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Your paper selection is an important part of your printed project.  Selecting paper can very often be a confusing process.  Hopefully we can help clear up some of the confusion.

Finish: The finish of a paper is the texture of the surface.

  • Smooth – A smooth uncoated surface.
  • Linen – A paper that has textured lines on the surface of the sheet,.
  • Laser – A paper that is guaranteed to be compatible with laser printers.
  • Coated – A paper with a waxy finish (shiny or matte).
  • Uncoated – A paper with an untreated surface that is dull and unreflective.
  • Coated One Side (C1S) – A cover stock that has a coating on one side and is dull on the reverse side.
  • Coated Two Sides (C2S) – A cover stock that has a coating on both sides.

Weight: Refers  to the weight of 500 parent sheets measured in pounds, It is important to note that the “parent sheet size” is not the same for all types of paper.

Caliper: Refers to the thickness of a sheet of paper expressed in thousandth of an inch.

Brightness: The brightness of a sheet of paper measures the percentage of a wavelength of blue light it reflects. The brightness of a piece of paper is typically expressed on a scale of 1 to 100 with 100 being the brightest.

Types of Paper

Offset/Text: Can have a coated or uncoated finish. Offset paper is thinner and lightweight. It is often used for publication interior sheets, brochures & flyers, and letterheads. Common offset weights: 50#, 60#, 70#, 80#, 100#. Bond: Bond or writing papers are most often used for letterhead. The most commonly recognized bond or writing stocks are:

  • 20# – A standard weight paper.
  • 24# – The preferred weight for most business papers (letterheads).
  • 28# – Heavier paper, less frequently used.


Cover: Cover stocks are heavy in weight, rigid. Generally used for business cards  and postcards. They can be coated or uncoated. Common weights are:  80#, 100#, 120#..

Tag: Tag paper is a dense  paper that is s durable, and water resistant.

Index: Index paper is a stiff, not too thick, inexpensive paper with a smooth finish. It is often used for index cards and folders.