The absorption coefficient of the surface of a workpiece is of importance in laser treatment, particularly in the treatment where the temperature of an element must be strictly controlled. Laser surface treatment (such as hardening, metallic glazing) and laser forming can be primarily included in this type of technology. In another case, surface temperature must be precisely controlled, especially if structural changes are to be avoided. There are a number of ways to increase the absorption coefficient of the surface of an element. Since the laser forming is the research subject of the authors of the presented paper, it was necessary to determine the absorption coefficient for the different surfaces preparation of workpieces. Raw surface, oxidized surface, sandblasted surface, black enamel covered surface and waterglass covered surface were examined, respectively. The experiment was performed using a CO2 laser with a head for a surface treatment which generates a rectangular beam of dimensions 2x20 mm, and the samples were made of X5CrNi18-10 stainless steel.