May 12 2011

What is the basis weight of paper? Grammage?

Category: Printing & Publishing


Basis Weight Paper - GrammageAlso known as paper density, the weight of paper is often measured in different ways depending on your location. In the US, the basis weight is often expressed in lbs. (pounds) and is determined based upon the weight of 500 sheets (or a ream) of paper in basic sizes. The basic size of paper will vary depending on the paper grade (bond, text, book, cover, coated, etc.). For instance, a ream of 80# (# = pounds) “cover”, measured at 20″ x 26″, weighs 80 pounds. The same paper in “text” will still weigh 80 pounds but the sheet size will be different (thinner): 25″ x 38″. This can be confusing for some because, in order to compare different paper grades you would have to know the sheet sizes for each. This isn’t an issue in other parts of the world due to the way they determine paper weight or grammage. Grammage is a metric measurement of paper that is expressed in grams per square meter, regardless of paper grade. Most US paper suppliers sell paper with both, the metric (grammage) and basis weight listed on their reams. To be safe, always ask for samples from your local print shop. A good paper grade conversion chart can be found here.

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