How to Convert Paper Weights

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The weight of a certain type of paper is presented differently depending on the location where the paper is being produced and sold. In the United States, each specific type of paper is measured in pounds per 500 standard-sized sheets, and different types of paper have different standard sheet sizes. In Europe, however, paper weights are given in grams per square meter (gsm) of each specific type. To make good comparisons, a paper weight conversion chart or automatic converter is necessary to convert pounds to gsm.

Determine the type of paper whose weight you wish to convert. As an example, take regular copier bond paper, otherwise known as standard computer printer paper. This paper has a standard sheet size of 8 1/2 by 11 inches.

Determine the weight in pounds of the paper you wish to convert to gsm. Generally this measurement is listed on the paper’s packaging. For example, standard copier bond paper is usually cited as 20-lb. paper, which means that 500 sheets of this paper weigh 20 lbs.

Locate the type of paper on the conversion chart. The line for that particular type of paper will contain columns of the weight comparisons. In our example, find “Bond” in the first column of the conversion chart.

Locate the pound measurement of the type of paper you wish to convert. Some papers have more than one standard pound weight. For example, bond paper is manufactured in 20-, 24- and 28-lb. weights.

Follow the line of the chart for the type and weight of paper you wish to convert until you find the column that states the gsm for that type. In our example, the line for bond 20-lb. paper will have a column stating a gsm value of 75.2, which means that one square meter of a sheet of this paper weighs 75.2 g.

Tips

• For gsm-to-pound conversions, use the same steps as above and start with the gsm column to find the pound column.

You can find automatic paper converters online.

Warnings

• Be aware that every paper manufacturer will have a unique variation on paper types. This means that the paper weights may differ slightly from those produced by other manufacturers. Make sure you use the conversion chart provided by the manufacturer of the paper type you wish to convert.