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As long as you have a decent quality home printer, or access to the office machine, you may as well save some money and print your own cards. This guide covers the technical paper and printer instructions for professional-quality cards. The graphic design elements are up to you or to an artistic friend who owes you a favor.

Look up your printers maximum cardstock weight before you buy the paper. Most business cards are printed on 80 lb cover weight cardstock (215 grams per square meter), while some businesses prefer more durable paper up to 110 lb (200 GSM).

If using a home printer, check the manual to find its maximum paper weight. Cardstock too heavy for the printer may cause jamming, or (on a laser printer) flaking images.

Many printers have a manual feed slot, usually behind a back panel, that sends thick paper through a straighter path, reducing the chance of bending or jams.

On some printers youll adjust the rear tray instead; follow the manual instructions for printing on envelopes.

Glossy paper may damage incompatible laser printers.

Inkjet printers require coated cardstock for a crisp image.

Most home printers use dye inks. If yours uses pigment ink (which is a little duller but fade-resistant), it will not print properly on some types of coated cardstock.

Consider saving yourself some cutting effort by printing on perforated business card paper. Choosing the standard size for your area is usually the most convenient option:

Standard business cards in the United States measure 2 x 3½ (51 x 89mm).

The most common European size is 55 x 85 mm (2.12 x 3.37).

Chinese business cards are usually 54 x 90mm (2.13 x 3.5). Japan and Korea use slightly different sizes.

You may go with non-perforated paper, but using a paper cutter is tedious for large numbers of cards. Automated business card cutting machines are faster, but can be very expensive.

If you havent already, sketch out your basic business card layout. Make sure to include the following information:

Business logo and name as the most prominent information.

Phone, email, website, mailing address, and/or other contact information. Emphasize methods your customers use most.

Microsoft Publisher is designed for graphic layout of printed documents, but does not come with all versions of Office Suite. These instructions apply to Publisher 2010 and later:

. Select the template that matches your design best.

To match the size of pre-scored sheets, choose a template listed under the sheet manufacturer, or adjust size under

Click placeholder text and logo to insert your own design. Experiment with menu options for greater customization.

Word does not provides as many templates or as many tools for adjusting your design, but it works for basic designs. Here are three ways to get started on most versions of Word (2010 or later for Windows, 2011 or later for Mac):

To make your own design from scratch, click the

Avery and other business card sheet manufacturers may offer additional downloadable templates on their website.

Add a reverse side to the business card (optional).

pane, right click the current pane, and select

. Choose the layout option that best matches the design of your back.

Keep all vital information on the front side. The back is for a tagline, mission statement, or other less important info and leaving it blank is a common choice.

Make sure the margin widths and number of copies per sheet are identical on both sides. Testing on ordinary, cheap paper first is recommended to ensure the two sides align exactly.

If you selected the template that matched the product youre printing on, it should set your printer to the correct settings automatically. Otherwise, select

and adjust the numbers under Multiple copies per sheet to match your paper product.

For two-sided business cards, look for a duplex option in the settings. If your printer does not have duplex capability, you will need to print just the front side, then flip the paper and reinsert it before printing the back.

Start with one page on ordinary, cheap paper to test the alignment. Hold two-sided cards up to a light to make sure the front and back align.

Do I have to add my home address on a business card?

No. You could have as little or as much contact information as you like on your card.

Include your email address to get a message when this question is answered.

If the business cards do not meet your quality standards despite choosing appropriate cardstock, your home printer may not be up to the task. Try to get access to an office printer, or purchase a higher-end home printer model with good reviews from other home business owners.

Local print shops or online business card printers provide higher quality than most home printers, but can be significantly more expensive, especially if you need to ship a large order.

To print your own business cards, check your printer manual to determine the maximum cardstock weight it can handle. Most business cards are printed on 80-110 lb cover weight cardstock. For crisp, clean edges, choose cardstock which is already scored. After you design your card, set your printer so it will print the correct number of cards per sheet, and test the alignment on regular printer paper. Once youre sure its right, feed the cardstock into your printer through a manual feed if you have one, so the cardstock wont be bent.Keep reading for tips on designing your cards!

This article was co-authored by our trained team of editors and researchers who validated it for accuracy and comprehensiveness. Together, they cited information from17 references.

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