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A Guide To Printing On Transparency | Printerland


Transparencies are clear sheets of film that can be printed on to create visual aids, overlays for documents, and pages that can be projected using an overhead projector.

There are lots of business uses for transparencies, but it can be daunting printing your first set, especially if you’re unsure whether you’ve got the right printer and consumables.

This post will cover how to master transparency printing, so you’ll soon be printing on acetate. If you’re considering buying a new printer and want to make sure you choose one that can print on transparency sheets, read on to discover the best printer for producing transparencies.

How to print transparencies

Step 1

Find transparencies that are suitable for your printer. For example, if you have a laser printer, use acetate sheets that are designed for laser printers.

Step 2

Most packs of transparency film will come with a cleaning sheet, which you should run through your printer to remove any loose toner or ink that could smear or blot on the transparencies you’re printing.

Step 3

Check how your printer feeds, and which way you will need to load the transparency film. The acetate should be loaded so that the rougher side is printed upon, rather than the smooth side. Also, be sure to only load one sheet of transparency paper at a time to prevent a printer jam. Even if your printer has a huge input tray, you don’t want to load too much specialist paper at once.

Step 4

Before printing from your computer, you’ll need to change the paper type to the transparency setting. This can usually be done in the printer settings under the option labelled ‘Media’ or ‘Paper Type’.

Step 5

Ensure your fonts are dark in colour – black, purple and red are OK, but other colours may not be as effective. Then, print the document as normal. The document will be perfect for using in overhead projection presentations or as an overlay for a report.

printed overhead projector slides

Best printers for transparencies

Xerox Phaser 3330DNi

The Xerox Phaser 3330DNi is an A4 mono laser printer and is a great choice for creating overhead projection acetates that will be best printed in black and white. Because of its versatile media handling capabilities, you’ll also be able to print on paper and cardstock.

Xerox Phaser 7500DN

This professional quality printer will create images with a resolution of up to 1200×1200 dpi. The Xerox Phaser 7500DN is ideal for printing large format (up to A3) transparencies for presentations or lessons. It’s also possible to create colour coded overlays with the printer’s full colour printing facility.

Xerox Phaser 7500

Transparent business cards

Along with using transparency film for presentation materials and overlays, you can also get creative and use them to create distinctive and unique business cards. A business card printed on transparency paper will stand out in peoples’ minds, and can be visually impactful if done well, too. You can even print multiple business cards at once onto a sheet of A4 transparency film and then cut them out with a guillotine for a straight edge.


Can you print transparencies under regular paper?

For many printers, you can print transparencies under the preference of regular paper. However, in some cases you will need to select “Specialty Paper”, and some printers even have a transparency setting.

How does transparency work?

The word ‘transparency’ means that something is see-through. When it comes to printing, it refers to pieces of film that can be printed on and will be partially see-through. It works just like any other form of printing does, where an image or text is transferred onto the film.

How can I avoid transparency problems?

It’s important to first check that your printer is capable of printing onto transparencies, and that you are using a compatible form of transparency. From there, be sure to set your preference to the most appropriate medium to avoid any smears or misprints.

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