How to Print Triplicates With a Printer

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Printing triplicate paper forms that allow a signature or other information to be duplicated on lower sheets requires a special paper and liquid adhesive. The paper reacts with the bonding agent to create form sets and to allow the sheets in each set to adhere without sticking to other sets in the stack. Learn to print triplicate copies in any standard printer, stack them in the correct order, apply the bonding agent and separate the form sets when they are dry.

Things You'll Need

  • Three-part carbonless paper
  • Carbonless paper padding adhesive
  • Paint brush
  • Design the desired form and print one copy onto regular plain paper to proofread. Make sure to leave a margin at the top of at least ½-inch of blank space to allow room for the bonding adhesive.

  • Load a single triplicate set of blank, three-part carbonless paper (one sheet of each color) into the printer paper tray and print three copies of the form on the printer. Remove the printed forms from the output tray just as they are and gently align the edges of the paper. Lay the sheets down on a hard, flat surface with the printed form showing on the top copy. Press a fingernail down on one corner of the page and drag a small line along the paper hard enough to leave an impression on the lower sheets. Check the lower sheets to verify that your fingernail etched a line on each sheet. Make any changes to the way the paper loads into the printer if necessary until this test works. Use fresh paper for each test.

  • Print the entire stack of triplicate forms. Keep the output pages in the exact order they stack in the printer output tray.

  • Jog the stack of pages to align the edges exactly. The stack should resemble the original ream of paper as closely as possible. Pay particular attention to the top of the stack and make sure the sheets are perfectly aligned. You can split the print job into several stacks for easier handling, as long as the stacks contain only full sets.

  • Place several reams of paper carefully on top of the stacked forms with the weight concentrated slightly at the top edge of the stack. Alternately, clamp the stack of paper together using a wide clamp designed for this purpose. Inspect the stack to ensure the pages are aligned straight on all edges.

  • Apply a thin coat of padding adhesive to the top edge of the forms using the brush. Brush from the center toward the outside along the grain of the stack. Make sure to use enough adhesive to penetrate the paper slightly but not enough to soak it. Apply the adhesive to the top edge of the stack, paying special attention to the corners. Allow the forms to dry for at least one hour.

  • Remove the extra reams of paper or loosen the clamp.

  • Pick up the forms and fan the top edge of the forms with one thumb to gently separate the completed forms from each other.

Tips & Warnings

  • Plan the job out and run a few test copies to ensure the pages are printing on the right side of the paper and the sequence is correct before printing a large batch of forms or the entire job can go to waste.
  • Special care must be taken when printing numbered forms on carbonless paper to keep the sheets in order or the job may fail due to numbers being out of sequence or the number on the top sheet not matching the number on the sheets below.
  • Photo Credit Jupiterimages/liquidlibrary/Getty Images
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