How to Make a Transparency on a Copier

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Andres Arango/Demand Media

Transparency film offers a see-through canvas on which to create presentation slides for overhead projection, layered exhibits for handouts and instructional materials, and many other forms of output that benefit from printing and copying on a clear surface. When you use your copier to create projectable versions of existing documents, take the time to choose, handle and implement transparency sheets with their special properties in mind. To avoid wasting your investment in supplies, save the transparency sheets for your final output.

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Andres Arango/Demand Media

Read your copier's specifications and user guide to verify the type of transparency film it accepts. Manufacturers offer film sheets designed for various types of devices, including inkjet and laser printers as well as copiers, each product is optimized for a specific output method.

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Andres Arango/Demand Media

Remove the stack of paper from the copier's input tray before you load transparency film. The mismatch between the smooth surface of the plastic film and the rougher surface of copier paper can lead to misfeeds that waste media.

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Andres Arango/Demand Media

Load transparency film sheets into the tray. Read the transparency product box for instructions on which side of the sheets to image. Most of these media print optimally on only one side.

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Andres Arango/Demand Media

Lift the copier lid and place your original on the glass or insert the master page into the machine's automatic document feeder. Select the applicable number of copies and start the output process.

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Andres Arango/Demand Media

Remove your finished transparencies from the copier's output tray. Store them in a box that's sized to their dimensions.

Tips

  • If your copier also functions as a networked printer, create the content for your transparencies in your favorite word processing, spreadsheet, presentation or page-layout application and target the machine like any other output device.

    When you create multi-page presentations on transparency film, print a second copy on paper and store the result with the two types of media interleaved. This process provides a handy reference to the content of each presentation slide and helps keep sheets from sticking together.

    Transparency frames make these sheets easier to handle and help protect their edges from damage. These lightweight card-stock frames cut down on the flexing and sliding that can make bare media difficult to handle, and provide a place to number presentation pages or add notes about their content.

    Keep your hands clean and dry when you handle transparency film to avoid finger-marking or moistening them.

Warnings

  • Use the wrong type of transparency media and the sheets may melt inside the copier. Transparencies produced for inkjet printers feature a surface designed to accept ink and allow it to dry, not to survive the heat of fusing equipment inside a toner-based output device.

    Don't keep transparency film in your copier unless you print on these sheets every day and dedicate an input tray specifically to these sheets. They can curl or warp through prolonged exposure to the byproduct heat inside the machine.