Make-up of documents and forms
The term ‘make-up’ includes the physical arrangement of the parts or copies which comprise one form, and the way in which a number of forms are made up into ‘packs’ or books.
Multi-part forms consist of several separate sheets; these may be folded sheets, sheets of different size, with or without perforations and punched holes, and may be joined and held together by folding, stapling, gumming, or stitching according to the requirements for making entries at different stages, and the need for accurate registration for each entry (see Section entitled ‘Registration of entries by carbon’).
If entries are to be made by typewriter, stapling cannot be conveniently used and it may be worthwhile to gum sets of forms at the top so that corrections by erasing may be made without removing the form from the machine.
Padded forms are gummed along one edge and this edge may also be taped to give it greater strength; plasticised edging is an economical alternative method of padding.
Points to be noted are:
- Any of the four edges of the pad can be used as the gummed or plasticised edge.
- If the pad is used for hand entries, the corners of the forms are less likely to become dog-eared if the padded edge is at the bottom of the forms.
- A backing board may be necessary to obtain a firm writing surface, for hand entries, throughout the life of the pad.
- Forms are held in moderately good registration for entries to be made on more than one copy with carbon paper.
- No binding margin is required for the padding itself although, of course, the form may include space for a binding margin for other purposes.
- Padding is a convenient method of keeping unused forms in good condition, even if they are detached before entries are made.
Bound books of forms (stapled or sewn) can provide copies to be detached and distributed and a ‘fixed’ leaf for carbon copies of the forms to be left in the book. Indexing pages can be provided or pages can be cut away at the edges to make an index, so that line or column headings on one form can be read against a number of forms.
Points to note are:
- Perforations enable forms to be detached when the book or pad is stapled or sewn.
- A binding margin is necessary on all forms.
- The writing surface may curve near the binding margin.
- When the fixed leaves are used to take a carbon copy of the entries, they need not be printed if the entries are intelligible without captions; both sides of the fixed leaf can be used (so saving paper) by adopting one of the following two arrangements—the book can be used first from front to back, and then turned over and used from back to front; or the book can be used from front to back only and entries made alternately on the right and left hand pages of an opening. (Two removable sheets and a fixed sheet for opening.)
- Registration of copies is moderately good.
Punched holes may be needed for filing, sorting, selecting, or signalling purposes. Various kinds of slotted holes can be made to enable documents to be inserted or withdrawn from a binder or file unit etc. without removing other documents. (The strength of the material must be determined in the light of the frequency of removal from the binder.) When forms are to be produced on office duplicators, holes should be punched after duplicating.
Perforations of two distinct kinds can be obtained. Machine perforation is undertaken separately, after printing. The perforation may be slots or round holes in various sizes. Alternatively, the form may be perforated at press. In this case the perforating forms part of the printing process. It is less costly than machine perforation. It is preferable to explain to H.M. Stationery Office what requirements the perforation must meet, since the style used may depend on production facilities.
If a choice is possible in the layout of forms with perforations they should be arranged so that the tear-off portion of the document is along the shortest dimensions as this will help to speed up separation.
When it is especially necessary to minimise the risk that a perforation may be torn accidentally, it should end about 3″ from the edges of the forms, but this requirement should not be specified unless it is essential.
Scoring consists of making a crease in the paper to assist folding. Normally, scoring can be avoided (except on thick cards) by printing folding marks.
Printing on both sides of the form economises paper. However, if there is a constant reference to instructions on the back of the form when completing entries on the front it may be undesirable because it is inconvenient for the user and causes errors and slows down completion of the form. When forms are printed on both sides, any information on the document which may be referred to after filing should not be placed in an awkward position for reference. The need to refer to both sides of a document during sorting should be avoided.
The printing can be arranged in two ways—head-to-head, i.e. the printing is the same way up when the form is turned over from side to side; or head-to-foot (known as ‘tumbler’ printing), i.e. printed upside down on the back. ‘Tumbler’ printing is generally advantageous when totals have to be carried forward from one side of the form to a grand total on the other side, or when a figure entry on one side of the form can be copied from the other side by turning or lifting the edge of the form; for some jobs ‘tumbler’ printing may be the natural method of handling or turning the documents. It is useful when forms are held vertically in a tray or bound at top or bottom.
Rounded corners instead of square corners help to keep the forms in better condition when exceptional conditions make this rather expensive refinement desirable. Rounded corners should be avoided for small index cards as they slow down the fingering operations in searching for and selecting cards.
Cut corners may also be an advantage, e.g. the bottom right hand corner can be cut diagonally so that carbon papers protrude from the forms to enable them to be withdrawn simultaneously by gripping and pulling the visible corners of the carbon paper. The top right hand corner of a card may be cut diagonally to facilitate the detection of a card missorted or wrongly filed.
Forms made up as continuous stationery are in common use on many types of machines; indeed they may be essential to gain the maximum advantage from mechanisation. They facilitate a continuous and rapid output from the machine: they also save time by reducing the work involved in interleaving and extracting carbon paper. Semi-continuous stationery in strips or perforated sheets like postage stamps may also facilitate the handling of small documents such as receipts or gummed labels.
Single sheets, multi-part sets, labels and envelopes etc. are joined end to end, usually with perforations between each form. The make-up of copies, and the number of forms in each pack, can be suited to the requirements of the job, e.g. in 10s or 50s, in flat strips of a few forms with and without carbon paper, in rolls, or in concertina folds between each set of forms.
Continuous stationery facilitates the rapid feeding of forms into manifold registers, typewriters, accounting machines, and addressing equipment, since the next form can be pulled through to the printing position before the previous form is torn off. Another advantage is that one or more copies of the form can be retained in a continuous strip, which may make the storage of such copies more secure, as well as preserving them in the order of making out.
Strips of continuous forms can be designed for use with an ordinary typewriter and carbon paper. Reels of documents can also be used with a standard typewriter but continuous stationery typewriters and continuous stationery attachments for standard typewriters are used for the preparation of sets of forms with several carbon copies. With this kind of equipment carbon paper can be interleaved and retracted into the sets of forms automatically, and the forms making up the set are fed to the typing position in accurate alignment.
Manifold registers are designed to use interfold or roll type continuous stationery. This stationery may be interleaved with one-time carbon paper or may pass between sheets of carbon paper at the writing position. The maximum number of forms in one set for use in a register is normally six. With some registers a security copy of the form can be retained in a locked compartment.
Except for forms in short strips of say 2 or 3 feet, most types of continuous forms must be printed on reels of paper on rotary presses, a method which is only econonomical for long runs (say 50,000 forms or more). Printing from rotary presses restricts the depth of the forms, but varying widths of parts can be provided so that data can be omitted from some copies, or to suit the filing equipment etc.
When continuous forms are printed from one reel of paper, all the parts in a set are the same quality of paper. Sets of forms made up in strips can be printed on different grades of paper, e.g. thin paper for the top copy to facilitate carbon copying on an under copy of more durable paper retained for reference.
Apart from the simpler kinds of strips of forms or perforated sheets of labels, production facilities for continuous stationery are limited and it is advisable to consult H.M. Stationery Office at an early stage.
Continuous stationery usually costs more than separate forms or padded stationery. The additional costs must be justified by the procedural savings made.