Can I Use Copy Transparencies in a Laser Printer?

Written by kaia liamson
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Laser printers use heat to affix black or coloured toner to paper and other materials. This method of printing is faster and more cost-effective than traditional ink printing, but it does place some limitations on the types of documents that you can print. For example, traditional transparency film can be printed on inkjet printers, but the film is not made to withstand the heat of a laser printer. Only film created specifically for laser printers is safe to use; other types will damage the laser printer.

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Regular Transparency Film

Regular transparency film is made of plastic that isn't meant to withstand high temperatures. While this type of film works fine in inkjet printers and some copiers, using it in a laser printer is a bad idea. When such film goes through a laser printer, the heat used to affix the printer toner will actually melt the transparency film, causing extensive (and expensive) damage to the printer.

Laser Printer Transparency Film

3M, HP and other manufacturers produce transparency film that is capable of withstanding the high heat used in laser printers. This transparency film is usually marketed as "laser printer transparency film," so it should be easy to distinguish from traditional film. You can order this type of film from many online retailers, or you can find it at an office supply store like OfficeMax or Office Depot.

Multipurpose Film

If you'd like to purchase transparency film that can be used in any type of printer, multipurpose film is available. This type of transparency film is more expensive -- as of the date of publication, traditional or laser-specific film costs around £19, while multipurpose film costs closer to £32 -- but it can be used in inkjet printers, copiers or laserjet printers without risk of damaging the equipment.

Alternatives to Transparency Film

Although transparency film is still used in classroom, meetings and other situations, it isn't the only way to display a document to several people at once. Many classrooms and conference rooms are now equipped with digital projectors, so you can connect your computer directly to the projector and display whatever's on your screen. You can also use handheld projectors to display images and documents to small groups, and larger portable projectors in large-group presentations.

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