The paper used in printers. It is one type of data medium and is available in a number of forms.
Continuous stationery consists of an unbroken length of paper that has transverse perforations dividing the length into identical sheets. The perforations allow the paper to be provided in fanfold form and to be easily separated into shorter lengths or single sheets after printing a job. There are sprocket holes at ½″ pitch, ¼″ from both edges, by which the stationery is driven accurately through a printer by a tractor or pin-wheel mechanism. Continuous stationery may be up to 20″ wide and may have additional transverse or longitudinal perforations to enable the sheets to be separated into smaller forms.
Roll stationery is provided in roll form for applications where ease of filing the printout is not important. It is commonly friction-fed through the printer, but some rolls have sprocket holes as on continuous stationery. Printers that use roll stationery usually have a tear-off facility. Rolls may be typically 2″–3″ wide as used on point of sale terminals, or 8″–10″ as used on other printers.
Single-sheet stationery consists of a pack of identical separate sheets that may be fed manually into a printer, or may be loaded as a pack into a printer attachment – a cut-sheet feed – designed to feed them automatically one sheet at a time.
Single-part stationery has only one layer of paper passing through the printer. Multipart stationery consists of two or more layers of paper crimped together to pass through the printer so that multiple simultaneous copies of printout can be obtained on an impact printer. The papers may be interleaved with carbon to form the copies, or NCR (no carbon required) paper may be used. NCR paper has a coated surface that under pressure releases ink locally. Multipart stationery can be in continuous, roll, or single-sheet form.
Label stationery consists of a suitable backing in continuous single-part form on which are mounted self-adhesive labels. These are used to print addresses, for example, the labels being subsequently removed from the backing and applied to envelopes.
Stationery is provided in a number of special forms, e.g. carrier stationery, which has custom-designed forms or envelopes mounted onto a backing, which in turn may be single-sheet or continuous form. Stationery can also be preprinted according to the needs of the user.
Stationery specifications consist of two main parts. There is the specification of the paper, which states the characteristics required of the paper in order to withstand the stresses of the types of printer for which it is intended and to give the required printing performance; such characteristics include strength, thickness, porosity, smoothness, density, and material content. A coating may also have to be defined for use with certain printer types, e.g. thermal printers. There is also the specification of the conversion requirements, which state what form the finished stationery must take, including dimensions, preprinting, and any special requirements. Stationery is subject to international standards.