Security Paper Printing Knowledge
Security Paper

Security papers can add security features to your document that are both visible and invisible features. Most security papers will contain several of the features described below.

Safety Paper

Safety paper is a security paper that generally is a colored stock that has a pattern printed on it in a color slightly darker than the paper itself. The pattern is printed on the paper by the paper manufacturer. It is printed on the front and back of the paper. Safety paper cannot be duplicated by copiers or scanners and it will show evidence of chemical or physical attempts to alter the information on the document. Also, the paper will generally include some of the features shown below, such as being chemical reactive, containing chemical voids and a watermark printed on the back.


Chemical Reactive Paper

In forgery attempts, a bleach or solvent is sometimes used to wash the ink from the surface of the document. The data is then altered in that  area on the document. When the paper contains the chemical reactive features, it will turn brown, blue or black when bleach or solvents are used on it. Any attempts to altering the document become easily detected. Chemical reactive paper would not be a deterrent for duplicating the document by scanning or copying since this is not a visible feature. It should be used along with other security features.

Chemical Void

A message is printed on the paper in an invisible chemical reactive ink that usually reads "Void" or "Stop". When an attempt is made to wash off the ink on a document by using bleach or solvents, the message appears, making it clear that an attempt is being made to alter the document. On some security papers, this invisible message is printed in multiple languages. As with the chemical reactive features, this feature does not prevent duplication of this form by scanning or copying.

Toner Fuse

When a document has been created or imprinted on a laser printer, there needs to be adequate adhesion of the toner to the paper. If not, the counterfeiter can lift the image off the paper with transparent tape or they can remove the image by scraping it off. Toner fuse is a treatment that is added to the surface of the paper to promote better toner adhesion so the image cannot be lifted from the surface of the paper. The sample below shows how the image can be lifted when the paper is not toner fuse treated.


 Visible Security Fibers

Visible fibers are added to the paper when it is manufactured. They are placed randomly on the paper, on both the front and back side. They can be different colors, densities and lengths. The fibers can be easily seen without the use of any special equipment. If a counterfeiter made several color copies of a document which contained these fibers, it could be detected because the fibers would be in the same position on each sheet rather than placed randomly from sheet to sheet. Also, document authenticity could be checked by tearing the document and checking the tear for the visible fibers, which wouldn't be present on a copied document.


Invisible Fluorescent Fibers

Invisible fluorescent fibers are added to the paper in manufacturing. The fibers are invisible under normal viewing conditions but a document containing them can be checked for authenticity by viewing the document under an ultraviolet (black) light. The invisible fluorescent fibers would be very difficult to replicate.


There are a couple of different types of watermarks that are used on paper as security features. They are true watermarks and artificial watermarks. A true watermark is produced at the time the paper is being manufactured. It is visible from both sides of the paper and cannot be copied or scanned. Artificial watermarks are applied after the paper has been manufactured. They can be applied by the paper manufacturer or by the forms manufacturer. Click here to see more information on watermarks.


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