A4 Paper 101: Quick guide to choosing A4 paper for your office

Have you ever been in a dilemma of choosing which A4 paper is the most suitable for your office?  

You may think all papers are made equal but there are certain differences in these 210 mm by 297 mm papers and no, we’re not just talking about it in terms of the paper’s colour. 

We are here to guide you through choosing the right A4 paper for your office usage.

1) Know Your Paper Lingo

Here’s a good opportunity to expand your vocabulary while picking up some A4 paper selection tips.

In order to know what type of A4 paper is the right choice for your company, you’ll need to know some A4 paper jargon so you know what you’re purchasing.


When it comes to units of quantifying paper, “reams” would be the main measurement unit you should pay attention to.

A ream of paper refers to a packaged stack which has a standard amount of paper.

Usually, one ream would have 450 to 500 sheets of paper.


GSM is an acronym for another measurement unit  for paper.

‘GSM’ stands for grams per square meter  which basically measures the density of a sheet of paper.


A paper’s opacity means the amount of light that can be passed through a paper. In other words, it’s paper’s translucency.

The paper’s opacity plays a role when it comes to double-sided printing.

A good tip to check if your paper is too transparent is to hold it under your office light, if the reverse side is visible from the page you’re facing, then your paper has low opacity.

2) Paper Weight Matters

The most common A4 paper weight you’ll come across for office use would be 70 gsm and 80 gsm.

And if you think 10 grams makes no difference when it comes to selecting papers, think again.

Here’s a breakdown of the differences between two, and while we may be biased towards 80 gsm, we included valid reasons on why you should consider choosing the heavier of the two.

80 gsm A4 Paper

80 gsm is the standard weight for your printing needs. Using 80 gsm paper will do wonders in easing your printing and photocopying headaches.

It’s weight is ideal for printing as it has just the right thickness considering the fact anything above that, for instance 120 gsm and above would be more suited for distributional material like flyers and business cards.

70 gsm A4 Paper

Unless you service your office printer regularly, you might want to consider staying away from 70 gsm A4 paper. Papers with this density may be more suitable for sketching and writing purposes.

The lighter of the two most common A4 paper weights may cause paper jams to occur more frequently since they’re so thin they tend to stick together while printing multiple documents, hence the paper jam.

Due to its thinness, these papers may leave behind a residue of paper dust build up in your printer. Though they may not be the most printer friendly, 70 gsm would be your go-to paper density for copying.

3) Brands

You know the saying, “to each his own”  which means everyone is entitled to their own preference and that applies to choosing the right A4 paper as well.

Your company may be loyal to using the same A4 paper brand for years, but here are some of the brands that are commonly used: Double A, PaperOne and IK Yellow.

4) The Selection Process

Now that you’re equipped with the right paper vocabulary and the knowledge of knowing the difference between 70 gsm vs 80 gsm A4 paper, you’re probably wondering, “how do I actually begin the selection process?

Here’s a few questions to ask yourself before purchasing the right A4 paper for your office:

What are my printing needs?

Knowing what your printing needs are is important when it comes to selecting the right paper.

If you are in a company that’s very print intensive and prints the typical everyday documents such as invoices or purchase orders, it’s best to stick to an 80 gsm A4 paper.

You wouldn’t want your productivity to be halted  by a paper jam because you decided to go with a 70 gsm A4 paper, which is the paper jam culprit.

How many reams should I get?

Typically, a box of paper contains 5 to 10 reams of paper. If you do the math, one ream has a maximum of 500 sheets of paper and with a 10 ream box, that will supply you with 5000 sheets of paper upon purchase!

The amount you decide to purchase once again depends on your printing needs, but now you should narrow down the question to “how much do you typically print on a daily basis?”

This may depend on the industry your company is in.

Usually, accounting and law firms are heavy paper users. So if you’re working in those firms or in a department at a multi-national company, chances are you would need a box that has 10 reams of paper.

For smaller companies with 1-20 employees like start-ups and SMEs, you may want to purchase lesser reams.