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What are the different types of paper used for printing?

Paper is a symbol of almost all the most important moments in our lives if you stop to think about it. Although someone who is just getting married might not think twice about what kind of paper the certificate is made of, it is crucial for businesses to be aware of the paper type they will need to print/copy documents.

The reason is that using the wrong paper type on your printer can result in paper jams, poor-quality prints, and even money lost if you realize you have purchased the wrong paper.

We have learned a lot about Fine art printing paper over our nearly four decades of experience in the printer/copier business. Here are the details we want to share with you about each type of printer paper as well as the features.

Now that you know this information, you can determine what type of paper your printer requires so that you don’t end up guessing when to buy it.

Printer Paper vs. Copy Paper

Printer paper is paper that can be used to print. There are six types of printer paper, which we will discuss in the next section.

Some people are confused as to whether printer paper is the same thing as copy paper and if they can print documents on copy paper.

When it comes to copy paper and printers, there are some key differences. These are:

  • According to Officeink Blog, printer paper weighs in at 24 pounds, and copy paper around 20 pounds.
  • Printer paper is typically slightly more expensive than copy paper.
  • The majority of copy paper is used for daily printing. Printer paper is used to print documents with images and documents that require higher quality.

There are 6 Types of Printer Paper

Let’s now discuss the differences between copy paper and printer paper.

Regular Matte Paper

Regular matte is the most commonly used paper for printing documents. It will work well with most basic printing jobs.

This paper can be compared to the “copy paper” that we talked about in the previous section. It is not shiny and has a matte texture that absorbs ink. The paper also quickly dries, so you don’t get smudges or smears.

Glossy Paper

This is the shiny stuff. Glossy papers are coated with a polymer to give them a smooth, shiny appearance. This allows them to produce richer colors that are more vivid than regular paper.

You can print photos or vivid images on this paper. However, it has a longer drying time than regular paper, so be careful not to use it improperly. It is best to print glossy paper only with a laser printer.

Bright White Paper

While regular paper may seem white, this paper is coated with a special formula that gives it a smooth surface and brilliant white color.

This is what you might call “fancy copy” paper. It delivers an aesthetic presentation that is perfect for documents. With photos, you want a bright finish without a glossy shine.

Photo paper

As the name implies, photo paper is primarily designed for printing photos or photographs.

When you look back at the last time you printed a photo on photo paper, the textures and appearances of the front and back are quite different. It is usually thicker than other types of paper and has a high gloss sheen on one side and a matte on the other.

Heavyweight Paper

Cardstock is the most popular type of heavyweight paper. This paper term is very common among print consumers.

There are many different weights of paper that you can choose from. This will affect the thickness of your paper. Think of paperweight as a thin piece of paper or hard to bend.

Pro-Tip: Be aware of the paper weight your printer/copier can handle and what tray you should use for heavyweight paper.

Inkjet Paper

You should also be familiar with inkjet paper. This is paper that is specifically designed to work with smaller desktop printers.

Inkjet printers use liquid ink, while laser printers work with dry (powder-like) toner.

3 Different Printer Paper Features

After you have seen the six types of printer papers, let us now look at one other thing about printer paper: its features.

Three primary characteristics of printer paper are Coating, brightness, and weight. These three primary features are relevant to printer paper. Let’s look at them.


A coating is a type of synthetic substance that is layered on top of the paper to give it a glossy, bright appearance.

The Coating of the paper can make the paper look shiny.


Brightness means exactly what it sounds. It is the way that you determine how white or bright a page is.

The brightness scale generally ranges from 0-100 to 80-100 for high-quality prints. It is a good rule of thumb that the brighter the paper, the better the quality of the print job.


The paper’s thickness and weight are measured in grams.

While paperweights can vary greatly, the most common paperweights are regular paper at 75g or 20 lbs (like copy paper in the first section). Cardstock, which is typically around 176g or 65 lbs, is the most commonly used “thick” type of paper.

It can be difficult to understand why pounds and grams are used for paper measurement. Other weight definitions such as cover paper, bond, or GSM may also play a role in your confusion.

If you are interested in finding out more about paper weight and how to choose the best one for your project, read Paris Corporation’s Paper Weight Guide.

What else should you know about your printer?

It is not the most important task in your day to find the right paper for your printer.

But, the wrong type can cause frustration and even annoyance. Buying the wrong printer paper could lead to paper jams or wasted money.

To determine which paper type is best for you, take a small sample of the paper you are interested in and then test it. If you don’t like the results, you can always try another one until you find the right one.

We are a trusted vendor of print products and know how important it is to maintain your machine so that it lasts in your office for many years.

We have learned from our many years of working with customers that education is the key to a durable office machine. Choosing the right printer paper is only one aspect of owning a printer.

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