Lined paper is definitely something we take for granted these days; it’s hard to believe there was a time when every lined piece of paper was ruled by hand. Do you know what type of lined paper you prefer? This post is all about lined paper. We’ll discuss the different types of ruled paper available and what each is used for. We’ll also share a number of downloadable lined paper printables.
Scroll to the bottom of this article for 5 different lined pages to print for offices, students, and children learning how to handwrite. We have a printable for college paper, wide paper, handwriting paper, grid paper, and dotted paper.
Let’s make sure we don’t have our lines crossed and begin with a little lined paper history. 😅
What is Lined Paper?
Lined paper, also known as ruled paper, is paper printed with evenly-spaced horizontal lines in order for people to keep their handwriting linear and organized. The lines are usually blue and thin. Lined paper also often comes with two vertical lines on either side of the page, usually pink, to provide margins and tab stops.
Additional vertical lines may be used to create a grid for plotting data, such as graph paper, which is divided into squares by several evenly spaced vertical and horizontal lines.
Before paper was printed like this, the lines had to be drawn by hand. People either ruled their paper with a “hard point” or a “metal point.” A “hard point” was a sharp tool that left embossed lines on the paper without any ink or color. A “metal point” was a tool that left colored line marks on the paper, which looked similar to graphite, but other metals were used as well.
This went on for several centuries until 1770, when a man named John Tetlow received a patent for a line-drawing machine, which he called the “Tetlow,” named after himself. The British government described the device as a “machine for ruling paper for music and other purposes.”
Lined paper has evolved considerably since the 1770s and now comes in a wide variety of forms and types. Let’s discuss the different types of lined paper available and what each type is used for.
Types of Lined Paper
College Lined Paper
College lined paper, also known as college ruled paper, has 7.1 mm (9/32 inches) between its horizontal lines, and the vertical margin is 32 mm (1 ¼ inches) from the left-hand edge of the page. This is a very common form of lined paper. The lines are closer together to allow for more words on a single page.
It’s referred to as college lined paper to signify the writer’s maturity; they have ‘graduated’ from using wide lined paper and their handwriting is now smaller and more precise, so they don’t require the larger spacing provided by wide lined paper.
📝Looking for college lined paper? Check out our Mead Notebook College Ruled, Hole Punched Paper.
Narrow Lined Paper
Narrow lined paper has lines that are—you guessed it—closer together than other forms of lined paper. The lines on narrow lined paper are 6.4 mm (¼ inches) apart. It’s designed for people with very small handwriting and allows for more words on a single page.
It’s perfect for writing out all the ways you love your dog! Because that couldn’t possibly fit on a regular page!
Wide Lined Paper
Wide lined paper, also known as legal ruled paper, has wider lines than other forms of lined paper. Wide lined paper has 8.7 mm (11/32 inches) between its horizontal lines, and the vertical margin is 32 mm (1 ¼ inches) from the left-hand edge of the page. It’s often used by young students in elementary school to give them extra space as they learn to write numbers and letters, as well as by people who like to keep their handwriting big and bold.
📝Looking for wide lined paper? Check out our Notebook Wide Ruled, Hole Punched Paper.
Gregg Ruled Paper
Gregg ruled paper, developed by The Gregg Group, is specialized for stenography and shorthand writing. Shorthand writing is an abbreviated symbolic writing method designed to increase the speed and brevity of writing compared to longhand, which is the regular way we write. Many forms of shorthand exist, each with unique symbols and abbreviations of words and phrases that allow the writer to write as quickly as people speak.
Gregg ruled is three lines to the inch (11/32 inches), with a line down the center to divide the page into two columns—you write down the left side first and then switch to the right side. In courtrooms, stenographers used to have more columns on the page to denote when a new person started speaking.
While the use of shorthand in business, legal, and journalism recording has waned in recent years due to advancements in technology, it is still used as a personal tool.
Graph paper, also known as grid paper, is paper that’s printed with vertical and horizontal criss crossing fine lines that make up a grid. These lines are most commonly used as guides for plotting graphs of functions or experimental data as well as for drawing curves. It’s commonly found in laboratory notebooks and engineering and mathematics education settings.
There are many different forms of graph paper, including quad paper, which is the most common form, featuring a grid printed in light blue or gray that extends right to the edge of the page.
Another form of graph paper is dot grid paper, which uses dots as intersections instead of grid lines. Dot grid paper has recently become popular for creating unique spreads in bullet journals.
📚Learn more about Using a Bullet Journal for Work and Other Agile Organization Resources.
You may remember manuscript ruled paper from your childhood (if you can remember back that far 😅).
Manuscript paper, also known as handwriting paper, is designed to teach small children how to handwrite. The paper contains three lines in each set, and the middle line of each set is dotted. The space between these lines depends on the age of the group of children being taught. Lowercase letters (or, for example, the bottom part of the letter ‘d’) are written between the bottom line and the above dotted line. Uppercase letters occupy the entire space.
📝Looking for handwriting paper? Check out our Pacon 0.75 Inch Ruled Handwriting Paper.
Lined Paper Printables
Businesses, schools, and college students commonly buy blank writing sheets in bulk from office supply stores, but they are also available to print at home. If you only require a few sheets at a time, simply print out the lined paper you need with a regular printer. You can choose the type of lines and spacing you prefer, including an option for people or children who are learning how to handwrite.
College Lined Printable
Looking for some regular old lined paper? College lined paper is probably what you're thinking of. This paper has a wide range of uses in offices, homes, and schools. Use our printable lined sheets to print your own lined paper whenever you need some extra sheets or for specific crafting projects.
Big Lined Paper Printable
Do you like to have a lot of space on the page when you handwrite? Use our wide lined paper printable for lined pages with a bit of extra space. This type of paper is ideal if you are learning how to handwrite or if you like to use big and bold lettering.
Handwriting Paper Printable
Blank handwriting sheets are used for practicing your handwriting. The lines are wide, giving you the space to view the individual elements of each letter. Handwriting paper includes an additional dotted line in the middle to help learners distinguish the top and bottom parts of a letter.
Use our handwriting practice paper printable at home or at school for handwriting practice. Whether you’re brushing up on your cursive, learning to write with the English alphabet for the first time, or want paper for children to practice their handwriting on, this is the type of lined paper you need.
Grid Paper Printable
Grid paper has evenly spaced lines running horizontally and vertically. It is commonly used in mathematics, engineering, and field work.
Dotted Paper Printable
Dot paper is actually missing its lines and is characterized by evenly spaced dots that you can use to create your own lines. This type of paper is sometimes used instead of grid paper or by artists for creating perfect shapes.
Its most common use today is within bullet journals, a popular form of journaling that allows you to create your own calendars and spreads based on your own needs. The dots provide the creative freedom to design your own planner and create your own organizational systems. Dotted printables can be used to practice designing your spreads, to cover mistakes, or to add to your current designs.
A Guide for Every Type of Paper
We’re passionate about paper! We created a number of guides to help you choose the paper type you need for your home, classroom, or office.
📕 Copy Paper vs. Printer Paper and Other Types of Paper Stock Compared
📙 Types of Paper: Thickness, Dimensions, and More
📗 Receipt Paper: What is Thermal Paper vs. Bond Paper?
📘 Securing Your Documents: Security Paper, Commercial Paper Shredding, and More
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WHY is the word “feint” used for paper with horizontal lines?