Choosing The Paper That's Right For You

Printer paper is an essential component of any business or home office supply stock. The type of paper purchased should effectively represent the company's specific business needs, as well as its overall corporate image. Whether the printer paper is used for printing high definition images, daily office correspondence or binding contracts, selecting the right paper will ensure the final product comes out looking crisp and professional. There are three main attributes to consider when choosing copy paper: paper weight, brightness, and whiteness. Simplify the paper buying process by familiarizing yourself with each attribute and start stocking up!

Paper Weight

Simply put, when choosing the correct paper weight keep in mind the function you want the paper to serve. As a general rule of thumb, heavy paper is effective for professional documents, while lighter paper is ideal for everyday use. In more specific terms, regular copy paper is often referred to as a "20 lb. bond" or "50 lb. text weight". On the other end of the spectrum, a sturdy stock is listed as "Index" or "Cover" followed by a specific weight. "Index" or "Cover" paper is frequently used to make postcards, menus, index dividers, brochures and more.

Grade Weight Use Benefit
Standard 20lbs Faxes, draft documents, printed emails Inexpensive, fits in most printers and is jam resistant.
Mid 22-24lbs Presentations, resumes, proposals, customer documents, contracts Smoother finish, versatile, less "show-through", and fits all office printers.
Heavy 28-32lbs Signs and flyers, menus, greeting and occasion cards, professional presentations, double sided printing Offers best color, holds up well to heavy ink, smoothest finish and the end result is very durable.


Color contrast is a key factor in producing good looking documents. The brighter the paper, the brighter and lighter the output. Although the official definition of brightness is quite technical, in layman's terms the brightness scale is used to indicate the amount of light refected from the surface of a paper. Paper brightness is numerically ranked from one to a hundred; the higher number indicating a greater level of brightness. On the brightness scale, standard copy paper has a rating between 80 and 100. When producing images keep in mind that on less bright paper images often come out much darker. These general rules can vary based on the model of printer used and whether the paper is inkjet photo paper, matte finish or glazed finish.

Brightness Scale


96 97 98 100
European 104 107-108 109-110 111 112


The term whiteness refers to the quality of light, or in this instance the specific shade of the paper. Generally speaking, the whiteness index is devised so that the higher the whiteness, the whiter the paper material. In order to differentiate between brightness and whiteness think of the following: brightness is equivalent to wattage, while whiteness indicates shade. Whiteness is a particularly important attribute to consider when buying paper for color printing. Overall, the delicate balance between ink/toner and paper shade will dictate the final result.

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