Types of Paper for W-2s
W-2 Preprinted Laser Forms: These forms are for laser and inkjet printers and have the boxes and government information preprinted on the front, and employee instructions printed on the back. Your software prints the employee data.
You must print each employee and employer Copy separately (typically each Copy as a batch). There are many layouts for these forms. See below to learn about Traditional and Condensed W-2 forms. Shop for preprinted W-2 Forms >
W-2 Blank Laser Paper: These forms are for laser and inkjet printers too, and are blank on the front with some offering employee instructions printed on the back. Your software prints the boxes, government data and employee data.
You must print each employee and employer Copy separately (typically each Copy as a batch). There are many layouts for these forms. See below to learn about Traditional and Condensed W-2 forms. Shop for W-2 Blank Paper >
W-2 Continuous Forms: These forms are for typewriters or pin-fed printers. They are typically made of carbonless paper with all employee and employer copies stacked on top of each other.
Side tabs hold them together until you’re done printing. Then they can be separated and mailed as needed.
There are many layouts to these forms for specialized software and printing applications.
W-2 Pressure Seal Forms: These forms are for specialized pressure seal equipment and high-speed printers. They are available in preprinted and blank formats for the employee copies.
You print the form and/or data, along with the mailing address. A machine folds it and then uses pressure to seal the glue points on the edges, making it ready for mailing. Shop for W-2 Pressure Seal Forms >
Layout of Data
Traditional W-2 Forms: These forms are the IRS/SSA standard, 2-per-page forms, with the same copy on the top and bottom. They are compatible with most software systems. You print 2 different employees on each page, then separate and collate for mailing. Shop for W-2 Traditional Forms >
W-2 Copy A forms must be in the Traditional Format, although they can be printed on blank paper with black ink). W-2 Copy 1/D for the employer file and state/city copies are also in the traditional format.
Condensed W-2 Forms: These forms combine different W-2 Copies on the same page, all for the same employee. W-2 Copies B, C, 2 can all appear on the same page, depending on how many parts you need to file.
For a 4-part form, use a Condensed 2up Copy B/2 (federal/file)
For a 6-part form, use a Condensed 3up Copy B/C/2 (federal/state/file)
For an 8-part form, use a Condensed 4up Copies B/C/C/2 (federal/state/city/file)
If you use software to print W-2 Forms, you need to make sure you have the right type of paper, and the right layout of the form.
If you don’t, the data won’t align in the boxes (for preprinted forms), or the form won’t fit on the page right (for blank forms). Shop for Software Compatible W-2 Forms >