Which Way Does Your Paper Curl?

Do you know that just like us, paper has a good side, and a not-so-good side? And the good side is better for printing. Paper grain affects printing too, but we’ll save that excitement for another day. (Yes, I grew up in a paper mill town, thanks for asking.)

How do you figure out which is the good side?

If your paper is still in its package, look at the label on the end. There should be a small arrow that points to the good side. There might even be a label near the arrow that says, “Print this side” or something similar.
If there’s no label left on the package, or no arrow, you can check the curl of the paper. Hold a small stack of paper by the narrow edge, and either the sides or bottom edge should curl in a bit. That’s the curl side, and you should print on the other side.

In your printer, look for the symbols that show which side the paper will be printed on.

  • Load the paper so it prints on the good side.
  • If you’re printing on both sides, print on the good side first.

For even more fascinating paper facts you can read this Xerox publication (pdf), Helpful Facts About Paper.