Copy paper type and how to select them

Copy paper is used on a regular basis, but most may be unaware of its types and uses. In this article, we will explain the different types and characteristics of copy paper and how they can be selected.

What is copy paper?

Copy paper is known as plain paper or PPC paper. Among them, there are different types such as fine paper with a very white surface and recycled paper with a slightly darker surface. Surface-treated processed paper includes glossy paper and matte paper.

How to choose copy paper

One way to choose copy paper is based on the type of paper.

Non-processed paper

Processing: No surface treatment

Applications: Inkjet printers, laser printers

Caution: Proper storage location is required as it is sensitive to moisture.


Plain paper

PPC stands for Plain Paper Copier, which translates to plain paper copier.

High-quality paper

This paper has a chemical pulp content of 100%. It is used in inkjet printers, laser printers, and fax machines. It produces good quality when used in normal printing, but it is not suitable for photo printing due to ink blurring.

Recycled paper

Although the paper whiteness of copy paper is lesser than that of fine paper with 100% chemical pulp content, an increasing number of companies are using recycled paper from the standpoint of choosing environmentally friendly products.

Coated paper

Finishing: Glossy surface, etc.

Applications: Printing of photographs, pictures, etc.

Note: Higher price than non-processed paper.


Glossy paper

Gloss-coated paper. It is mainly used for printing photographs. It cannot be used in laser printers because the surface gloss may melt.

Matte paper

The gloss level is low because of its matte coating. This makes for a soft finish and is widely used for postcards and photographs.

Coated paper

The surface of the paper is coated with a coating agent and processed by a machine to make it uniform, resulting in a smooth and glossy surface. Coated paper is recommended when high printing quality is required, as it enables printing of highly saturated colors, such as photographs, and looks good. It is often used for commercial printing.

Selecting by whiteness

The whiteness of paper is measured on a scale of 0% to 100%, with a higher number indicating a higher degree of whiteness. General copy paper typically falls somewhere between 80% and 95% on the scale, while low-whiteness newsprint is usually around 55%. Recycled paper, which is environmentally friendly and bears the Eco Mark, has a whiteness of approximately 70%. However, the whiteness of recycled paper is typically lower than that of general copy paper, as the whiteness decreases when the paper is recycled more.

Selecting by basis weight

Basis weight is a unit of measure for the weight of paper. It is determined by the thickness of the paper and is expressed in grams per square meter. General copy paper has a basis weight of 64 to 68 g/m2.

The basis weight of general copy paper is 64 to 68 g/m2. The higher the basis weight value, the stronger the paper.

Paper thickness refers to the thickness of the paper, and is typically expressed in mm or microns. However, in the printing industry, weight is generally used instead of thickness, with ‘kg’ being used instead of ‘mm’. This weight is called the continuous weight, and is usually based on a stack of 1,000 sheets. The thicker the stack, the thicker the paper. There are several standard sizes for printing paper, but thickness is often expressed using the 46 notation.

Selecting by size

A series

A size standard that originated in Germany. International standard called 'ISO 216' that defines paper sizes around the world.


A0(A times)

841mm x 1189mm

Posters and CAD drawings for learning purposes

A1 (A full size)

594mm x 841mm

General posters


420mm x 594mm

Posters and wall calendars


297mm x 420mm

Brochures and restaurant menus


210mm x 297mm

Most popular size used in Japan for copy paper.


148mm x 210mm

Delivery notes or order forms


105mm x 148mm

Paperback books

B series (printing)

B series paper size originates from ancient Japanese standard measurements. It is a domestic standard based on the official Mino paper during the Edo period (1603-1868). It is also used in China and Taiwan, but note that it is not compatible with the international standard, B-print.


B0(B times)

1030mm x 1456mm

Station posters

B1 (B full)

728mm x 1030mm

Map posters


515mm x 728mm



364mm x 515mm

Train advertisements


257mm x 364mm

Newspaper inserts


182mm x 257mm

Dictionaries, textbooks, notebooks


128mm x 182mm



Knowing how to select copy paper not only by its size, but also by its type and use will provide you the best quality output when using paper while printing or copying.