What’s the difference between “mcs” and “gsm”?

Paper and card are graded either by weight or thickness. Most papers and cards are specified by weight in Grammes per Square Metre (gsm). This tells you that if you had one sheet of 80 gsm paper, one metre square of it would actually weigh 80 grammes. It is, of course, unlikely that you would have such a thing, but paper sizes are in fact a fraction of a metre square (AO), and you can therefore work out the real weight of a piece of paper. This is useful if you are checking postal weights or other delivery costs. See table of paper weights below.

Microns or mcs or µ measure the thickness of the paper or card in microns i.e. 1000th of a millimetre. So if you had a pile of 100 sheets of 500 mcs card it would be 50 mm (5 cm) high. Stock measured in microns tends to be mostly card and display board e.g. for Euroslotted packaging card hangers. Some card weights are also described as ‘2 sheet card’ (200 mcs), ‘3 sheet card’ (230 mcs), ‘4 sheet card’ (280 mcs) and ‘6 sheet card’ (380 mcs).

There is no general conversion between gsm and mcs, as it depends on the density of the material. A dense material (e.g. art paper) may not be very thick for its weight and a small pile of it will be quite heavy compared with a less dense material (e.g. pulp board).

Many individual materials do have a comparison table. You may also want to consider the rigidity of the card, as that is not necessarily guaranteed by its thickness. If you need samples of any materials, please ask us.

Grammes per
Square Metre (gsm)
Actual Weight of Sheet
A3 A4 A5 1/3 A4 A6
80 10g 5g 2.5g 1.67g 1.25g
90 11.25g 5.63g 2.81g 1.88g 1.41g
100 12.5g 6.25g 3.13g 2.08g 1.56g
110 13.75g 6.88g 3.44g 2.29g 1.72g
120 15g 7.5g 3.75g 2.5g 1.88g
130 16.25g 8.13g 4.06g 2.71g 2.03g
140 17.5g 8.75g 4.38g 2.92g 2.19g
150 18.75g 9.38g 4.69g 3.13g 2.34g
160 20g 10g 5g 3.33g 2.5g
170 21.25g 10.63g 5.31g 3.54g 2.66g
180 22.5g 11.25g 5.63g 3.75g 2.81g
190 23.75g 11.88g 5.94g 3.96g 2.97g
200 25g 12.5g 6.25g 4.17g 3.13g
220 27.5g 13.75g 6.88g 4.58g 3.44g
225 28.13g 14.06g 7.03g 4.69g 3.52g
240 30g 15g 7.5g 5g 3.75g
250 31.25g 15.63g 7.81g 5.21g 3.91g
270 33.75g 16.88g 8.44g 5.63g 4.22g
275 34.38g 17.19g 8.59g 5.73g 4.3g
280 35g 17.5g 8.75g 5.83g 4.38g
300 37.5g 18.75g 9.38g 6.25g 4.69g
330 41.25g 20.63g 10.31g 6.88g 5.16g
350 43.75g 21.88g 10.94g 7.29g 5.47g
400 50g 25g 12.5g 8.33g 6.25g

Posted in: Questions on Paper Sizes and Types

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