You need paper, but you need to make sure you’re purchasing the right paper for the task at hand. There are so many different types of paper and several different attributes to consider — what does it all mean?
In the paper guide below, we’ve outlined a few of the most frequently asked about paper attributes to help you make the right purchase.
Office Depot offers a full line of paper products for all printing, writing and crafting needs — from standard printer paper types, such as copy and multipurpose paper, to premium styles, presentation, color, photo and recycled paper. Browse all of our different types of paper to find the one that's perfect for your business.
Paper Weight & Thickness
When choosing the right weight of paper for the job, it’s important to know how weight is determined and how it affects your printed materials.
Paper weights in the U.S. are typically expressed in pounds (lb), which is the actual weight of 500 sheets of the “basis size” of the paper in question. Since the basis size may vary, comparing paper weights can be tricky. For example, 28-lb multipurpose paper will likely not be the same weight or thickness as a 28-lb premium or card stock paper. To make things easier, make sure you compare among products of the same paper type. First, choose from among our many paper categories, including inkjet or laser printer paper types, copy paper, cover stock and card stock and more. Then, use our navigation bar on the left-hand side to compare paper weights.
QUICK TIP: Lower numbers, including 20-lb and 24-lb, are the most common weights for standard copy and multipurpose paper, while higher numbers indicate a heavier, thicker sheet.
Heavier paper lends a formal air to correspondence and sets a distinctly professional tone for reports, resumes and more. If paper weight and paper thickness guide your decision, choose a higher weight to help ensure durability and longevity for documents that will be handled often or need to look sharp for presentations.
Brightness is the amount of light reflected off a sheet of paper, measured in a range from 0 to 100. The brightest and whitest papers are often actually made with a bluish tint, giving a brighter-than-white appearance to the eye. When selecting paper brightness, consider what you’ll print onto the paper. Images printed on a bright paper will appear more vibrant. However, the combination of bright paper and less-than-optimal images may result in a washed-out look. Dark text will stand out against most levels of paper brightness, so for text documents you’ll be satisfied with the more common brightness levels in the 80s and low 90s.
When quality is important to you, choose a paper with a moderate weight (24-lb or above), crisp brightness (92 or above) and a good composition. Paper made from a blend of wood pulp and cotton (commonly 75% and 25% respectively) has a luxurious feel and is made to last. The combination of fibers and the way it feels when handled helps convey importance, giving more weight to the page in the most literal sense!
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