What is the difference between matte and glossy paper?

When you go to print a document or picture, you need to pick the kind of paper to be used. One of the questions is: "matte paper or glossy paper?". So what does matte means? and what about glossy? Well, the difference between matte and glossy paper is shininess (or its lack) of the paper.

Some tips to get in mind.

First of all, the type of paper depends on the content of the files. The percentage of images, photographs and text. And, of course, your taste. Here is a brief help in each kind of paper.

Matte paper has a more muted feel to it. This can be used to great effect in designs with a light or pastel color scheme, and in designs with a great deal of text on it. Because matte paper changes less under the light, they also have more of a "flat" feel than gloss sheets.

Glossy Paper have a shiny look, that reflects light, and you get vibrant rich colors, which makes the color in your images pop on the sheet. We can say that the shine works well on print files with heavy color coverage, photographs and big graphics. It is appealing to the eye, but it has higher contrast. It is the standard finish we are now used to seeing but it can be hard to view under strong light sources, and fingerprints and dirt can be a problem.

A Non-Glossy (or Matte) Paper does not reflect light: it has a more muted feel to it. Black and white prints may look better with this finish, specially when text is the main actor in the file. It is easy to view under all light conditions and does not attract fingerprints or dirt, but colors are kind a dull looking and do not appear to be high quality prints. Photo paper looks and feels like ordinary stock paper.

Finaly, we have the Semi-Gloss (or Satin Finish) Paper, that is has less shiny surface and reflects less light although we get vibrant rich colors and appealing to the eye. It is easier to view under strong light and fingerprints and dust less of a problem.