Graph paper

Regular graphing paper (upper); Log graphing paper (lower).

Graph paper, graphing paper or millimeter paper is writing paper that is printed with fine lines making up a regular grid. The lines are often used as guides for plotting mathematical functions or experimental data and drawing diagrams. It is commonly found in mathematics and engineering education settings and in laboratory notebooks.

Format and availability of graph paper

Graph paper is available either as loose leaf paper or bound in notebooks. It is becoming less common as computer software such as spreadsheets and plotting programs has supplanted many of the former uses of graph paper. Some users of graph paper now print pdf images of the grid pattern as needed rather than buying it pre-printed.

Types of graph paper

  • Quad paper is a common form of graph paper with a sparse grid printed in light blue or gray and right to the edge of the paper. This is often four squares to the inch for work not needing too much detail. It is sometimes referred to as quadrille paper.
  • Engineering paper is traditionally printed on light green or tan translucent paper. The grid lines are printed on the back side of each page and show through faintly to the front side. Each page has an unprinted margin. When photocopied or scanned, the grid lines typically do not show up in the resulting copy, which often gives the work a neat, uncluttered appearance. In the US, some engineering professors require student homework to be completed on engineering paper.
  • Genkō yōshi — A type of manuscript paper used in Japan, normally printed with 400 squares in two sets of 20 lines of 10, used for compositions written in horizontal script.
  • Hexagonal — This paper shows regular hexagons instead of squares. These can be used to map geometric tiled or tesselated designs among other uses
  • Isometric graph paper or 3D graph paper — This type is a triangular graph paper which uses a series of three guidelines forming a 60° grid of small triangles. The triangles are arranged in groups of six to make hexagons. The name suggests the use for isometric views or pseudo-three dimensional views. Among other functions, they can be used in the design of trianglepoint embroidery.
  • Logarithmic — This type of paper has rectangles drawn in varying widths corresponding to an logarithmic scales for semilog graphs or log-log graphs.
  • Normal probability paper — This type is another graph paper with rectangles of variable widths. It is designed so that "the graph of the normal distribution function is represented on it by a straight line."
  • Polar Coordinate — This type of paper has concentric circles divided into small arcs or 'pie wedges' to allow plotting in polar coordinates.

In general, graphs showing grids are sometimes called Cartesian graphs because the square can be used to map measurements onto a Cartesian (x vs. y) coordinate system. It is also available without lines but with dots at the positions where the lines would intersect.

Graph paper for games

Graph paper is also used for games, such as laying out virtual worlds in roleplaying games and designing new levels in grid-based games such as Minesweeper. Hexagonally tiled graph paper is particularly popular for wargames and roleplaying games because the number of hexes passed through is more constant for the same distance no matter what direction is moved, as opposed to a square tiling where distances are longer if one moves along the diagonal.

External links

  • Graph Paper Print free graph paper (in pdf format), and other graphs/charts.
  • GraphTablet – Free program to print graph paper.
  • Log Paper – A free program to build and print your own graphs.
  • Graph Paper Free 1/4 inch graph paper (in pdf format)
  • Graph Paper Free graph paper pdf generator.
  • Graph Paper Free printable graph paper (grid, math axis, isometric, polar, isometric dot, more).

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