Paper Weight and Thickness
Taken together, the paper weight and thickness reveal how sturdy a stock is, with thicker, heavier paper providing greater durability than a thin, light one.
Paper thickness is usually considered when looking at cardstock and, in most cases, measures the thickness of paper in points, where one point equals one-thousandth or .001 inches. So, 10 pt. paper is .01 inches thick, 20 point is .02 inches, and so on.
In the United States, the weight of paper stocks is usually done in pounds, which is the actual weight of 500 sheets of the “basis size” of the paper in question. Since the basis size may vary, comparing paper weights can be hard to do. For example, a 28-pound multipurpose paper is probably not the same weight or thickness as a 28-pound premium or cardstock paper.
Lower numbers, including 20 pounds and 24 pounds, are the most common weights for standard copy and multipurpose paper, while higher numbers indicate a heavier, thicker sheet.
In most cases, the thicker the sheet, the heavier it is, although there are cases where a dense paper can be heavy without being thick.
The weight and thickness of the paper used in a printing job can make a big difference in its quality and cost. For example, mailed pieces are usually charged by weight, so lighter, thinner stocks may work well. Professional presentations, resumes, and correspondence often call for heavier, thicker stocks, as do jobs that aim for archival quality.