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What are Microperforations?

By S. Mithra
Updated May 17, 2024
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Paper products, such as receipt booklets and notebooks, are equipped with microperforations that allow easy folding and tearing. Microperforations are a series of tiny holes punched in a piece of paper or cardstock that weakens the paper along a line. Fewer holes score the paper, allowing straight folds. Densely arranged holes, even one hundred per inch, give a clean tear.

Paper perforation has been around for a long time, helping people to rip out checks from a book or to keep the yellow copy of a triplicate form. In the past, these perforations were rough, frequently resulting in uneven, diagonal tears with jagged or notched edges. Not only are the results unsightly, but the document might get destroyed in the process. Microperforations make these standard business applications easier, neater, and safer.

One innovation using microperforations is inkjet printer paper for digital photographs. With ordinary paper, photographs or pictures have an unattractive white border. If you attempt to trim this border, you may have trouble keeping a straight edge. Special photography paper, designed to work with standard print sizes and software, inks the image slightly larger than the microperforated field to create a "bleed" or an image that runs off the edge of a page. When you punch out your photograph, it has been printed right to the border, more like a lab print. There are microperforated specialty paper sizes for portraits, landscapes, and panoramas.

Small, home businesses benefit from office supplies with microperforations. For instance, they can easily print up personalized, color business cards. Standard, letter-size, heavyweight cardstock fits 10 business cards per page. Business cards are designed and printed out in sets. Then, the cards are precisely separated along microperforated lines, saving time and money over a professional printing job.

Hobbyists enjoy microperforations on craft products. For example, there are greeting and note cards that allow a designer to use computer software to create customized cards. You choose the front image and write the inside message with your own pictures, fonts, and colors. The page's dimensions and layout on the screen matches those of the special paper. Once printed out on both sides, the card can be removed along microperforated lines from the surrounding paper. Other microperforations down the center of the card make it easy to fold in half. This kind of stationery often comes with envelopes and mailing labels to make it simple to send a graduation announcement or a birthday greeting.

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Discussion Comments
By cristymariel — On Apr 14, 2008

Is there a machine or printer that does these microperforations? Im interested in designing my own invitations and using micro-perforations to tear them instead of cutting them. How can i do this?

By anon1284 — On May 23, 2007

How are microperforations created?

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