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Glossary of Terms

Paper selection assistant

Paper Selection Assistant

Although there are many different types of paper stock, this page is an attempt to break down some of the various terms associated with making a paper selection.

Please allow this to act as a guide. We would be more than happy to discuss with you in more detail the different styles, colors, manufacturers, etc., just simply give us a call and let us help you in making your decision.

In an effort to help eliminate the "Paper Weight" confusion problem,
we have compiled the comprehensive table listed below.
Now you can compare various types of paper and their "Equivalent Weights."

Weight Definitions:

Basis Weight
The basis weight of a paper is the designated fixed weight of 500 sheets, measured in pounds, in that paper's basic sheet size.
It is important to note that the "basic sheet size" is not the same for all types of paper.

Basis Weight ("Category") Table

Type Paper Basic Size - 500 Sheets
Rag Paper
17" x 22"
Coated Paper
25" x 38"
20" x 26"
"Tag Stock"
24" x 36"
25-1/2" x 30-1/2"

A4 (size):
A common ISO A-size of about 8.25 by 11.75 inches or 210 x 297mm
The extra image past the trimmed final dimensions when images go all the way to the edge. The going standard is .125" beyond finished size.
Bond Paper:
The name "bond" was originally given to a paper which was used for printing bonds and stock certificates. It is now used in referring to paper used for letterheads and many printing purposes. Important characteristics are finish, strength, freedom from fuzz, and rigidity.
Carbonless Paper:
A paper that uses a chemical reaction between two different contacting coatings to transfer image when pressure is applied.
Cotton Fiber:
Cotton is a natural fiber and is one of the strongest and most durable fibers known to man. Papers manufactured of cotton fiber will last longer and hold up better under repeated handling and variant environmental conditions than paper made from wood pulp. Generally, given reasonable care, one can expect one year of usable life for every 1% of cotton contained in the sheet. Typically cotton fiber papers are made of either all cotton fiber (100% cotton) or a blend of cotton and wood pulp.
Pressing a shape into a sheet of paper with a metal or plastic die, creating a raised (embossed) image.
Glossy Finish:
The property that's responsible for a paper's shiny or lustrous appearance; also the measure of a sheet's surface reflectivity. Gloss is often associated with quality: higher quality coated papers exhibit higher gloss
Index Paper:
A stiff, inexpensive paper with a smooth finish. The high bulk but low weight of this paper makes it a popular choice for business reply cards.
International Paper and Board Sizes:
Also known as ISO sizes are widely used in metric countries. ISO standards are based on a rectangle whose sides have a ratio of one to the square root of 2 (1.414). No matter how many times a sheet of these proportions is halved, each will retain the same constant proportions. There are three ISO series A, B, and C.
A finished produced with a dandy roll having closely spaced wires.
Matte Finish:
A dull, clay-coated paper without gloss or luster.
Rag paper:
Today rag paper is mostly made from vegetable fibers consisting of cellulose, such as cotton, linen, hemp and ramie. Rags are the most precious raw material for the papermaker. Rag papers and rag-containing papers with admixtures of chemical pulp are used for banknotes, deeds, documents, books of account, maps and copperplate engravings and as elegant writing papers. They are also used for special technical applications.
500 Sheets of paper.
Satin Finish:
A smooth, satin-like, semi-glossy finish of paper or Bristol.
Text Paper:
Text papers are defined as fine, high quality uncoated papers. Typically, they are made in various colors, with numerous textures and a variety of surface finishes. Text papers are made from high-grade bleached wood pulp, cotton fibers, or tree-free pulp such as bamboo. Recycled sheets include high quality recycled waste paper and post-consumer waste pulp, in addition to bleached wood pulp, tree-free pulp or cotton fibers.

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