Modern staples are made of steel wire that is plated with zinc, glued together and then bent to form the legs of the staple. Staples come in smaller sizes for paper applications. Larger sizes, for upholstery or construction work, are also produced, often galvanized to resist corrosion to outdoor exposure.
Paper staples are often used in place of paper clips because they are a more durable and permanent fastener. Paper staplers often can be set to "staple" or "pin" documents; the former bends the legs of the staple inward on the anvil while the latter bends the legs outwards, creating a more temporary and easily removable fastening point.
Surgical staples, made of medical-grade titanium and stainless steel, were used as a quicker alternative to sutures in wound closures from the 1960s through the 1990s. Clips and adhesives have, as of 2014, largely supplanted the use of surgical staples in connecting and closing tissue.