look good on paper

look good on paper

To seem plausible, acceptable, or adequate in theory, though it may not prove to be so in reality. Your idea looks good on paper, but I don't think it would work in a real-world environment. The strategy looked good on paper, but it proved to be much more complicated and time consuming than we had expected.
See also: good, look, on, paper

look good on paper

to seem fine in theory, but not perhaps in practice; to appear to be a good plan. The plan looks good on paper, but it may not work. This looks good on paper. Let's hope it works in the real world.
See also: good, look, on, paper

look good on paper

COMMON If something looks good on paper, it seems to be good when you read about it, but may not be good in reality. This system looks good on paper but it is expensive and, in my view, still of very limited value. Note: On paper is used in many other expressions with the same meaning. These reforms are more impressive on paper than in reality. All this theory sounds good on paper, but personally I don't agree with it.
See also: good, look, on, paper