The Lowdown on Continuous Copy Paper

Historical Background

Continuous Copy Paper was developed as a stationary in 1910 when it was produced to be used with autobiographic registers and later was adopted by tabulating machines. During the following years, it was developed to be used for checks and other documents when, finally, in the 1980s it became widely used because of the development of the microcomputers and the cheap dot-matrix printers. Today it has a wide range of uses and the fact that it is very cost-efficient just increases its popularity.

However, at a certain point in the past (around 1990s) it almost disappeared from use due to the fact that consumers paid more to get a laser or inkjet printer that could produce high-quality documents. As these printers accepted cut sheets in a standard size (letter, legal and A4) people tended to forget about the continuous copy paper.

Nowadays, it is still a preferable choice especially in companies where a long run of documents needs to be printed. In addition, it doesn’t cost much and it can be printed in duplicates, triplicates or even more copies. All of this makes it still relevant to consumers.

Shape and Form

The continuous copy paper is very distinguishable from the other paper stationary forms because it has got punched holes vertically on the sides. These holes engage with sprocket wheels on the tractor that move the paper through the printer. It also is known under the name tractor-feed paper and fan-fold paper and it can be single ply or multiply for more than two copies.

Types and Sizes

You can differentiate between a high grade of continuous copy paper that uses a heavy bond weight and a cheap grade of continuous copy paper that is pre-printed of light green lines horizontally across the sheet. The latter has a very lightweight bond and the perforations are almost invisible or non-existent.

The common sizes of the continuous copy paper are 241 mm x 279 mm and 381 mm x 279 mm as well as 210 x 297. There are Multipart forms which are usually carbonless, hence the name NCR Computer Paper (No Carbon Required).


The Continuous Copy paper can be used in every industry as invoices, statements, pay advice envelopes, weighbridge paper, real estate trust account receipts, transport consignment notes, temperature control paper, medical forms, cheques, packing slips, remittance advice and so on.

Printing Process

This paper stationary can be used in very fast printing systems even those that can print text with the incredible speed of 20,000 lpm (lines per minute). Then, a decollator is needed to separate the multipart continuous forms into separate one-part continuous forms and finally, a burster ends the process. A burster is a machine that separate one-part continuous forms into separate and individual sheets. It also bursts the perforation part of the form and hence the name of the machine – “the burster”.

Final Words

The continuous copy paper continues to be used in lots of companies across different industries. Its benefits are huge as they are inexpensive, cost-efficient and easy to use.  




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