You bought a nice vintage typewriter and want to start writing. So what paper is best for your typewriter?

Look for uncoated paper

Since the quick punch of the type hammer alone needs to get the letters on the paper, good typewriter paper is typically very absorbent. Uncoated paper, or laser copy paper, will usually work fine with any typewriter.

Don’t use special inkjet printer paper. It’s not as absorbent as copy paper because it’s designed to stop wet ink from running or bleeding.

Avoid extra thin, low-quality paper

Many say that heavier paper can be more difficult to handle, especially when you’re using a portable typewriter with a temperamental paper feeder.

However, bear in mind that the rubber platen of old typewriters is often hard and worn out. Very thin, low-quality paper (< 80gsm) will simply rip when you type – not great as this can also damage the platen.

Specialised Typewriter Paper

If you go for lighter than 80gsm sheets, avoid budget paper and make sure it’s at least advertised as special typewriter paper, which is more likely to withstand each keystroke of your mechanical typewriter.

Cotton Paper – an alternative to wood paper

Some typewriter users prefer cotton paper (or rag paper), which is made of cotton fibres and typically has a soft, natural texture. Paper sheets made of cotton is said to be stronger and more durable than wood-pulp based paper. Another advantage ist that cotton paper absorbs ink evenly without blotting.

Onion skin paper – thin, light, durable

Thin and strong paper is hard to find, with the exception of onion skin paper. Light-weight, almost translucent yet extremely durable, onion paper has been used for centuries as typewriter paper or tracing paper.

If the paper still rips while typing, try using a sheet of backing paper to support your paper.

As a rule of thumb, any uncoated paper from 80-100 gsm weight should usually work well with your typewriter without needing a backing paper.

Choose a special paper that suits the occasion

Not everyone receives a real typewritten letter these days! You wouldn’t want to send a thank-you note or personal invitation on simple, everyday white paper.

Be creative and choose more unusual paper stock that underlines your special message.

Motif paper can be a great choice if you want something unique that won’t break the bank.

Try to scout eBay for old style paper or get a cheap paper trimmer to cut any A4 paper down to A5, or A6.