What Is Bond Paper?

The Many Uses and Types of Bond Paper

Wave of papers
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Especially suitable for electronic printing and use in office machines including copiers and network and desktop printers, bond paper is a strong, durable paper. Bond paper is typically used for letterheads, stationery, business forms, and a variety of documents produced with inkjet and laser printers. For example, the invoices you get in the mail are often printed on bond paper.

Paper Size

Bond paper has a basic size of 17 inches by 22 inches and a basis weight of 20 pounds and is characterized by erasability, good absorption, and rigidity. A paper's basic sheet size is determined by the paper's weight, measured in pounds of 500 sheets of paper. 

That does not mean that bond paper only comes in large sheets and must have a 20-pound weight. That is only its "basic" size and weight. Bond paper can come in 13 to 25-pound weights. It can also come in a variety of sizes, such as standard letter page size, 8.5 by 11 inches, which is most commonly used for correspondence, records, and invoices; half-size paper, 5.5 by 8.5 inches, which is most commonly used for records, invoices, and statements; legal size, 8.5 by 14 inches; and ledger size, 11 by 17 inches.

Paper Quantities

Bond paper sold in office supply stores typically comes in letter size reams of 500 sheets, individually, or by the case. White is the most common color but bond papers can come in pastels, neon brights, and other assorted colors such as the colorful Pacon brand of bond papers.

Smaller packs of specialty bond paper with designs or special finishes may come in smaller packs of 50 to 100 sheets. These are often sold for use as do-it-yourself letterhead or flyers. Also good for use as a writing paper, bond papers come in a variety of finishes and textures including cockle, laid, linen, and wove.

Other Paper Specifications

Other specifications found on packages of bond paper are brightness, coated and uncoated, as well as watermarked or not.


Brightness measures the amount of reflectance of a specific wavelength of blue light. Brightness is measured on a scale of 0 to 100. The higher the number, the brighter the paper. In other words, 95 bright paper reflects more light than an 85 bright paper, therefore appearing brighter. ​

Coated Verus Uncoated

Coated paper restricts the amount of ink that is absorbed by the paper and how the ink bleeds into the paper. This is desirable for sharp and complex images as the ink stays on top of the paper and will not wick or bleed reducing the sharpness of the printed material. Uncoated paper is generally not as smooth as coated paper and tends to be more porous. Uncoated paper is generally used for letterhead, envelopes and printed material that is aiming for a more prestigious or elegant look. 

Watermarked Paper

Watermarked paper is an identifying image or pattern in paper that appears as various shades of lightness or darkness when viewed by transmitted light or when viewed by reflected light, which is caused by thickness or density variations in the paper. If you hold the paper up to the light, you should be able to see an identifying mark or brand coming through the paper.

When it comes to stationery, a watermark is perceived as being elegant and sophisticated. Paper currency is usually printed on watermarked paper as an anti-counterfeiting measure.