NCR Paper Explained

What is NCR paper? How does NCR paper work?

NCR paper enables you to create instant copies of a handwritten document without a scanner, printer or photocopier.

Each NCR page consists of two or more layered paper sheets, which are printed with a dye backing. As you write onto the top sheet, the pressure applied from the pen transfers the dye onto the sheet underneath – creating an identical counterpart of the original document.

NCR paper is also known as carbonless paper, carbonless copy paper, carbonless duplicate paper and multipart stationery.

Are carbon copy paper & NCR/carbonless copy paper the same thing?

Not quite – but they work very similarly and achieve the same results!

Traditional ‘carbon paper’ is a paper or plastic sheet coated with dry ink, which you place in between the sheet you’re writing on and the blank sheet you want to copy onto. The resulting identical copy is known as a ‘carbon copy’.

Carbonless NCR paper is the next evolution of carbon paper, with the dye ‘built in’ to the writing sheet itself so you can create carbon copies with no prior preparation. Simply write onto the top sheet and your writing will appear on the sheet beneath!

What is the NCR meaning?

In printing, NCR stands for No Carbon Required; since it enables you to create carbon copies without the need for a separate carbon paper sheet.

(It also stands for National Cash Register; the corporation that invented carbonless paper way back in 1953!)


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What are 2-part, 3-part, 4-part & 5-part NCR sets?

NCR paper sets are also known as ‘multipart stationery’. That’s because each set consists of multiple paper sheets or ‘parts’; stacked together and sealed lightly along one edge with padding glue.

Put simply, the part number simply refers to the number of individual sheets in each carbonless set; and the number of identical copies you’ll get when you write on them:

  • A 2-part NCR form features one top sheet & one counterpart sheet; enabling you to duplicate your writing across two sheets.
  • A 3-part NCR form features a top sheet & two counterpart sheets; so writing on the top sheet will triplicate your writing.
  • A 4-part NCR form features a top sheet & three counterpart sheets; quadruplicating anything you write on the top sheet.
  • And so on

What are writing shields / writing guards? Are they included with my order?

If you’re using an NCR pad or book, sometimes writing on the top page set can activate the dye backing on the sets underneath.

To prevent leaving unwanted marks on your pad/book pages, your order can be supplied with matching writing guards if you require them. These are supplied as loose cardstock sheets as standard.

Alternatively, you can choose to have your order supplied without writing shields if you prefer!

How can I customise my NCR order?

There’s plenty of ways to customise your carbonless paper order – here’s just a couple:

  • Pads/booklets/individual forms
  • Paper sizes
  • Pad/book page numbers
  • Paper stocks & colours
  • Full colour, monochrome & Pantone printing
  • Design variations & variable data printing
  • Drilled holes & perforated sections

Got a bespoke print specification in mind? Simply get in touch to discuss your project!

Need help with preparing your design?

Get in touch for expert advice and support today

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