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How to Choose Paper

When it comes to making a good impression, choosing the right paper can make all the difference. These guidelines will help you pick the best type for your project.


  • Step 1: Consider your printing needs Consider what you're using the paper for, and what kind of printer you have. Do you mostly print personal e-mails and web pages, or are you preparing materials for clients on an inkjet or laser printer? Do you print heavy-coverage documents, like signs and flyers? Do you do double-sided printing? All these factors play a role in choosing the right paper to match your needs.
  • Step 2: Understand paper weight Choose the right paper weight, or thickness. At 20 pounds, standard paper is an economical choice that's perfect for everyday printing and copying. Mid-weight – 22 to 24 pounds – provides crisper images and less show-through, making it ideal for customer-facing documents and double-sided printing. Go with a heavy stock for sturdy signs and flyers, and when you want the most vivid color and a flawless finish.
  • Step 3: Consider brightness Consider the paper's brightness rating: The brighter the paper, the crisper your letters and images appear – especially with color or monochrome pictures. For the biggest wow factor, go with a rating of 98 or 100.
  • TIP: Print important materials on acid-free paper; it won't yellow or crumble over time.
  • Step 4: Be green Help protect the environment by choosing recycled paper – the quality is just as high as the non-recycled stuff. For the most environmentally friendly option, look for the FSC logo; The Forest Stewardship Council certifies that the pulp used to make the paper came from responsibly managed forests.
  • Step 5: Order the correct amount Order the correct amount of paper by knowing the terminology. A "ream" has 500 sheets, and there are 10 reams in a case. And consider buying by the case: You'll save money, and you'll never have to worry about running out.
  • FACT: You can prevent many printer jams by storing your paper in a sealed plastic bag or container, which prevents dry air and humidity from affecting the paper.

You Will Need

  • Something to print
  • Correct weight
  • Brightness rating

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