How to Choose What Paper to Print on Using an Inkjet Printer

by Rich on June 2, 2009

Ink and paper are the two consumables you’ll need to buy most often for your printer. There are many types of paper on the market, each designed for different uses. Here’s a run-down of the types of paper you’ll find in stores-and what they’re designed for.

Matte Paper. A bit heavier than bright white paper, matte paper is a type of paper that’s less shiny than glossy. The ink on matte paper is less likely to smear or be damaged by fingerprints, but the print isn’t as vibrant and colourful as what you’d see on a glossy print. Matte paper can be used for regular colour printing or photo printing. Types of matte paper include premium grade, photo-quality matte, semi-matte and double-sided.

Glossy Paper. Typically used for printing photos, this type of paper produces a sharp, vibrant print that looks like a traditional photo. It’s easy to mar these prints with fingerprints or dust, so it’s important to keep them behind glass in picture frames and handle them carefully. You can buy glossy paper in several different variations, including colour-life paper, which is designed to keep colours bright over time, as well as semi-gloss and premium-grade.  Printer manufacturers typically produce brand-specific glossy photo papers to work with individual printer models.

Bright White Paper. The staple in every home and office printer and copier, bright white paper is a basic all-purpose paper used for printing documents and images.  It’s designed to have a smooth, non-textured surface, and can be printed on both sides.  The colour, while the shade of white might vary from brand to brand, tends to be a crisp, brilliant white with cool blue undertones, designed to make black text and colours stand out.  Bright white paper is generally designed to work with all brands of Inkjet printers.

Resume Paper. When printing a resume to give to employers, it’s rarely advised to use simple white paper. Many job search experts advise using a special paper that’s heavier and more expensive-looking than typical bright-white paper, making your resume stand out in the stack. That’s where resume paper comes in.

Resume paper is designed to look and feel high-status, and there are several different varieties of paper on the market. In terms of colour, it’s better to go with traditional whites, ivories, or a slightly off-white shade. Textures on the market include fine linen, parchment and bamboo-all designed to make your resume stand out to the touch and encourage recruiters to take a look.

Good resume paper often comes with a watermark indicating quality. The mark should be visible when the paper is held up to the light, but not when lying flat. If you buy paper that has a watermark, make sure the mark is facing the same direction as the text in your resume so that recruiters don’t have to flip your resume over to read it.

In most cases, the more formal the job you’re going for, the more conservative your paper-choose a fine linen texture in a brilliant cool white shade for jobs in law, finance and business.

Card Stock. Card stock is a sturdy, thick paper often used in scrapbooking, signage, and printing business cards or postcards.  It’s available in a number of different weights, and is often the thickness of an index card. It can come in many colours, from traditional white to reds, greens and blues. Bear in mind that some heavier card stocks won’t work in certain printers; be sure to ask the salesperson at your store to make sure the type of paper you buy is compatible with your printer.

There are many different types of printer papers available on the market-but not all are created with the same purpose in mind, and not all will work in every type of printer. Even a non-brand-specific paper that’s generally designed to work with every printer may not function in yours-this is especially true with card stock, as heavier paper weights will jam in some printers. Some papers are designed to make your document stand out from the crowd-consider resume paper, which can give your resume a weight and texture that lends it a sense of prestige. With the right paper, your colours will be brighter, your black text will stand out more, and your document will stand out.

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