What is the standard weight of office copy paper? All you need to know about card stock and paper weights …

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Paper Weights

What people mean when they talk about the weight of a sheet of paper or card is effectively the thickness of that piece of
paper. There are two conventions currently in widespread use for paper weights.

The first, as specified by ISO 536, is used in Europe and most parts of the world that use ISO paper sizes ,
apart from the few countries that still use US paper sizes , is grams per square metre (g/m2
or commonly gsm). This commonly called grammage in non English speaking countries, a term we will use on this site to differentiate
it from the North American basis weights.

The second is used in those countries that use US paper sizes such as the United States and Canada. This is known as the
basis weight and is usually specified in pounds (lbs). The basis weight is the weight of a 500 sheet ream of uncut paper
(see Reams & Quires – Paper Quantities Explained for more information on the ream).


Ream of 80gsm office paper - showing clearly grams per square metre on the packaging

Ream of 80gsm office paper – showing clearly g/m2 on the packaging.

The weight of paper in countries that use ISO paper sizes is defined by ISO 536 Paper and Board – Determination of Grammage.
This standard defines grammage as grammes per square metre (g/m2) thus the weight of a single sheet of
A0 paper defines the grammage of that paper type as the A0 size
is defined by ISO 216 as having an area of 1 square metre. An A0 sheet of 80gsm paper will weigh 80 grams, an A0 sheet of 100gsm
paper will weigh 100 grams and so on.

Note gsm is commonly used rather than g/m2 in most day to day use. This came about because of the inability of
early computer packages to display superscripted characters – especially stock control, accounting and invoicing systems.

Paper that is used in offices is usually between 70gsm and 80gsm, with 80gsm being the most commonly found weight. Some accountants
and solicitors use heavier weight paper ranging from 90gsm to 120gsm for formal correspondance. Above 120gsm come various thicknesses
of card with 160gsm and 200gsm being most commonly used for file dividers. Newspaper ranges between 45gsm and 50gsm.

Weight of Sheets & Reams Calculator

Click the link for a table of weights of individual sheets of 4A0, 2A0, A0, A1, A2, A3, A4, A5,
A6, A7, A8, A9 and A10 for various commonly used grammages.

Basis Weight

Ream of 65lb Cover Stock - note the use of # symbol on the pack

Ream of 65lb Cover Stock.

Basis weight is a much older convention for defining the weight of paper and was widely used in the UK and Europe as well as in
North America, where it is still used, up until the international standardisation of paper sizes by ISO 216 and its national
predecessors in European countries.

Basis weight is defined as the weight of a ream of the uncut paper in pounds (lb) (Note: the
# is often used in place of lb when referring to basis weights). The uncut paper sizes being the size used in
the manufacturing process before the paper was cut to size. There are many different types of uncut paper, those in common use
for the production of office paper and card are Bond Stock , Cover Stock
and Index Stock . The word Stock is often dropped when referring to the different types of paper
in their finished cut sizes.

Thus if you have a sheet of 20lb Bond Letter paper it will be the exactly the same thickness as 20lb Bond Legal, although the
two sheets will weigh different amounts because of the difference in size. However a sheet of 28lb Bond Letter size paper would
not be the same as a sheet of 28lb Cover Letter size paper as the uncut sizes for Bond and Cover aare different.

Paper that is used in offices is most commonly 20lb or 24lb Bond. Often suppliers will omit the words Bond and
just give the basis weight as 20lb or 24lb, although Index and Cover are almost invariably used as this differentiates
the other types from the ‘default’ Bond. 60lb and 65lb Cover and 90lb and 110lb Index are types of light to medium card
often used as file dividers, with 80lb, 90lb and 100lb Cover being heavier weight card.

Newspaper has its own stock type, Newsprint, that measures 24″ x 36″ in uncut size. This is much larger than the Bond
and Cover uncut sizes, thus the most common 30lb Newsprint is actually a much thinner paper than 20lb bond. The following
page covers the different stock types generally available.

Conversion tables for Basis Weight to Grammage Conversion

What Is The Weight Of A Sheet Of Paper?

The weight of a sheet of paper depends on the size of the sheet and the thickness of the paper, known as grammage internationally
and basis weight in North America. The tables below give the weights of sheets of the ISO 216 A paper sizes for various
common grammages (e.g. 80gsm, 90gsm, 120gsm) in grams in the first table and in ounces in the second table.

The ISO A series paper sizes are 4A0, 2A0, A0, A1, A2, A3, A4, A5, A6, A7, A8, A9 and A10, see
A Paper Sizes for more information and here for US Paper Sizes .

Weights Of Sheets Of A Series Paper Sizes In Grams



Weights Of Sheets Of A Series Paper Sizes In Ounces



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Understanding paperweights
can be difficult. Trust us, we know. So we here at
Paperworks.com have designed this sheet to try and simplify the different
terms you may hear in association with paperweight. The term paperweight, and number
corresponding with each weight, refers to the thickness and sturdiness of the paper, not the actual
weight of the sheet. This is why, sometimes, the same “weight” paper may be referred to as two
different things. For instance, regular everyday copy paper is most commonly referred to as a “20 lb.
bond” but is other times referred to as a “50 lb. text weight.” To eliminate as much confusion as
possible, we have chosen GSM as our conversion reference point because it is a definite
and universal measure of the paper. GSM stands for grams per square meter,
which is the actual weight of the sheet.

In order from lightest weight to heaviest!

7420lb bond/50lb textMost often found in your everyday copy machine.
9024lb bond/60lb textGenerally multipurpose paper used in the office printer. Also the most popular business letterhead or stationary weight.
10528lb bond/70lb textPerfect weight for brochures and presentations. Excellent for 2-sided printing with minimal show through.
12032lb bond/80lb textPerfect weight for brochures and presentations. Excellent for 2-sided printing with minimal show through, while being slightly heavier than the 28lb.
14567lb BristolOften considered the lightest of the cardstocks, great for self mailers with a flexible “soft feel” quick drying surface.
16590lb indexA durable cardstock with a smooth, hard surface for medium applications.
17565lb coverA sturdy stock with a superb “soft feel” fast drying surface. Great for postcards, menus and posters.
200110lb indexBoth 90 and 110lb index are the common weights for tabs, dividers and manila folders. The average weight of an index card for heavier applications.
21580lb coverA heavy cardstock, your most conventional business card weight. Available in a wide variety of textures and finishes. This sheet is printed on 80lb cover.
255140lb indexFor super heavy weight applications.
260100lb coverA noticeably heavier cardstock often used for flat cards or invitations.

*Please remember that the greater the “lb” associated with a paper not always determines that it is a thicker sheet. Notice that the 67lb Vellum Bristol has a lower gsm than a 65lb cover because they are two different categories of cardstocks and are scaled differently.

We hope this clarifies the difference between paperweights, and gives you a better understanding of what will fit your application best! With any further questions, please feel free to contact our paper professionals at 888-631-9170!

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