coated front and back pad—commonly known as a CFB. This way, writing will transfer through multiple carbonless sheets. CFBs differ from the two-part CB and CF systems only in the number of sheets used.

Benefits of Carbonless NCR Paper

NCR carbonless paper is an excellent addition to any office or organisation, as it has a wide variety of uses. Some benefits of carbonless paper include:

  • Make multiple handwritten copies simultaneously
  • Requires less paper to make more copies
  • Easily make clean copies without smudging
  • Does not shed harmful dust
  • Much harder to tear

Potential Drawbacks of Carbonless Paper

Every silver lining has its cloud. While there are many benefits to using NCR carbonless paper, some potential drawbacks include:

  • The ink can sometimes be less vibrant on NCR paper than it is if using carbon paper, though not always
  • Compared to using carbon paper, NCR carbonless paper can be comparatively expensive, though the basis weight per ream is low because carbonless paper is lightweight
  • NCR paper does not work well with most inkjet printers or laser printers. Moreover, the correct print settings are difficult to configure—and NCR paper can damage a printer if the settings are incorrect

Still, carbonless paper remains an excellent option for many organisations, not the least being that it it customizable. Ordering bespoke NCR pads and forms helps avoid printing issues, and its cost is easily priced in an organisation’s budget.

Get Custom NCR Pads at Banana Print

NCR paper is a fantastic alternative to carbon paper, which can be messy, time-consuming to use, and inefficient. With NCR pads, you can quickly produce high-quality copies of handwritten documents like contracts, legal documents, invoices, and receipts.

NCR paper pads purchased through Banana Print are FSC certified and delivered within 3-4 business days. Banana Print sells much more than NCR paper or pads. It is your best option for ordering customised print designs, not just on NCR paper but on business cards, company letterhead, branding material, promotional flyers, and more.

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