At one time, governments ordered Grade 1 bond for their copying needs. It was the most expensive grade except for paper with cotton fiber content. Grades are determined by brightness levels. Brightness measures how light is reflected from the paper. Brighter paper looks whiter whether it is or not. Fluorescent agents or other additives fool the eye. Minimum brightness levels are:
•Grade 1 85
•Grade 4 79
•Grade 5 74
•Grade N 55
Brightness is being dropped from specifications because it is an aesthetic, not a functional, characteristic. Since all grades have the same functional performance characteristics, nearly all governments now select Grade 4. Some order "natural" or Grade N.
Copy paper is sold in cut sizes rather than in rolls. At one time there were many specialty grades like mimeo, duplicator, xerographic and laser papers because the paper had to work with very different reproduction equipment. Today, as impact, laser and xerographic copying replaces older methods, buyers order a single type, or dual-purpose, paper. The standard sizes are:
•8 1/2" x 11"
•8 1/2" x 14"
•11" x 17"
Weight and Thickness
Basis Weight: Users specify copy paper by basis weight expressed in pounds (# or lb.) or in sub weights which mean the same thing. Standard copy paper weights are 16 lb., 20 lb. and 24 lb., with 20 lb. the most frequently used by governments. Usually, the heavier the weight, the thicker and more expensive the paper.