The physical structure and chemical properties of coating layer have an important influence on transferring and setting of the printing ink. The typical objective of coating is to improve the appearance and printing properties of paper. In this study, the effect of drying condition on coating layer structure, surface properties, and print quality was investigated. The relationship between surface topography and drying condition was explored using scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and atomic force microscopy (AFM). The conclusions were drawn that high and low drying temperature were not good to the paper properties, which resulted in high roughness, low paper gloss, high ink absorption, low print gloss and paper surface efficiency. The findings indicated that the coating drying temperature affected the pore size, depth and distribution of the coated paper surface. Moderate temperature was benefit to pigment particles and binder arranging orderly, which made the coating surface had high smoothness, gloss, paper surface efficiency, and modest ink absorption.