Carbon Paper for prrofing and other shortcuts(?)

I know that this shortcut is one that the more experienced among us has known for years, but I have not seen it on BP and as a beginner, I found it very useful when it was just shown to me. You can proof a form by placing carbon paper between the form and the paper you want to print on. It gives at least a clear enough image to proof and no inking up the disc. This might be simple, but it sure is a time saver.

With that in mind, do the more experienced among us have other suggestions along these lines - general tips that beginners might find useful? Thanks, Neil

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This is a great way to proof metal type for typos and a general impression of the typography/design. They don’t work so great with photopolymer plates though but then with a computer printout/film negative, not really necessary.

The “paper and pen” variety is the carbon paper you want as it responds well to impression.


It can help if you add a sheet beneath your tympan
packing on a press with a light colour sheet beneath so as to see the impression or lack thereof . like above it can get you part way to print ready without the need to print on the tympan itself , once you are happy remove the job stock out of your packing ,ink up and feed your sheet of jobstock so as to show the need for the last few tweaks. this is particularly useful if you are printing from toned blocks that often need the dark areas of the image given a touch more weight or pressure than the lighter areas require .

YES!!!!!!!! I have been using carbon paper to proof my forms for three-and-a-half decades!!!!!! Gerald is dead-on correct about the particular type of carbon paper you use. The “paper and pen” (or is it “pencil and pen”?) variety is light-years better than all the others. It will give a great impression AND is reusable again and again until it finally craps out on you. Almost all the other varieties make a lesser image to begin with and almost always cannot be reused over and over.


Yeah, late night error. It is “pencil and pen,” or “pen and pencil.”


I believe vandercook mentioned this in their “Minimum makeready system” as a way to check the trueness/flatness of both the cylinder on the press, and the base to which plates were meant to be mounted. Somewhere I have the catalogue that outlines the procedure, I’ll see if I can find the pics of it.

For clarification is the “paper and pen” stuff marked as such on the package? Thanks for all the good feedback. Neil

I also use carbon paper for quick proofs. It takes a lot of ink to ink up the old Vandercook, and carbon paper will give me a useable galley proof withotu going through the inking and cleanup of the press.

Carbon paper is also great for doing makeready on cutting dies where youwould not want to use rollers, but need an image for patching the makeready on a sheet for mounting under the cutting plate.

I purchased a good size box of carbon paper from an old printing/office supply store auction.

A quick search found this material which seems like it is what is being described:

John Henry

John and all -

The Nu-Kote carbon paper is EXACTLY what I have been using for decades. I originally bought A LOT so the packaging has been updated since I got my last batch maybe 25 years ago!!!!!!