Your Guide to Desktop Publishing

Paper Types

Paper comes in many types and weights. This page will provide you with a brief overview of the types to help you in selecting the perfect paper for the job.

Note that when you see "20#" (twenty pound) or "50#" (fifty pound), that doesn't mean one paper is 2.5 times heavier than the other. Paper of each type has a "weight" value in pounds that doesn't align exactly across different paper types. To understand how physical weights for each paper type actually compare, see the "metric weight" column on the paper weights page.

The differences between "bond" and "text" paper types (or others here) are not generally noticable and may not exist at all. The naming is historical, though some manufacturers claim to use a different manufacturing process for the different paper types. Even if true, it's unlikely you or the person next to you could differentiate between uncoated 24# bond and 60# text paper, for example.


By far, the most common form of paper used is referred to as "bond". This paper is commonly used for copying and printing at home and in the office.

The most common paper used is 20# bond. It's great for general-purpose use, but it's fairly flimsy. If mailing an important letter or want the recipient to feel they're receiving an importand document, consider going with bond paper that's a little heavier, like 24# or 28# bond. Also, if printing double-sided, the 24# or 28# bond paper will experience less "bleed" from the printing on the opposite side of the page.


Text is a little higher quality paper than bond paper. It can be used for printing booklets, reports, etc. where presentation matters. It is also sometimes used in laser printers. A common weight is 60# text, which is roughly comparable in actual weight to 24# bond. It's great for flyers, newsletters, or letterhead.

Lower-cost brochures are usually printed on 70# text. Higher-quality brochures, menus, wedding programs, etc. are generally printed on 80# text.

It's common for text paper to be coated, giving it a different feel when held in the hand. Glossy paper also shines, making charts and graphs stand out.


Cover paper is a "card stock" type of paper (i.e., very beefy). It's substantially heavier and great for business cards, book covers, report covers, post cards, etc. Common weights are 80# or 100# cover.


Bristol is also a heavy paper. It's great for catalog or paperback book covers. This paper is often manufactured in layers of thinner paper.


Index is another paper name for heavy card stock type paper. Usually, manufactuers will either label paper as "index" or "cover" depending on the weight. The paper usually has a smooth surface.