What Is Loose Leaf Paper?

N. Farley

Loose leaf paper is a type of notebook paper that is usually sold in packages of individual sheets of unbound paper. It may be stored in a binder or folder. Most commonly used to take notes during classes or meetings, loose leaf paper includes lines that provide an orderly system for recording. This type of paper is generally not suited to drawing or for artwork, though some artists may use it to sketch out ideas. Most notebook paper is inexpensive, particularly when purchased in large packages.

Some notebooks contain bound sheets of perforated loose leaf paper.
Some notebooks contain bound sheets of perforated loose leaf paper.

Generally, loose leaf paper has three holes punched on the left side and is white with horizontal blue lines and a light pink margin line. It is frequently made from recycled or partially recycled materials, and may be available in either wide-ruled or college-ruled pages. College-ruled paper is typically used at the university level, as well as in many high schools. Wide-ruled paper is used in elementary schools or by individuals with large handwriting.

Loose leaf paper is often collected in folders or notebooks, making it easier to sort and carry.
Loose leaf paper is often collected in folders or notebooks, making it easier to sort and carry.

When purchasing loose leaf paper, shoppers may have the choice to purchase it in packages of varying quantities. It is usually sold in packages of at least 80 pages. The holes punched into the side allow for easy placement into three-ring loose leaf binders. A loose leaf binder also allows people the option to move papers around within it, so that notes can easily be reordered and organized. New pages can also be easily added whenever necessary.

Though many students use notebooks to take notes during class, they may prefer to use loose leaf paper for assignments that must be turned in. Loose leaf is not as messy as ripping pages out of a spiral notebook. When torn from its binding, spiral notebook paper will have ragged edges. This paper is specifically designed to remain clean and orderly. This gives it a more professional appearance to important work or assignments.

Some notebooks feature perforated sheets of loose leaf. The pages are bound together in a notebook, but each sheet has a perforated edge so that it can easily be torn out. When a sheet is torn from this type of notebook, it looks the same as a sheet of loose leaf paper sold in a package. This system provides the convenience of traditional school notebooks and the benefits of clean notebooks paper. Many students prefer this option, because they can keep all of their notes together and only remove pages when necessary.

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Discussion Comments


I remember going through a lot of loose leaf paper when I was in high school and college. Some of my teachers refused to handle paper torn from spiral binders unless we trimmed off the excess first. I would fill up a spiral binder at the beginning of the year with notebook paper and only open it to hand in my work. Sometimes a spiral notebook would start to fall apart halfway through the year, but a binder with loose leaf paper stayed much neater.


Every year my wife and I participate in a "Back to School" supply drive, and the first item on the list is always loose leaf or notebook paper. Some years we'll get together with other families and buy several reams of paper at a significant discount. We dole it out as needed to students who put in a request to their teachers.

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