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Buying tips

Useful Tips - Choosing the Right Paper

How to choose the Right Paper

On your quest for the right paper, you will first need to decide what type of paper you will need for your printer and printing needs. Here is a list common paper choices you will find.

  • Multipurpose Paper  
  • Multipurpose paper, also known as copier/bond paper, is a lightweight paper used in a broad range of general office equipment. Multipurpose papers should be used when printing plain text documents or for all your fax and copier needs.

  • Inkjet Paper 
  • Inkjet papers are designed to absorb inks onto the paper. You will find a selection of coated inkjet papers to control ink absorption for sharper colors. Coated inkjet papers work best when printing higher quality prints. Coated papers may be glossy to dull coated (matte) either on one or both sides.

  • Laser Paper 
  • Laser paper is especially made to withstand the high heat and toner used in laser printers. Most of these papers have anti-jamming and curling qualities. You will want to use high quality laser paper when printing in color because you are putting the paper through high heat and four layers of toner. You will find laser printers have higher brightness and heavier weight compared to multipurpose paper.

  • Specialty Paper 
  • You are no longer limited to printing on plain 8.5 x 11 paper anymore. With todayís choices for paper, if you can design it you can print it. You can find paper to print iron-on transfers, greeting cards, brochures, , photo stickers, temporary tattoos, etc.

    When you are out looking for paper, you will see each will have different properties on the packaging. The following are what you should focus your attention on when looking for the right paper

  • Brightness
  • Refers to the light reflecting property of paper. The brighter the paper the better your prints will look. Most papers will have a brightness rating of 80-100. A brightness rating of 90-92 will be right for most jobs. Using the brightest papers will give you brighter colors but itís not the only factor to consider when printing. The colors you are using and the paper finish will determine how the final print will look (light colors can appear washed out on the brightest of papers.) Your best judge is not the numbers on the package but your eyes. Try different samples to find the best brightness that will fit your needs

  • Weight
  • Paper weight is not determined by a single sheet of paper but of the weight of a ream of paper (500 sheets). The heavier the paper, the thicker a sheet of paper is. The thicker paper will give your printed documents a professional feel that you wonít get with thin paper. There will be less bleed through when there is heavy ink coverage. Check your printer specifications on what thickness your printer can handle.
    Look for paper with the weight of 20lbs for everyday printing. For business printing, try looking for paper around 24lbs. Most personal laser printers are monochrome printers. They work best in printing text and simple graphics.

  • Opacity
  • Opacity is measured by how much light is passed through the paper. The more fillers in a paper the more opaque it will be. The thicker the paper the less see through the paper will be. The higher the opacity level the less ink will bleed through to the other side of the paper.

    You should remember two things when you are out shopping for paper -- the brightness and weight. The whiteness of the paper will affect the image being printed -- especially with the colors. Colors will look vibrant and will ďpopĒ more on the page. You want to use heavier paper because no matter how great the text and images on the page, you will loose some credibility if itís printed on flimsy paper.

    *Printing Tip: Your printer has different settings for the various types of papers. Depending on the setting, the printer shoots out different amounts of ink and prints at different speeds. To get the best images possible match the setting with the paper you are using. If you choose the wrong setting, you may be using too much ink that will overload the paper or using too little ink can cause your prints to look washed out.