Anchor Fine Paper Glossary

Below is a glossary of common paper terminology, click here to download a adobe_pdf_icon.png.

Acid Free

Acid-free papers are manufactured in an alkaline environment, which prevents the internal chemical deterioration of the paper over time. The addition of calcium carbonate as a buffer also makes the paper resistant to the effects of an external acidic environment.

Basis Weight

The weight in pounds of 500 sheets (one ream) of a standard basic size. For example, the standard basic size for text papers is 25" x 38”. A ream of basis 70 text sheets in that size weighs 70 lbs. The basic size for cover papers is 20" x28”. Weighing 500 sheets of any grade of paper in its proper basic size will determine its basis weight. In other words, 500 sheets of 17" x 22" 24-pound Bond will weigh 24 pounds.


An image that is printed to the edges of a page, or the ability of a press or printer to print an image to the edges of a page. A full bleed document is printed on a larger sheet and is trimmed to size, since ink or toner would foul press cylinders or belts if it actually extended off the edges of the paper.


Originally a term applied to cotton-content paper used for printing bonds and legal documents, and distinguished by strength, performance, and durability. Bond paper may now be made from either cotton, chemical wood pulp, or a combination of the two. Today, writing, digital, and cut-size papers are often identified with the bond scale.


General term for papers suitable for the graphic arts; may be coated or uncoated. Equivalent in weight to text papers.


Brightness is measured as the percentage of light in a narrow spectral range reflected from the surface of a sheet of paper. It is not necessarily related to color or whiteness. A paper with a brightness of 98 is an extremely bright sheet with almost all light being reflected back to the viewer. Bright white papers illuminate transparent printing inks, giving cleaner, crisper color.


Caliper is a measure of paper thickness expressed in thousandths of an inch. The micrometer is used to measure caliper.

Cast Coated

High-gloss coated paper manufactured by casting the coated paper against a highly polished, heated steel drum.

Chain of Custody

A systematic procedure for tracking a material or product from its origin to its final use.

Coated Paper

Made with a surface coating, which allows for maximum smoothness and ink holdout in the printing process. Coated papers are available in a range of finishes including gloss, silk, dull and matte.

Cover Paper

Also called card stock, these papers are heavyweight coated or uncoated paper with good folding characteristics. Their diverse uses include folders, booklet covers, brochures and pamphlets.

Cut Size

Paper cut to a small common size, usually 8.5” x 11” or 11” x 17”.

Deckle Edge

Produced in hand-papermaking by drainage under a wooden frame surrounding the hand mould. The rough edges on hand-made and some machine-made papers were originally considered an imperfection. The deckle edge came back in fashion with the handcraft revival in the last decade of the 19th century.

Digital Imaging Surface

A unique surface treatment for both uncoated and coated papers, specifically engineered to enhance paper:toner performance and yield increased print fidelity.

Digital Papers

Papers designed for the specific processes of the emerging digital printing technologies. Unlike traditional offset printing, the digital environment is centered in quick turnarounds, short runs, and the ability to vary printed information within the run. 

Double-Thick Cover

Stiff, durable cover papers produced by laminating together two pieces of equal-weight paper. The resulting sheet is heavy and strong, with excellent printing and folding characteristics.

Environmental Standard for Recycled Printing and Writing Papers or Coated Papers

Federal Standard (Executive order 12783) that establishes minimum content standards for printing and writing paper procured by federal agencies. Paper is divided into two groups based on end use: copier paper, computer print out paper, carbonless paper are one group; writing and office paper, book paper, cover stock paper are a second group. The minimum content for recycled material varies within each group.


Woven textile, originally wool but now usually synthetic, used to carry the web while moisture is pressed from it. While on the paper machine, the felt acts as a support for the paper web. Felts, if they are rough, can impart a felt finish to the paper.


Formation refers to the uniformity and distribution of fibers within a sheet of paper. In a well-formed sheet, solid ink coverage will go down smoothly. A poorly formed sheet will exhibit a mottled appearance when printed. Formation can be checked by holding the paper up to a light source.


Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) is a nonprofit organization that encourages the responsible management of the world’s forests and sets standards that ensure forestry is practiced in an environmentally responsible, socially beneficial and economically viable way.

Genuine Felt Finish

A finish applied to paper by means of marking felts while the paper web is still very wet. These felts impart their distinctive textures by gently rearranging the paper fibers. This creates a soft, resilient, textured surface suitable for printing and relief operations.

Grain Direction

As the paper web is carried forward on the machine, the majority of fibers orient themselves in the machine direction. When the web of paper is sheeted, the sheets will be grain long (fibers that follow the long side of the sheet) or grain short (they follow the short side). Grain direction should be considered during the design process for best results during printing, folding, and converting.

High Conservation Value Forest

Forests that possess one or more of the following attributes:

  • Forest areas containing globally, regionally or nationally significant concentrations of biodiversity values and/or large landscape level forests, contained within, or containing the management unit, where viable populations of most if not all naturally occurring species exist in natural patterns of distribution and abundance

  • Forest areas that are in or contain rare, threatened or endangered ecosystems

  • Forest areas that provide basic services of nature in critical situations (watershed protection, erosion control).

  • Forest areas fundamental to meeting basic needs of local communities and/or critical to local communities’ traditional cultural identity


The arrangement of pages on a press sheet so they are in the proper order when folded.

Ink Holdout

A characteristic of paper related to its capacity to keep ink sitting on its surface rather than absorbing into the sheet. Better ink holdout produces sharper printed images.


A linear pattern, which is applied by a dandy roll while the paper is still very wet, to mimic the effect of some hand-made papers. The laid dandy roll is comprised of wires that run parallel to the roll’s axis (laid lines), and chain lines, which connect the laid lines and run in the grain direction.


Acronym for Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission from Radiation. An intense, focused beam of light used in many imaging systems to produce images through electronic impulses.

Laser Paper

Very smooth, low-moisture papers manufactured in cut sizes for laser printers and office duplicating equipment. Low moisture prevents paper curling from high heat in laser printers. Note: If your job is designed to run through a laser printer, you should specify laser-compatible offset inks.


Halftone screens are measured in lines per inch. A low lpi indicates a coarse screen ruling; higher lpi’s indicate finer screens.

Linen finish

One of the many textured effects that is produced by embossing a web of paper with a patterned steel roll. Embossing takes place off the machine as a separate operation.

Machine Felt Finish

Rubber marking rolls apply a felt-type finish to paper right before the dryer section. This technique yields a softer surface than embossing, and better bulk. The surface is slightly harder than with a genuine felt finish. Though less natural in feel, a machine-felt texture is more economical and provides greater ink holdout because of its compact surface.

Moisture Content

The amount of moisture found in a sheet of paper. If the moisture content in a sheet is too high or too low, the paper can curl or build up static, which affects the way it runs through a press, printer or copier.


The weight, in pounds, of 1,000 sheets of paper of a given size.

Non-integrated Mill

A paper mill that does not have an on-site pulp mill and must purchase all the pulp it requires.

Offset Paper

Uncoated paper designed for use in offset lithography. Important properties include good internal bonding, high surface strength, dimensional stability, lack of curl, and freedom from foreign surface material.


Measure of the percentage of light passage through a sheet of paper. The more opaque a paper is, the less show-through there will be from printing on the sheet below. Basis weight, brightness, type of fibers, fillers, coatings, and formation all influence opacity. Generally, opacity and brightness are inversely related to each other: the brighter the paper, the less opaque.

Paper & Envelope Converter

A company that constructs various envelopes and other end-use products from parent-size sheets of paper.

Paper Grade

A system used to classify papers by their common features or content, such as recycled, coated, offset, opaque, or text and cover.

Paper Manufacturer

A company that makes web, sheet, and/or cut size paper and sells it through paper merchants and paper stores.

Paper Merchant

Anchor Paper is a paper merchant. We are a liaison between the paper manufacturer and the paper buyer and we offer a number of lines of papers and also offer advice to buyers on the best sheets to specify for particular jobs. Merchants sell paper and envelopes to printers.

Paper Stores

A retail outlet often run by a paper distributor, which sells paper in cut sizes to end users. Paper stores typically offer a larger assortment of premium printing papers and envelopes than Office Superstores, which tend to emphasize papers for xerography.


Process Chlorine Free refers to papers that contain post consumer recycled fiber that was processed without the use of any additional chlorine or chlorine compounds. If these papers also contain a percentage of virgin fiber, the virgin fiber must have been processed without the use of any chlorine or chlorine compound.


The characteristic of a paper’s surface that lets air pass through it.

Postconsumer Recycled Fiber

Fiber recovered for papermaking from post consumer waste paper. Usually referred to as “pcw” in swatch books.


Papers that contain post-consumer fiber can currently be called recycled. The Federal Executive Order calls for a 30% post-consumer fiber minimum for uncoated papers, and a 10% post-consumer fiber minimum for coated papers.


Sustainable Forestry Initiative. The Sustainable Forestry Initiative was developed in 1995 by the American Forest & Paper Association (AF&PA) and is comprised of management practices designed to ensure the future health and growth of forests.

Sludge (Paper)

The fiber and other components of papermaking that are recovered from wastewater treatment processes.


A nonprofit environmental organization whose purpose is to improve the effectiveness of sustainable forestry in conserving biodiversity and providing equity for local communities, fair treatment to workers and creating incentives for businesses so that they can benefit economically from responsible forestry practices.


The material upon which something is printed, usually paper, but sometimes a synthetic material.


Acronym for Specifications for Web Offset Publications.

Text & Cover Papers

A class of high-quality uncoated papers in a wide variety of colors and textures. Text is usually made with a matching or coordinating cover.

Uncoated Paper

Paper manufactured with no surface coating. There is a wide variety of grades and levels of quality among uncoated papers.

Vellum Finish

Natural or machine finish, like antique or eggshell. Considered to have more “tooth” than paper finish identified as smooth.

Waste Reduction Strategy

Adoption of practices that reduce the need for disposal of waste materials.


Designs formed in fine wire or in low-relief metal castings and sewn onto the dandy roll. The resulting thick and thin areas make the watermark slightly more translucent than the rest of the sheet. Watermarks were historically used to convey a sense of quality in letterhead papers.

Wire Side

The side of the sheet that rests on the paper machine wire as is moves through the wet end, as distinguished from the felt or top side.

Writing Paper

Suitable for pen and ink, pencil, laser printing or offset printing. Writing grades are designed for letterheads, corporate identity programs, and office copiers.