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Top Tips For Printing On Thick Card [Thick Paper/Cardstock]

Most people are so good at printing on standard copy paper size 8 ½ x 11, but when printing on cardstock in other sizes, they have limited or zero ideas on how to go about it. Regular paper is suitable for printing recipes, paperwork, and directions, etc. 

But if you’re planning to share an important message, create your customized business cards, or organize a particular party, standard sheets of printer paper won’t do the trick. Because cardstock is thicker than regular paper, generally, average home printers may struggle to handle printing on cardstock. So it is always important to double-check to be sure if your printer is capable of handling the task before you try to print.

Top Tips For Printing On Thick Card

thick cardstock

Here are some tips for printing on thick cards.

1. Ensure the Document Size is the same as the Paper Size

It is vital to ensure the document size matches the size of your cardstock paper you’re trying to print, or else your paper won’t print correctly. For instance, your document settings must be set at 5 ½ x 8 ½ if you want to print a size 5 ½ x 8 ½ cardstock.  

How to set your Document Size

Here will use Microsoft Word as an example of how to set your document/paper size. Instructions may vary if you’re using a different page layout program or word processing.

Identify the size of the paper.

In case you’re unsure of your paper size, you can always use a ruler to take the measurements of the height and width.

Confirm the settings of the Document are the same size as the cardstock.

In Word, you can find the document size under the Page Setup area.

Instructions for PC
  • Click File, and then select Page Setup
  • Click Paper tab
  • Under Paper Size, enter height & width dimensions in inches.
Instructions for Mac
  • Click File, and then select Page Setup
  • Click the dropdown to the right of the Paper size
  • If you see your Paper size, click it.
  • If you don’t see your Paper Size, click Manage Custom Sizes.
  • Under the Paper Size area, enter Height & Width in inches.

2. Enter your Custom paper Size in your Print driver

By default, your printer assumes that any paper in the tray is size 8 ½ x 11. Most people overlook this step of communicating the paper’s particular size they intend to print, resulting in incorrect printing. If you don’t plan to print on 8 ½ x 11 paper, you must let your printer know what you intend to do for it to print your non-standard size paper correctly.

You can adjust this setting in your print driver, and you can access it just before you send the document to print.

How to enter Custom Dimensions in the Driver

Unless you enter the Custom Dimensions, the printing will be incorrect. The error occurs because the paper size you’re printing may not be among the printer driver’s standard paper sizes.

Instructions for PC
  • Click File > Print > Properties
  • Find Page size, Paper size, or similar
  • Enter Custom paper size height & width
Instructions for Mac
  • Click File > Print > Page Setup
  • Click Paper Size dropdown
  • Click Manage Custom Sizes
  • Click “+” to add Size
  • Enter Custom Paper Size height & width

You may also interested in The 6 Best Printers for Stickers 2021

3. If you are unable to find the Custom Size option

In case you’re unable to enter a custom size of your paper, you should try to update your printer driver. Check your printer manufacturer’s official website for the latest print driver. After installing the Driver and still unable to enter the custom paper size, we recommend contacting the manufacturer and seeking professional assistance.

4. Set Landscape or Portrait orientation correctly.

In case your printed text is printing in the wrong direction or cutting off, you may have forgotten setting Landscape or Portrait orientation mode in your print driver, Document, or both.

Setting Orientation in Document

When you want to print on cardstock, you can decide if you want a wide printed piece, your document orientation is a Landscape, or if you want a tall printed piece, your document orientation should be a portrait.

Instructions for PC
  • Click File > Page Setup
  • Click Margins tab
  • Under the Orientation section, select either Landscape or Portrait

Instructions for Mac

  • Click File > Print > Page Setup
  • Under the Orientation area, select either the Landscape or Portrait icon.

Setting Driver Setup

Your printer can print either Landscape mode (Top-bottom printing) or Portrait mode (Left-right printing). So it would be best if you decided how you want your paper to be published.

Instruction for PC
  • Click File > Print > Properties
  • Find Orientation
  • Click either Landscape or Portrait
Instructions for Mac
  • Click File > Print > Page Setup
  • Under the Orientation area, select either the Landscape or Portrait icon.

5. Determine your Card Size

Every printer has a minimum and maximum paper size capable of printing, and usually, the range varies between models and makes. So if the paper you’re trying to print falls out of this range, it will not print it correctly. We recommend, before you purchase card sizes and custom papers, you should check the specifications of your printer to see if it can handle the card size you want to print.

6. Check if your printer supports the paper thickness/weight you want to print

In the same case as the size, every printer has a minimum and maximum weight or thickness it can print. You may encounter undesirable results if you print outside this range. A very thin paper may not be recognized by your printer, while a very thick paper may cause roller impressions or jamming.

7. Select an alternative Paper Type

In other cases, selecting a different paper type may improve printing. For instance, heavy-weight cardstock’s printing performance may significantly improve by just selecting alternative Paper or Media Type available in your printer driver.

How to change Paper Type in the Print Driver

Instruction for PC
  • Click File > Print > Properties
  • Find Media or Paper Type and click the dropdown list
  • Select the type that closely describes your paper.
Instruction for Mac
  • Click File > Print > Page Setup
  • Click third dropdown list (Under Printers & presets)
  • Click through the option and find the type labeled Finishing, Media Type, Quality & Media, or similar.
  • Select the type that closely describes your paper.

Read also: The 5 Best 11×17 Printers 2021 Color Laser Printers Wide-Format Print

8. Position the paper correctly in the paper tray

Almost everyone is used to loading 8 ½ x 11 copy papers into the printers, but how do we load the smaller papers? For example, how do you load 5×7 cardstock into your printer’s paper input tray? So it is essential to identify and load papers into your printer according to its guide format because other printers have one sliding guide while others have two.

Positioning the paper correct allows your printer to feed papers smoothly into the paper path and sets correct printing alignment.

You should align the paper with one plastic guide, while for the printer with two plastic guides, center the paper.


While often overlooked, printing on a thick card is not as easy as printing on regular paper. But this post clears everything up on printing on a thick card. So, go ahead and make those wedding cards, business cards, or any other messages that need special paper.

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