Paper guidelines

Selecting the correct paper or specialty media reduces printing problems. For the best print quality, try a sample of the paper or specialty media before buying large quantities.

Paper characteristics

The following paper characteristics affect print quality and reliability. Consider these characteristics when evaluating new paper stock.

Note: For detailed information on card stock and labels, see the Card Stock & Label Guide available on the Lexmark Web site at


The printer can automatically feed paper weights from 60–176 g/m2 (16–47 lb bond) grain long. Paper lighter than 60 g/m2 (16 lb) might not be stiff enough to feed properly, causing jams. For best performance, use 75 g/m2 (20 lb bond) grain long paper. For paper smaller than 182 x 257 mm (7.2 x 10.1 in.), we recommend 90 g/m2 (24 lb) or heavier paper.


Curl is the tendency for paper to curl at its edges. Excessive curl can cause paper feeding problems. Curl can occur after the paper passes through the printer, where it is exposed to high temperatures. Storing paper unwrapped in hot, humid, cold, or dry conditions, even in the trays, can contribute to paper curling prior to printing and can cause feeding problems.


Paper smoothness directly affects print quality. If paper is too rough, then toner cannot fuse to it properly. If paper is too smooth, then it can cause paper feeding or print quality issues. Always use paper between 100 and 300 Sheffield points; smoothness between 150 and 250 Sheffield points produces the best print quality.

Moisture content

The amount of moisture in paper affects both print quality and the ability of the printer to feed the paper correctly. Leave paper in its original wrapper until it is time to use it. This limits the exposure of paper to moisture changes that can degrade its performance.

Condition paper before printing by storing it in its original wrapper in the same environment as the printer for 24 to 48 hours before printing. Extend the time several days if the storage or transportation environment is very different from the printer environment. Thick paper may also require a longer conditioning period.

Grain direction

Grain refers to the alignment of the paper fibers in a sheet of paper. Grain is either grain long, running the length of the paper, or grain short, running the width of the paper.

For 60–176 g/m2 (16–47 lb bond) paper, grain long paper is recommended. For paper heavier than 176 g/m2, grain short is recommended.

Fiber content

Most high-quality xerographic paper is made from 100% chemically treated pulped wood. This content provides the paper with a high degree of stability resulting in fewer paper feeding problems and better print quality. Paper containing fibers such as cotton can negatively affect paper handling.

For detailed information on paper with recycled fiber content, see Using recycled paper and other office papers.

Unacceptable paper

The following paper types are not recommended for use with the printer:

Selecting paper

Using appropriate paper prevents jams and helps ensure trouble-free printing.

To help avoid jams and poor print quality:

Selecting preprinted forms and letterhead

Use these guidelines when selecting preprinted forms and letterhead:

Use papers printed with heat-resistant inks designed for use in xerographic copiers. The ink must be able to withstand temperatures up to 230°C (446°F) without melting or releasing hazardous emissions. Use inks that are not affected by the resin in toner. Inks that are oxidation-set or oil-based generally meet these requirements; latex inks might not. When in doubt, contact the paper supplier.

Preprinted papers such as letterhead must be able to withstand temperatures up to 230°C (446°F) without melting or releasing hazardous emissions.

Using recycled paper and other office papers

As an environmentally conscious company, Lexmark supports the use of recycled office paper produced specifically for use in laser (electrophotographic) printers. In 1998, Lexmark presented to the US government a study demonstrating that recycled paper produced by major mills in the US fed as well as non-recycled paper. However, no blanket statement can be made that all recycled paper will feed well.

Lexmark consistently tests its printers with recycled paper (20–100% post-consumer waste) and a variety of test paper from around the world, using chamber tests for different temperature and humidity conditions. Lexmark has found no reason to discourage the use of today's recycled office papers, but generally the following property guidelines apply to recycled paper.

Recycled paper, paper of lower weight (<60 g/m2 [16 lb bond]) and/or lower caliper (<3.8 mils [0.1 mm]), and paper that is cut grain-short for portrait (or short-edge) fed printers may have lower bending resistance than is required for reliable paper feeding. Before using these types of paper for laser (electrophotographic) printing, consult your paper supplier. Remember that these are general guidelines only and that paper meeting these guidelines may still cause paper feeding problems in any laser printer (for example, if the paper curls excessively under normal printing conditions).

Storing paper

Use these paper storage guidelines to help avoid jams and uneven print quality: