Terms and Definitions

Grade of Paper

Basis Weight

  • Tissue: Low, less than 40 g/m².
  • Paper: Medium, 40 – 120 g/m².
  • Paperboard: Medium High, 120-200 g/m².
  • Board: High, more than 200 g/m².


  • Brown: Unbleached.
  • White: Bleached.
  • Colored: Bleached and dyed or pigmented.


  • Industrial: Packaging, wrapping, filtering, electrical etc.
  • Cultural: Writing, printing, newspaper, currency etc.
  • Food: Food wrapping, candy wrapping, coffee filter, tea bag etc.

Raw Material

  • Wood: Contain fibers from wood.
  • Agricultural residue: Fibers from straw, grass or other annual plants.
  • Recycled: Recycle or secondary fiber.

Surface Treatment

  • Coated: Coated with clay or other mineral.
  • Uncoated: No coating.
  • Laminated: Aluminum, poly etc.


  • Fine/ Course.
  • Calendered/ supercalendered.
  • Machine Finished (MF)/ Machine Glazed (MG).
  • Glazed/ Glossed.

Coated Paper

Paper that has a surface coating that has been applied to make the surface more receptive for the reproduction of text and images in order to achieve sharper detail and improved color density. By adding a coated clay pigment, the objective of coating the stock is to improve the smoothness and reduce the absorbency. Coated paper finishes can be categorized as matte, dull, cast, gloss, and high gloss.

Uncoated Paper

Paper that has no coated pigment applied to reduce the absorbency or increase the smoothness. The uncoated finishes can be described as vellum, antique, wove, or smooth.

Recycled Paper

It means that it includes a certain amount of Post Consumer Fiber or Post Consumer Waste. That can be trimmings, newspapers, chip board, office paper or other used paper. Newsprint that has not been inked would be considered fiber. After it is inked it becomes waste.

The percentage amount of this type of recycled matter varies greatly. However, there is a minimum amount that must be included for a paper to claim that it is “recycled”. That minimum is 20% at the present.

The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) does not define the term “recycled paper” but the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) says that paper may only be called “recycled” if it consists of 100 percent post-consumer recovered fiber and must be called “recycled-content” paper if the post-consumer recovered fiber content is less than 100 percent.

Mulberry Paper

A wide range of actual handmade and “handmade” papers. “Handmade” meaning that is has the rough look of actual handmade paper but it is in fact mass produced by machine.

Tracing Paper

Tracing paper is named as such for its ability for an image to be traced onto it. When tracing paper is placed onto a picture, the picture is easily viewable through the tracing paper. Thus, it becomes easy to find edges in the picture and trace the image onto the tracing paper.

If the fibers are refined and beaten until all the air is taken out, then the resulting sheet will be translucent. Translucent papers are dense and contain up to 10% moisture at 50% humidity. This type of paper is roughly 25% lighter than regular paper.

The sizing in production will determine whether it is for laser printer or inkjet/offset printing. Tracing paper may be uncoated or coated. Natural tracing paper for laser printing is usually uncoated.

Tracing paper is usually made from sulfite pulp by reducing the fibres to a state of fine subdivision and hydrolysing them by very prolonged beating in water. Tracing paper can be recycled and also can be made from up to 30% recycled fibre.

  • Translucent (Vellum)

It has a light source from behind it can give an ethereal look to the surface. Pure cellulose fiber is translucent, and it is the air trapped between fibers, that makes paper opaque and looks white. cannot be seen through clearly but light can pass through it which creates amazing effects.

  • Transparent

The material is completely clear and can see through it with no obstructions (like a sheet of glass).

Specialty Paper

Grades of paper and/or paperboard made with specific characteristics and properties to adapt them to particular uses. Also refers to grades made in a given mill that are not the primary products of that mill.


Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) is an international not for-profit, multi-stakeholder organization established in 1993 to promote responsible management of the world’s forests. Its main tools for achieving this are standard setting, certification and labeling of forest products.

Offset Paper

Paper designed for use in offset lithography. Important properties include good internal bonding, high strength, dimensional stability, lack of curl, and freedom from fuzz and foreign surface material. Used on both sheet-fed and web presses. This is commodity offset.

Text Paper

A paper of fine quality and texture for printing. Text papers are manufactured in white and colors, from bleached chemical wood pulp or cotton fiber content furnishes with a decked or plain edge, and are sometimes watermarked. They are made in a wide variety of finishes, including antique, vellum, smooth, felt-marked, and patterned surfaces-some with laid formations. Designed for advertising printing, the principal use of text papers is for booklets, brochures, fine books, announcements, annual reports, menus, folders, etc.


A Color Matching System (CMS) is a method used to ensure that colors remain as consistent as possible, regardless of the device or medium displaying the color. Keeping color from varying across mediums is very difficult because not only is color subjective to some extent, but also because devices use a wide range of technologies to display color.

Pantone Matching System (PMS) is a “solid-color” matching system, used primarily for specifying second or third colors in printing, meaning colors in addition to black, (although, obviously, one can certainly print a one-color piece using a PMS color and no black all).

A common problem occurs when one tries to achieve the look of a PMS color while printing 4-color process (4CP). The only truly accurate way to use a PMS color in a 4CP project is to add the PMS as a fifth color to the job, which can become expensive. By definition, 4-color process uses only four inks: Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, and Black, (also known as CMYK), and therefore cannot match a PMS color which, by its nature, is composed of PMS base inks.

One compromise lies in Pantone’s Process Color System, which attempts to simulate the PMS colors with CMYK inks. Once you have chosen your PMS color, you attempt to match it by choosing a similar 4CP color from Pantone’s Process System Guide. This will help ensure a close match and keep the color consistent through several batches.


Computer monitors emit color as RGB (red, green, blue) light. Although all colors of the visible spectrum can be produced by merging red, green and blue light, monitors are capable of displaying only a limited gamut (i.e., range) of the visible spectrum. Whereas monitors emit light, inked paper absorbs or reflects specific wavelengths. Cyan, magenta and yellow pigments serve as filters, subtracting varying degrees of red, green and blue from white light to produce a selective gamut of spectral colors. Like monitors, printing inks also produce a color gamut that is only a subset of the visible spectrum, although the range is not the same for both. Consequently, the same art displayed on a computer monitor may not match to that printed in a publication. Therefore for printed applications must convert all RGB files to CMYK.

Paper ISO Sizes A series

The ISO paper sizes are based on the metric system. The square-root-of-two ratio does not permit both the height and width of the pages to be nicely rounded metric lengths. Therefore, the area of the pages has been defined to have round metric values. As paper is usually specified in g/m², this simplifies calculation of the mass of a document if the format and number of pages are known.

Paper Size


Act of creating a line or depression in the paper that will help the paper fold. A simply folding to crease may look very unprofessional or the paper may even crack.