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Paper Buying Guide

Ah - the humble sheet of paper - or is it? Did you know - incredibly, it only takes 42 foldings of a piece of paper (standard paper here no funny tricks) to get from the Earth to the Moon, and only about 94 foldings of a paper to make something the size of the entire visible Universe. Here's how: a ream of paper is about 5 cmhigh. If that’s a 500 page ream we’re talking about, that means each individual sheet is about 0.01 cm high. By time you get to 9 foldings, the folded paper would be thicker than the original ream of 500 sheets. By time I’d get to 20 foldings, my folded paper is more than 10 kilometers high - what? Yes, 10km high, which is taller than Mount Everest!!! If you keep going, you’ll be in outer space after 24 foldings, you could reach the Hubble Space telescope after 28, and after 41 foldings, you’d finally be closer to the Moon than the Earth. So that means that 42 foldings is what it takes! And now you know how many times you'd have to fold a piece of paper to reach the Moon! Glorious!!!

“Only on paper has humanity yet achieved glory, beauty, truth, knowledge, virtue, and abiding love.” - George Bernard Shaw

What size paper do I need?

Paper can be a tricky area to navigate at times, with different weights, sizes, textures and finishes. To make it easier, we have put together a handy sizing guide to help you understand the difference between the most common paper sizes. Paper sizes in the UK are named using the letter A. The range starts at A10 (37mm x 26mm) and goes all the way up to A0 (1189mm x 841mm). The most widely used paper size is A4 (210mm x 297mm). It is commonly used for letters and it is the standard paper size for most home printers.

What Size is A5 Paper?


210mm (height) x 148mm (width)


148mm (height) x 210mm (width)

What Size is A4 Paper?


297mm (height) x 210mm (width)


210mm (height) x 297mm (width)

What Size is A3 Paper?


420mm (height) x 297mm (width)


297mm (height) x 420mm (width)

What Size is A2 Paper?


594mm (height) x 420mm (width)


1420mm (height) x 594mm (width)

What Size is A1 Paper?


841mm (height) x 594mm (width)


594mm (height) x 841mm (width)

What Size is A0 Paper?


1189mm (height) x 841mm (width)


841mm (height) x 1189mm (width)


With A sized paper, however many times you double the short edge or half the long edge, it will always have the same width to height ratio. For example, the dimensions of A4 paper are 210x297mm, and half of A4 equals A5, and double A4 equals A3. Starting from A0, all subsequent A paper sizes are determined by halving the paper on its longest size. A0 halves to become A1, which halves to become A2, all the way down to A10. So, the length of the smaller size is always equal to the width of the larger size. For example, the length of A4 is 297mm which is also the width of A3.


The Foolscap size, sometimes known as Folio, was an original size used in the British Commonwealth and Europe prior to the introduction of the international standard of the 'A' series, eg. A4. It measures 216 x 343 mm.

Our Bestsellers

Report Premium A4 White Copier Paper 75gsm Bx2500
Color Copy A4 Paper 100gsm White (Pack of 500) CCW0324
Stephens Assorted Coloured Card (Pack of 80) RS242451
Q-Connect Plotter Paper 610mmx45m (Pack of 6) KF17978

What paper weight should I choose?

As well as a range of paper sizes, there are various weights for different uses. Paper weight is generally measured in ‘Grams per Square Metre’ or GSM and is a measurement of paper thickness or density. The higher the GSM value, the heavier the sheet and thicker the quality. The thicker the paper, the more long-lasting the sheet will be. A thinner and lighter paper has a lower GSM. 80gsm is generally used as an everyday printing paper. See the table below for a general guide on the quality required for different applications. Standard paper weight details and their uses are included below for reference:

35-55 gsm
most everyday newspapers
70-75 gsm
suitable for everyday printing because less resources are required needs but more sustainable
80 gsm
suitable for everyday printing needs
90 gsm
provides better quality colour prints but is also suitable for general office use
100 gsm
a good quality paper for letterheads or executive mailings
120 gsm
suitable for letterheads as well as documents for presentations
160-300 gsm
for use in arts and crafts projects or for signs that are displayed on walls. Sometimes card is measured in microns, for example, 160gsm is 200 microns. Then you might need to consider the finish of the higher quality paper, such as Silk, Matt, Gloss and Hammer.
300+ gsm
good quality business card, or heavy card media

Sustainability / green claims

Almost all the paper we offer at MBM Omega has at least one environmental claim. Below is a short outline to give you a better understanding of what each claim comprises:

100% recycled
Contains post-consumer and/or pre-consumer recycled content. Contains 100% recycled content (by weight)
FSC certified paper is paper that has been harvested in a responsible manner. FSC is an acronym for the Forest Stewardship Council, which is an independent, non-governmental, not-for-profit organization that was established to promote the responsible management of the world's forests
The Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC) is an international non-profit, non-governmental organization dedicated to promoting Sustainable Forest Management (SFM) through independent third-party certification. It provides evidence that timber products originate from certified, well managed forests and verifies that they’re not mixed with products from uncertified forests at any point in the supply chain
EU Ecolabel
European certification helps you identify products and services that have a reduced environmental impact throughout their lifecycle, from the extraction of raw material through to production, use and disposal, compared to products without this certification mark
CO² neutral
Having a net zero carbon footprint, refers to achieving net zero carbon emissions by balancing a measured amount of carbon released with an equivalent amount sequestered or offset, or buying enough carbon credits to make up the difference. Must be third party certified, third party label must be available to use
Blue Angel
An environmental label introduced by the federal government of Germany. It is awarded to products which are of considerable benefit to the environment and meet high standards of serviceability and health and occupational protection. Factors considered include: economical use of raw materials during production and use, a long service life and a sustainable disposal. Where 100% recycled content is verified it guarantees that 100 percent of the paper fibres are from recovered paper
Nordic Swan
Is the official sustainability ecolabel introduced by Nordic Council. It encourages production methods that create the minimum environmental impact and contribute to sustainable consumption. The overall goal is to reduce the environmental impact from production and consumption of goods

Quality or production type related attributes:

Guarantees the performance of this paper in terms of documentation and archiving norms. It specifies the requirements for permanent paper intended for documents given in terms of minimum strength measured by a tear test, minimum content of substance (such as calcium carbonate) that neutralize acid action measured by the alkali reserve, maximum content of easily oxidized material measured by the kappa number, maximum and minimum pH values of a cold water extract of the paper. Is applicable to unprinted papers. Is not applicable to boards
ECF (Elementary Chlorine Free) en TCF (Totally Chlorine Free)


Paper whiteness is measured in CIE. This is a measurement of the amount of light reflecting off the sheet of paper and therefore how ‘white’ the paper appears- the higher the number, the whiter the sheet of paper will appear.