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Pushing the Envelope Beyond Ordinary

How to Order Business Forms (or any printed form) and Get What You Want

Posted by Jerry Velona on Feb 11, 2019 12:17:30 PM

In our last post, we described some of the common error people make when ordering business forms. All printing companies and envelope companies will encounter these situations from time to time.  Mostly it’s the result of someone who has been thrust into the role of purchasing something that they are not completely familiar with.  This has happened more and more over the years as companies have downsized and forced staff to do more things. As I mentioned previously, printing has its own unique set of terms and certain procedures which are commonly used to get the best result.

When a customer is trying to place an order and doesn’t provide the proper information, it requires a lot of back and forth with the vendor. This will slow down the process and sometimes can be frustrating for both parties.  So, to avoid all this, here are some things to keep in mind when ordering or seeking a price quote:


This is one of the trickiest things when ordering something more than just a simple printed sheet. Especially for business forms with multi parts and other complicated construction aspects, this is crucial in order to get the form done properly.

Pinfeed liner forms and consecutive numberingSnap sets (multi part forms with a tab separated by a perforation that gets discarded) or edge glued forms are measured across the stub/tab or glued edge first then by the length, including the size of the stub, Ex 8 ½ x 11 ¾ including a ¾ top stub will yield an 8 ½ x 11 when the stub is removed or separate the edge glue. 

Continuous forms: measure top to bottom first then left to right including the marginal/tractor pin-feeds. EG: 9 ½ x 11 including a ½” left and right will yield an 8 ½ x 11 once the pin-feed side tabs are removed.

The following are more general in nature and would apply to ordering any kind of printed form or printed envelope.

  • Ink colors: All printers use a what’s called the PMS match system for ink colors.  Each color has a number and a specific formula to produce that exact color. Specifying the job as “prints in blue” will not give us the correct PMS color your customer is looking for. If the form has been printed previously, it was matched to a specific number. This needs to be provided in order to get exactly what you want.  If it’s not available, a sample can be provided to the vendor and he will try to match it as best as possible to a PMS color.   
  • Files: Electronic files must be print ready with high resolution. Sending a document in Microsoft Word or other document file will cause the contents of the file to change from one computer to the next and are not acceptable except as a starting point. Final artwork is best sent as a PDF file.  
  • Lead time:  Many customers will not understand that making a custom printed form or printed envelope requires some time.  Companies will have a production schedule and new orders are entered and given a place in the queue.  It’s very helpful to know what the expectations are for delivery at the time the quote is submitted.   If it’s a form that or your customer is using regularly, try to get a feel for how long the supply will last and check in with them a month or so before to allow plenty of time to order a new supply.

We’d love to hear about your experiences in ordering print.

Topics: business forms, printed forms

The Most Common Mistakes when Ordering Business Forms

Posted by Jerry Velona on Jan 9, 2019 11:08:45 AM

Printed forms can be tricky to order.  Like most other custom-made products, there is a set of terms and certain procedures that producers follow to make the forms properly to spec. Knowing how to speak the language of printers and business forms manufacturers can be very helpful to those who are charged with purchasing. Here are a few of the most common mistakes we see in our business and how to avoid them.  These are not listed in any order. And some are specific to forms while some are generally applicable to any kind of print buying for forms; cut sheets, envelopes, etc.

  • Not Measuring Properly – Aside from the fact that some adults seem unable to use a ruler properly (don’t get me started!), there are specific ways to measure different forms. For example, a multi-part form with a perforated tab (see picture below) needs to be measured both with and without the tab included. multipart carbon form with tab So, for instance, if you have a 3-part form where the finished pages will be 8 ½ x 11 inches with a top tab measuring ½”, you need to provide both dimensions to the vendor.  The total size will be 8 ½ x 11 ½ inches including the tab.  So, make sure to specify both the total size and the finished size (after it’s torn off the tab) of 8 ½ x 11.  This also applies to continuous pin-feed forms like those pictured just below. In general, you can never make things too clear or too obvious!


  • Not Figuring the Quantity Correctly – You might think this one is obvious, but not in every case. For instance, if you are ordering forms that are bound inside of a cover (also referred to as a “book”), you need to specify how many total forms you want and the number of parts per form.  You also need to specify the number of forms per book.  If you were to just order, say, ”50 books” it leaves a lot open to interpretation.  Did someone say you can never make things too clear or too obvious? 😊

 Pinfeed liner forms

  • Not Accounting for “Overs/Unders” – This comes up quite a bit and is a sore spot with some customers. Anytime a custom order is made and printed, there are likely to be extras produced.  This has to do with the waste involved in the process and the need to plan for that in order to “make count” i.e. fulfill the quantity ordered.   You can find a more detailed explanation here.

Most vendors will specify at the quoting stage the percentage of overs/unders that are customary for a job.  A buyer needs to be aware that this might be a possibility and plan accordingly especially if they are a reseller.  If no overs or unders are acceptable, the buyer needs to specify that at the quoting stage and the price will take that into account.


To be continued on the next post.   In the meantime, stay clear and obvious!

Topics: business forms, printed forms

Yet Another Blog Post

From Jerry Velona - co-owner,

Elite Envelope & Graphics, Inc.

Jerry offers pertinent, often useful information on envelope converting and printing, web printing, direct mail, the post office, songs that have to do with mail and letters, digital overload and much more!

(Non-spam) Comments always appreciated.  Spread it around!


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