What Are The Common Types Of Printing Paper In The Office?

Posted by Greg Nowak on

What are the basic types of printing paper?

There are various types of printing paper in office supplies depots and you might find yourself confused of which one to pick. Each paper is made for a different purpose and some even made for specific printers. Knowing which paper to buy and to use for a printing requirement will help you achieve better printout quality. Here are some of the most common papers you might need.

For Laser Printers

Laser Paper- There is a type of printing paper made specifically for laser printers.  Laser paper is made to match the features of a laser printer and hold toner powder better. It is best for printing address and mailing labels as well as checks.

Bright white paper- This type of paper is what we generally use when printing documents.  It has smooth surfaces that gives better results for printing texts and simple images. It is non-textured and can be used to print in duplex or double-sided.

For Inkjet Printers

Matte paper – For daily and general use, this printing paper works well with inkjet printers. Its surface is absorbent and quick-dry for inks.

Glossy paper – Often confused with photo paper because of its glossy surface. Good for general use, it is however prone to smudge. A quality paper for photos but takes some time to dry the ink when printed on.

Photo paper – Specifically for printing photos. This printing paper has similar glossy surface that creates vibrant colored pictures. The only difference is it is quick-dry and comes in different paper sizes, coating and weights.

Cardstock – Another commonly used type of paper, it is best for arts and crafts due to its sturdy and thick surface. Greeting cards, invitations, signage, scrapbooking and business cards are just some of its many uses.


What to consider when buying printing papers?

Here are some things to consider when buying printing paper for home and office use.

Brightness – This refers to the contrast and reflectiveness of the paper and how it holds ink and toner when printed on. The standard of brightness is rated from 1 to 100 which means the higher the figure, the better the paper quality. A typical office paper has the brightness of 80-100. Common photocopy paper has a brightness rate of 92 and its premium type has brightness of 96-97.

Finish – Surface texture determine how printable the paper is. This also affects its ink and toner absorption, mechanical strength and resistance to tear. Paper finish is rated from 1 to 5, 1 being the highest. The lower the number means the better quality. There are five common types of finishing qualities:

  •         Gloss
  •         Cast Coat
  •         Dull
  •         Silk
  •         Matte

Weight – It refers to the heaviness and thickness of the paper. Paper weight is rated by pounds or GSM (Grams per square meter) with measurement reference from the 500-sheet uncut printing-press paper or 17x22 inch paper weighs. The heavier the paper is, the sturdier it is. Heavy papers are often used to make cardstock, paperback, catalogs and postcards. On the other hand, what we normally use for printers is 20 lb paper category.

Opacity – This quality refers to the transparency of the paper. It measures how much a paper can block light from passing through. This determines how a paper hold and passes through ink or toner to the other side when printed on. Basically, the thicker the paper, the less likely the prints will be visible on the other side.

Texture or Smoothness – This refers to the ‘feel’ of the paper’s surface. It can come as coated or uncoated which is determined by the materials used during manufacturing. Bond papers have non-textured surfaces that are best for home and office printing as well as handwriting.


Paper size – There are various paper sizes and dimensions that are commonly used for general printing. The regular printer paper sizes used in offices are:

  •         8.5" x 11" – Letter size paper used commonly for standard and regular printing documents.
  •         8.5" x 14" – Legal size paper has extra length for printing documents especially those that needs signatures.
  •         11" x 17" – Tabloid size is comparable to 2 letter sized papers that is typically used for printing magazines, brochures and some self-publishing materials.
  •         13" x 19" – Super B or wide format printer paper is equivalent to 2 tabloid sized papers or 4 letter size papers. Commonly used for printing newspapers.
  •         A4 – 8.27 × 11.69 inches is the standard letter size in most European countries.
  •         A5 – Measures 5.83x8.27 inches and the standard for Europe’s notebooks and paper books.

The letter size (8.5”x11”) is what we normally used in offices to print documents, copy papers, faxes, print presentations and more.  This paper size is called “A” and is the standard paper size in the US. In Europe and some other countries, the standard letter paper size is A4.  A5 on the other hand is the standard size for notebooks.

What is the best paper to use for document printing?

As mentioned, each type of printing paper has a different purpose. They have different values, materials and sizes that should be first in considerations to achieve great output. Using the right kind of paper not only produces best results but also saves money, energy and resources. If you are looking for a printer paper to be used at home and office for your letterhead and documents, then bond paper is the best choice. It has uncoated surface and absorbs ink or toner well. You only need to buy using the aforementioned guidelines to choose a high quality paper.


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