How to Print on Acetate Sheets

By Karren Doll Tolliver

Updated January 18, 2018

i Adrián González de la Peña/Demand Media

You can make your own transparencies using your printer and acetate sheets at home. Otherwise known as transparencies, acetate sheets are useful for presentations in classrooms and other types of instructional environments. Teachers and speakers can use overhead projectors to display the transparencies so that a large group can see them. Text and graphics can print on acetate sheets either with photocopiers or with laser and inkjet printers. Office supply stores carry several brands of acetate sheets in various sizes so you can find one to fit your needs.

Items you will need

  • Computer

  • Printer

  • Acetate sheets

  • Printer manual

i Adrián González de la Peña/Demand Media

Boot up your computer and turn on your printer. Make sure the printer is connected to the computer. Open the graphic or text file you wish to print on the acetate sheet and edit it if you need to.

i Adrián González de la Peña/Demand Media

Open the package of acetate sheets and read the directions enclosed with it. The directions will specify the correct printer settings such as “photo quality” or “draft” for the particular brand of acetate you have.

i Adrián González de la Peña/Demand Media

Open the printer properties application on the computer and adjust the settings to those recommended by the directions accompanying the acetate sheets. Save the settings.

i Adrián González de la Peña/Demand Media

Place an acetate sheet in the printer feeder. Make sure the coated, or rough, side of the paper will face the print head in the printer. The exact position of the acetate sheet depends entirely on the printer you have. Consult the printer manual if you have a question about this.

i Adrián González de la Peña/Demand Media

Print the file. When the acetate sheet comes out of the printer, do not touch the printed image. Handle it by the edges and place it printed-side-up on a flat surface until the ink dries. Do not leave it in the output tray of the printer if you are printing subsequent pages.


Make sure you buy acetate sheets for your kind of printer. For example, if you have an inkjet printer, buy inkjet acetate sheets.