Paper Stock FAQ

Paper Stock Grades, Finish and Weight FAQ

What is the difference between Text, Book, Bond, Offset, Cover, Bristol, Index, Tag, and Card paper?
Paper can be grouped into two main grades based on weight and thickness: Text and Cover.

"Text" is a generic name for a variety of lighter, thinner paper stocks that includes Book, Bond, Writing, Ledger, Offset paper. Text paper is more flexible, can be more easily folded, and is used for printing flyers, handouts, letterheads, book pages, etc.

"Cover" is a generic name for a variety of heavier and thicker paper stocks that include Bristol, Index, Tag, and Card paper. It is sturdier than text weight paper. Cover paper is more rigid and must be scored (creased) before it can be folded, otherwise cracking will be present. This type of paper is usually smooth, but can have a texture. Cover stock is often used for mass mailed postcards, business cards, playing cards, invitations, program covers, greeting cards, door hangers, catalogue covers, presentation covers, scrapbooking, etc. At its heaviest, Card stock would be similar to material used for a cereal box.

Both types of paper come in uncoated and coated varieties.

What's the difference between lb, and g/m2?
Besides having a 'text' or 'cover' description, paper types often include a number to refer to the weight of the paper. The higher the number, the heavier the paper.

There are two systems for indicating the weight of paper: an international metric system and a North American system. You'll often see them listed together when looking at different types of stock. You'll either see "* lb." or "* g/m2) listed for this description. The North American system (* lb.) is measured by how much a certain quantity of paper weighs. The interlational system (* g/m2) uses the weight of 1 square meter of paper as its measuring method.

Simply put, the higher the number, the thicker/heavier/sturdier the paper.

Sometimes I see "10 pt" or "12 pt" paper stock listed. Is this a paper weight?
Sometimes the thickness of Cover/Card stock is used instead of its weight. In North America, paper thickness can be displayed in points (1/1000" or .001"). For example, a 10 pt. Card stock is 0.010" thick (about the weight of a 140lb Index stock) while 12 pt. Card stock is 0.012" thick (about the weight of a 100lb Cover stock).

Paper Weight Comparison Chart (lightest to heaviest, conversions are approximate)

#g/m2Paper Stock
16lb60.2 g/m2Bond/Writing/Ledger
40lb60.2 g/m2Book/Text/Offset
20lb75.2 g/m2Bond/Writing/Ledger
50lb 75.2 g/m2Book/Text/Offset
24lb90.3 g/m2Bond/Writing/Ledger
60lb90.3 g/m2Book/Text/Offset
80lb104 g/m2Book/Text/Offset
28lb105.4 g/m2Bond/Writing/Ledger
70lb105.4 g/m2Book/Text/Offset
40lb109.1 g/m2Cover
50lb135.5 g/m2Cover
60lb161.8 g/m2Cover
100lb161.8 g/m2Tag
90lb161.8 g/m2Index
65lb176.8 g/m2Cover
110lb199.4 g/m2Index
80lb218.2 g/m2Cover
90lb244.6 g/m2Cover
140lb252.1 g/m2Index
100lb270.9 g/m2Cover
170lb308.5 g/m2Index
220lb385.1 g/m2Index