Perforation Explained

The term perforation is used to describe a series of holes applied to paper enabling a section to  be easily torn off without damaging the rest of the sheet.
Adding perforations (commonly referred to as perf lines) avoids the user having use  scissors and adds to the convenience, e.g, a voucher book can be carried in a wallet and used in a shop one voucher at a time.
Perforations are applied either using a perfing wheel or a die cutting process which stamps the perforated lines into the paper.
The method used will largely depend on the number of perfs being added and the quantity of the run.
Although the primary use of perforations is to create a tear off section, they can also be used to replace the scoring process, allowing thicker materials or multi folded sheets to lie flatter.

perforation on a bottle neck hanger

Things to consider


When supplying artwork please show the perf lines as a series of dashes in a spot colour (most commonly magenta). These lines will be removed from the artwork before printing takes place.

Consider the paper weight

Perforation isn’t recommended for paper weights of less than 135gsm for leaflets and booklets

Consider how many perfs you’ll need

The basic perforation has just one line to create a single tear off sheet but this can be increased to several lines either vertically or horizontally. You might want to create tear off boxes by having your perfs running both vertically and horizontally or you may need your perfed line to be in the shape of an ‘L’ or ‘T’.

perforated leaflet pullout

Tear out return form

Standard perfing vs microperfing

The holes which have been cut into the paper will cause a serrated edge to be left behind once the tear off section has been removed.
This is fine for most items, e.g tickets, vouchers etc but sometime a neater edge will be desirable.
In this instance microperfing is the answer.
As its name suggests microperfing uses much smaller holes to create a perforation which is just as strong but leaves behind a neater torn off line.

Using perforations on a glued pad

Perforations are commonly added to pads where a page is torn out, e.g. with NCR printing where the top copy of a receipt is given to a customer.
The glue which is applied to hold the sheets in the pad won’t be strong enough to withstand the continued removal of the perforated sheets so additional staples will need to be added to strengthen the binding which are commonly hidden by self adhesive binding tape.
You will also need to remember to leave room for the binding so a recommended position for the perf line from the edge of the pad is at least 20mm.

Common uses for perforations

tear off lid

Perforated tear off lid

  • NCR sets
  • Vouchers
  • Raffle Tickets
  • Brochures
  • Swing tags
  • Invitations
  • Calendar
  • Packaging
  • Bottle neck hangers
  • Desk Pads
  • Folded leaflets
  • Flyers
  • Parking permits
  • Door Hangers
  • Key card holders

If you have any questions about adding perforations on your print then call us on 023 8087 8037 or email us here.

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