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With a wide-format inkjet printer sitting contentedly on your desk and a plethora of advertising, scrapbooking, publishing or artistic ideas running through your head, you are faced with a pressing and important question: What type of paper should you use? There are almost as many varieties of printing paper as there are potential printing projects and each one is suited to a different feel and appearance. In this article, we will discuss the different types of inkjet paper, their specific applications and the top reason to use them.

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Plain Paper
Standard printing paper, the type that is typically packaged into  reams,  is the most commonly utilized paper for routine printing projects. This type of paper is very thin and absorbent, making it perfect for large, simple printing jobs that require rapid drying. This type of paper is not ideal for graphic-heavy documents, as an excess of absorbed ink will cause the paper fibers to swell and warp. This is most commonly manifested in a wavy appearance in the paper. This office paper is also not white enough for graphical printing; the dull gray-white color of the paper leads to a lower color fidelity, leading to colors in the graphics appearing dull or muddy.

Top reason to use this type of paper: Large volume text document production.

Coated Paper
Coated paper is similar to plain paper, but it is generally thicker and heavier with a coating of an absorbent material such as fine clay dust on one side. The thickness of the paper and the presence of the dust allow more ink to be absorbed into the paper without warping or ink spreading. This allows ink to be applied evenly across the paper without smudging, bleeding or oversaturation. Coated paper is also generally bleached using a substance such as titanium dioxide. This increases the perceived whiteness of the paper, granting it a wider and more accurate color gamut. There are three major types of coated paper:

Glossy
Glossy paper can be coated using a variety of different processes, including multicoating, resin coating and cast coating, all of which achieve the same basic result: a sheet of paper with a shiny finish. This type of paper is frequently used in photos of people, namely portraits. The high sheen grants a professional, polished look to the photo. This type of paper is best reserved for photography.

Top reason to use this type of paper: Portrait photography.

Luster/Semi-Gloss/Semi-Matte
These middle of the road papers attempt to combine the best of two worlds, compromising their individual identifying characteristics to embrace a wider variety of printing applications. It does not quite reach the reflective shine of the glossy paper nor does it have the dull, tactile appearance of the matte. But it excels at mixed-media documents. This is the ideal choice for a document with both text and graphics.

Top reason to use this type of paper: Mixed media documents.

Matte
Matte paper is a thick, coated paper with a dull finish. This matte finish forgoes the polish of a glossy finish to cut back on glare, allowing a document to be more easily read. The finish allows this paper to dry quickly, eliminating the thrilling  watching ink dry  phase of document production. This is the paper to use for important and official documents.

Top reason to use this type of paper: Official documents.

With this information, you can dazzle co-workers, employers and potential clients with your immaculate prints and presentations. With your new wide-format inkjet printer in hand and the appropriate printing paper sheathed in the media tray, nothing can stand between you and the world of professionally produced prints.

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