Read on to learn all about U.S. and international paper sizes. We mainly focus on legal formats versus letter sizes, but you`ll also find A-series paper dimensions as well as a dimensional chart that breaks down inches, millimeters, and the proper use for each size. In the past, legal paper was often used to draft contracts, although today it is common to find letter page dimensions that are used regularly. The old British Imperial Foolscap Folio paper is 7 mm (0.3 in. ) narrower than A4 and 33 mm (1.3 in.) longer than A4. The total area is 0.005 square meters (about 0.006 square meters) and is larger than the current international standard A4 paper size. Foolscap Folio is no longer used daily and you are more likely to encounter it when you browse old folders. In the rest of the world, the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) presides over the regulation of paper sorting. ISO 216 is the internationally recognized standard for paper formats. US Letter and Legal Paper are both 8.5″ (216 mm) wide, with the legal paper size being 3″ (77 mm) longer than the Letter paper size. Nowadays, with the proliferation of cheap printers, legal paper is becoming increasingly scarce, as the cost of two paper trays in a printer is significantly higher than one, and letter-sized paper wins when printers have only one tray. The difference in area is 0.020 square kilometers (0.017 m²), with the longer legal paper being the larger of the two.
The most convenient and distinctive feature of ISO paper is that each size has an aspect ratio equal to the square root of two (1:4142), making it easy to enlarge or shrink a document for printing on a different ISO paper size. The most popular series of the ISO standard is the A series. The most used paper in this series is the A4 format. All paper sizes in this series have a name consisting of an A followed by a number. The larger this number, the smaller the paper. Paper sizes affect a lot of things. Envelope formats, folders, print trays, filing cabinets, postal service, frames, documents – to name a few. Many objects need to be designed with the right paper dimensions in mind.
Standardizing paper formats simplifies this process. There are three areas of paper sizes with prefixes A, B and C. The most commonly used for general printing and stationery is the A series. The most common of these sheet sizes is the A4 international header size, which measures 8-1/4 x 11-3/4 inches or 210 x 297 mm. These paper measurements are defined by ISO 216. A6 is a compact paper size that is regularly used for postcards, flyers and storage data. In the United States, standard paper sizes are defined by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI). The standard in which all standardized paper dimensions can be found is called ANSI Y14.1. Many thanks to Markus Kuhn for his wonderful article on paper sizes. Although A-sized paper is the most commonly used worldwide, there are other paper sizes as well.
ISO 219 also includes a B series and a C series. The B series has slightly wider dimensions, making it a great size for posters. The C series is also slightly wider than A papers, which is why they are often used for envelopes: A series papers can be easily pushed into envelopes with C series dimensions. At a glance, you will find the international paper sizes of the ISO-A series and the North American paper size standards. As with A4 stationery, the paper is 6 mm (0.2 in.) narrow than US Legal paper, but unlike in the past, A4 paper is 59 mm (2.3 in.) shorter than legal paper. Thus, the area of the legal paper is greater than A4 by 0.015 square meters (0.18 square meters). Legal-sized paper is 8.5 x 14.0 inches (216 x 356 mm), while A4 paper is 8.3 x 11.7 inches (210 x 297 mm). Legal paper and A4 paper have little in common, as legal paper is even higher than A4 paper, which is much more closely related to stationery. The letter is used more often than legally. This is your standard printer paper that you will find in most schools and office buildings. More than likely, if you`ve ever written an essay or report of any kind, you`ve printed it on stationery. The following comparison table shows the sizes in millimeters and inches of folio paper A4, Letter, Legal, and Foolscap, as well as the ranges and aspect ratios of these types of paper.
Foolscap is an obsolete paper size that was once used in record keeping in the Imperial UK. It is about 0.5 “wider and 2.0” longer than the American paper mill. Have you ever really taken a look at the computer paper packages you buy? Or can you automatically look at the standard paper used for letters and for academic purposes? You`ve probably heard of A5 or tabloid, but for many, the only two page formats that really matter are A4 or Letter. But there are a number of paper sizes that are relevant to our daily lives, and if you know them, you can save time and money when printing and copying. Another important difference between North American and international paper sizes is the aspect ratio. Iso-A series paper always has an aspect ratio of 1 to √2. This means that height and width relate to each other in the same way as the side and diagonal of a square. A series of paper dimensions work mathematically. Each size jump is the previous page in half. A0 in half is A1, A1 in half is A2, A2 in half is A3 to A10. Although these are the main formats of the ISO standard, there are other sizes used for printed items such as labels, business cards, etc. They are often derived by cutting standard sizes into equal parts.
This often results in sizes with a different aspect ratio than the square root of two. However, standard paper sizes in the U.S. do not have a consistent aspect ratio. The C series was introduced to provide an envelope with enough space for an A series sheet. A-series sizes adapt to C-series envelopes with the same number. That is, a sheet of A4 easily slips into a C4 envelope.