Your Guide to Desktop Publishing

Paper Weight

Paper comes in all sorts of sizes and weights. The weight of the paper is a very good indicator of how thick and/or how stiff the paper is. Also, there are many different paper types that make everything just that much more confusing. For example, 20# bond paper has an equivalent weight of 28# cover paper. The chart below compares one paper type to another in terms of weight.

Bond Weight Text/Book Weight Cover Weight Bristol Weight Index Weight Tag Weight Metric Weight
16# 41# 22# 27# 33# 37# 50 gsm
17# 43# 24# 29# 35# 39# 64 gsm
20# 50# 28# 34# 42# 46# 75 gsm
21# 54# 30# 36# 44# 49# 80 gsm
24# 60# 33# 41# 50# 55# 90 gsm
27# 68# 37# 45# 55# 61# 100 gsm
28# 70# 39# 49# 58# 65# 105 gsm
29# 74# 41# 50# 61# 68# 110 gsm
32# 80# 44# 55# 67# 74# 120 gsm
36# 90# 50# 62# 75# 83# 135 gsm
39# 100# 55# 67# 82# 91# 148 gsm
40# 101# 55# 68# 83# 92# 150 gsm
43# 110# 60# 74# 90# 100# 163 gsm
45# 115# 63# 77# 94# 104# 170 gsm
47# 119# 65# 80# 97# 108# 176 gsm
51# 128# 70# 86# 105# 117# 190 gsm
53# 134# 74# 90# 110# 122# 199 gsm
54# 137# 75# 93# 113# 125# 203 gsm
58# 146# 80# 98# 120# 133# 216 gsm
65# 165# 90# 111# 135# 150# 244 gsm
66# 169# 92# 114# 138# 154# 250 gsm
67# 171# 94# 115# 140# 155# 253 gsm
70# 178# 98# 120# 146# 162# 264 gsm
72# 183# 100# 123# 150# 166# 271 gsm

Note: gsm = grams per square meter or g/m2. Weights in bold are commonly available.

Not all paper types are available in all weights. For example, it would be very unlikely that you could find 28# cover paper, but 20# bond paper is extremely popular. Most office printers and copy machines use 20# bond paper. Cover paper is usually the kind of paper one might use for things like business cards. A popular business card paper is, in fact, 100# cover.

While metric measurements are generally not used in the United States, they are extremely helpful in trying to remember which paper is heavier or thicker than another or to make a choice as to which paper to use. 110# index paper, for example, is commonly sold in office supply stores in the United States. But, note than it is 199 gsm, versus 271 gsm for 100# cover paper. So, if you were ordering business cards, you would likely prefer the heavier 100# cover paper. By looking at the metric weight, you can see immediately that the 100# cover paper is about 36% heavier than the 110# index paper.