Paper types

Types of Printer Paper

There are various types of paper available created for different purposes. It is important therefore to make sure you choose the right kind of paper. Choosing the right kind of paper can: make colours brighter and black text  stand out more.  This all adds up to creating the overall impact on the person reading it. Knowing which type of paper is appropriate for which kind of print jobs can make it easier to select the right paper.

Matte Paper

Matte paper is good for producing a quality non glare print. As Matt paper is unlikely to be susceptible to finger marks it is an excellent choice for products which will be handled frequently.

Glossy Paper

Glossy paper is frequently utilised for products such as flyers and posters  because the paper produces sharp and vibrant print. Glossy paper absorbs the ink to create beautiful pictures,  however, it is easy to smudge the paper with fingerprints. Therefore it is important to handle the newly printed item gently until it has dried completely. Glossy paper can  get stuck to pages that lie against the printed side, so it is advisable to avoid using it in situations where that may happen, such as in scrapbooks.


Photo Paper

Photo paper is specifically designed just for photographs. Photo paper has a glossy finish and it also allows the ink to dry quickly which produces striking images.

Bright White Paper

Bright white paper is designed to be printed on both sides. The non-textured surfaces allows the user to print on both sides without any degradation of the quality of the print. Due to its brightness black text, as well as other colours are made to stand out on the page.

Resume Paper

Resume paper is heavier and more expensive looking than plain white paper. It usually comes in a cream, ivory or off-white colour. Therefore, resume paper is the perfect choice for when you want a document, resume, or important form that looks impressive and professional.

Card Stock

Card stock is a heavy and sturdy paper. Therefore it an be used as printer paper as well as for everyday use. Due to how heavy it is, card stock goes through the printer at a slower rate than regular printer paper. Therefore card stock is usually only used for things such as signage and postcards.

Printer Paper Specific to Certain Printers

There are certain types of paper that are made for specific kinds of printers. There is specialised paper for solid ink printers and printers that take rolled up paper. However the two of most well known types of printer paper include the following:

Inkjet Paper

Inkjet paper is specifically made for inkjet printers. Examples of the type of paper which you would use in an inkjet printer are: photo paper, glossy paper, business card paper, and greeting card paper.

Laser Paper

Laser printers also has its own set of paper called laser paper. Laser paper is generally used if printing checks, mailing labels, or address labels as there are specific settings on laser printers to help with printing on this type of paper.

The best way to find out what paper can be used with which printer is to read he packaging.

The Different Facets of Printer Paper

It is important that the right paper is used for the right projects. When choosing printer paper, make sure to look at the different facets of the paper before buying. These facets include the Coating, opacity, weight, smoothness, brightness, as well as others.


There are various printer papers which are coated. Coated finishes include matte, dull, and smooth surfaces. The smooth surfaces are called glossy and are designed for printing photos. There are many uncoated printer papers. However they can often have various surface textures like linen embedded in them. When you come to choose your printer paper, it is important that the you know what project you’ll be using the paper for to choose the right coating.


Printer paper comes in various colours and brightness levels. You will be able to check the brightness of a particular type of paper by checking the packaging. Brightness usually ranges from 80 to 100 with the higher number, meaning brighter paper and provides sharper images. The whiter and brighter the paper is, the better a print will look due to the contrast between the ink and the paper.


Printer paper comes in various weights which are due to the thickness of the piece of paper. The weight of the paper indicates what the paper is intended to be used for.

Paper Weight


Type of Paper

20 pounds or 75 grams Thinner paper used for everyday print and copy Bond paper
24 pounds or 90 grams Used for crisper images, less show through, and is better for double sided printing Mid-weight paper
40 pounds or 150 grams Used for signs, flyers, and when vivid color is required Poster paper, card stock

The paper weight refers to the weight of a 500-sheet ream of 17 x 22 inch paper in which each of the sheets is equivalent to four of the letter size sheets. Therefore, if 500 sheets of paper weighs 20 pounds, then the paper actually weighs five pounds. The higher the weight of the paper, the thicker the paper will be. The thicker the paper the more durable it will be. However, the thicker it is, the slower it will go through a printer. Standard 20 pound paper can be used for every day, high-volume use while heavier paper is used for presentations and other areas where quality is important.


Another variable to consider when choosing printer paper is the opacity. The opacity means how much print will show through to the other side. If Opacity  is 0 it will be transparent whereas 100 would be completely opaque. The opacity can be judged by how well the printer paper prevents light from passing through it. Standard paper at 20 pounds is more translucent while the heavier papers will be less likely to show print on the side that wasn’t printed on.


Smoothness can be something to consider when deciding which paper to get. Laser printers require a smooth paper to achieve good results as those printers use heat and toner to produce text and images. In contrast other printers use water based inks, and therefore, need textured paper to absorb the ink. The smoothness of the paper is be determined by whether or not the paper is coated as well as the material it is made out of.

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