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Paper size

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Title: Paper size  
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Subject: Paper, Orders of magnitude (area), Foolscap folio, Genkō yōshi, ISO 216
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Paper size

A size chart illustrating the ISO A series and a comparison with American letter and legal formats.
Comparison of some paper and photographic paper sizes close to the A4 size.

Many paper size standards conventions have existed at different times and in different countries. Today, there is one widespread international ISO standard (including A4, B3, C4, etc.) and a local standard used in North America (including letter, legal, ledger, etc.). The paper sizes affect writing paper, stationery, cards, and some printed documents. The standards also have related sizes for envelopes.

Contents

  • Grain 1
  • The international standard: ISO 216 2
    • A series 2.1
    • B series 2.2
    • C series 2.3
    • Overview: ISO paper Sizes 2.4
    • German extensions 2.5
    • Swedish extensions 2.6
    • Japanese B-series variant 2.7
    • Colombian common sizes naming 2.8
  • North American paper sizes 3
    • Loose sizes 3.1
      • Half letter 3.1.1
      • ANSI paper sizes 3.1.2
      • Architectural sizes 3.1.3
      • Other sizes 3.1.4
    • Tablet sizes 3.2
  • Traditional inch-based paper sizes 4
    • Traditional sizes for paper in the United Kingdom 4.1
    • Demitab 4.2
  • Transitional paper sizes 5
    • PA series 5.1
    • Antiquarian 5.2
  • Other metric sizes 6
  • Newspaper sizes 7
  • See also 8
  • References 9
  • Further reading 10
  • External links 11

Grain

Most industry standards express the direction of the grain last when giving dimensions (that is, 17 × 11 inches is short grain paper and 11 × 17 inches is long grain paper), although alternatively the grain alignment can be explicitly indicated with an underline (11 × 17 is short grain) or the letter "M" for "machine" (11M × 17 is short grain). Grain is important because paper will crack if folded across the grain: for example, if a sheet 17 × 11 inches is to be folded to divide the sheet into two 8.5 × 11 halves, then the grain will be along the 11-inch side.[1] Paper intended to be fed into a machine that will bend the paper around rollers, such as a printing press, photocopier, or typewriter, should be fed grain side first so that the axis of the rollers is along the grain.

The international standard: ISO 216

A series

A size chart illustrating the ISO A series.

The international paper size standard, ISO 216, is based on the German DIN 476 standard for paper sizes. ISO paper sizes are all based on a single aspect ratio of square root of 2, or approximately 1:1.4142. The base A0 size of paper is defined as having an area of 1 m2. Rounded to the nearest millimetre, the A0 paper size is 841 by 1,189 millimetres (33.1 in × 46.8 in).

Successive paper sizes in the series A1, A2, A3, and so forth, are defined by halving the preceding paper size across the larger dimension. The most frequently used paper size is A4 measuring 210 by 297 millimetres (8.27 in × 11.7 in).

The significant advantage of this system is its scaling: if a sheet with an aspect ratio of 2 is divided into two equal halves parallel to its shortest sides, then the halves will again have an aspect ratio of 2. Folded brochures of any size can be made by using sheets of the next larger size, e.g. A4 sheets are folded to make A5 brochures. The system allows scaling without compromising the aspect ratio from one size to another—as provided by office photocopiers, e.g. enlarging A4 to A3 or reducing A3 to A4. Similarly, two sheets of A4 can be scaled down and fit exactly 1 sheet without any cutoff or margins.

The behavior of the aspect ratio is easily proven: on a sheet of paper, let a be the long side and b be the short side; thus, a/b = 2. When the sheet of paper is folded in half widthwise, let c be the length of the new short side: c = a/2. If we take the ratio of the newly folded paper we have:

\frac{b}{c}=\frac{b}{\frac{a}{2}}=\frac{2}{\frac{a}{b}}=\frac{2}{\sqrt{2}}=\sqrt{2}

Therefore, the aspect ratio is preserved for the new dimensions of the folded paper.

Weights are easy to calculate as well: a standard A4 sheet made from 80 g/m2 paper weighs 5 g (as it is 116 of an A0 page, measuring 1 m2), allowing one to easily compute the weight—and associated postage rate—by counting the number of sheets used.

The advantages of basing a paper size upon an aspect ratio of 2 were first noted in 1786 by the

  • Palme, Jacob (May 1998). Making Postscript and PDF International.   — Notably: About margin settings for using just the space common to both A4 and US Letter.
  • A handy reference website all about paper sizes
  • IEEE-ISTO PWG 5101.1-2013 "PWG Media Standardized Names 2.0" (PDF)
  • Another paper size reference site listing multiple formats

External links

  • International Organization for Standardization, Geneva, 1975.
  • International standard ISO 217: Paper—Untrimmed sizes—Designation and tolerances for primary and supplementary ranges, and indication of machine direction. International Organization for Standardization, Geneva, 1995.
  • Max Helbig, Winfried Hennig: DIN-Format A4—Ein Erfolgssystem in Gefahr. Beuth-Kommentare, Beuth Verlag, Berlin, 1998. ISBN 3-410-11878-0
  • Arthur D. Dunn: Notes on the standardization of paper sizes. Ottawa, Canada, 54 pages, 1972.

Further reading

  1. ^ "Paper Grain & Smoothness: Don't Go Against the Grain".  
  2. ^ "Lichtenberg’s letter to Johann Beckmann". Cl.cam.ac.uk. 2006-02-07. Retrieved 2012-01-30. 
  3. ^ Dimensions Of A Paper Sizes - A0, A1, A2, A3, A4, A5, A6, A7, A8, A9, A10 - In Inches & mm
  4. ^ Dimensions Of B Paper Sizes - B0, B1, B2, B3, B4, B5, B6, B7, B8, B9, B10
  5. ^ Dimensions Of The C Envelope Sizes - C0, C1, C2, C3, C4, C5, C6, C7, C8, C9, C10 - Plus DL Envelope Size
  6. ^ "Papper — Formatserier A-G". Svensk standard. Swedish Standards Institute. Retrieved 30 October 2013. 
  7. ^ "Print format for dissertations" (PDF). Karolinska University press. 
  8. ^ , version of 2012-05-08International paper sizes. A, B, C and D seriesDave Barber:
  9. ^ a b American Forest and Paper Association. "Why is the standard paper size in the U.S. 8½" x 11"?". Retrieved 2009-08-04. 
  10. ^ "Junior Legal Paper Size". Dimensions Guide. Retrieved 2010-02-21. 
  11. ^ Fyffe, Charles (1969). Basic Copyfitting. London: Studio Vista. p. 74.  
  12. ^ a b c  
  13. ^ Rally de Leon. """Request for inclusion of Page Size 8.5"x13. Retrieved 2008-08-11. 
  14. ^ Kuhn, Markus. "International standard paper sizes". Retrieved 2008-03-06. 
  15. ^ "Canadian standard CAN 2-9.60M paper sizes"
  16. ^ "Armada mil". Retrieved 2010-12-12. 
  17. ^ a b except for size Arch E1
  18. ^ "Filofax". 
  19. ^ "Franklin Planner". 
  20. ^ United States Postal Service. "DMM 101: Physical Standards". Section "6.3.2 Postcard Dimensions". retrieved 2014-04-26.
  21. ^ "Traditional sizes for writing paper in the United Kingdom". sizepaper.com (formerly atsyn.com). Retrieved 2013-04-16. 
  22. ^ "Book sizes, with reference tables". 
  23. ^ "Max Image Area". Horizon Publications. 
  24. ^ "Press web". Naa.org. Archived from the original on July 4, 2008. Retrieved 2010-12-12. 

References

See also

In a recent trend[24] many newspapers have been undergoing what is known as "web cut down", in which the publication is redesigned to print using a narrower (and less expensive) roll of paper. In extreme examples, some broadsheet papers are nearly as narrow as traditional tabloids.

Newspapers have a separate set of sizes.

Comparison of some newspaper sizes with metric paper sizes. Approximate nominal dimensions are in millimetres.

Newspaper sizes

Name mm × mm in × in Notes
DL 99 × 210 3.7 × 8.3 DL stands for "DIN lang" (DIN long); common flyer 13 of A4
DLE 110 × 220 4.3 × 8.7 common envelope size as it fits an A4 sheet folded to 13 height.
F4 210 × 330 8.3 × 13.0 common in Southeast Asia. Sometimes called "foolscap" there.
RA0 841 × 1189 33.0 × 46.75
RA1 610 × 860 24.0 × 33.9
RA2 430 × 610 16.9 × 24.0
RA3 305 × 430 12.0 × 16.9
RA4 215 × 305 8.5 × 12.0
SRA0 900 × 1280 35.4 × 50.4
SRA1 640 × 900 25.2 × 35.4
SRA2 450 × 640 17.7 × 25.2
SRA3 320 × 450 12.6 × 17.7
SRA4 225 × 320 8.9 × 12.6
A3+ 329 × 483 13.0 × 19.0

Other metric sizes

Although the movement is towards the international standard metric paper sizes, on the way there from the traditional ones there has been at least one new size just a little larger than that used internationally. British architects and industrial designers once used a size called "Antiquarian" as listed above, but given in the New Metric Handbook (Tutt & Adler 1981) as 813 mm × 1,372 mm (32 in × 54 in) for board size. This is a little larger than the A0 size. So for a short time, a size called A0a (1,000 mm × 1,370 mm or 39.4 in × 53.9 in) was used in Britain.

Antiquarian

PA4-based series
Name mm × mm Ratio
PA0 840 × 1120 3:4
PA1 560 × 840 2:3
PA2 420 × 560 3:4
PA3 280 × 420 2:3
PA4 210 × 280 3:4
PA5 140 × 210 2:3
PA6 105 × 140 3:4
PA7 70 × 105 2:3
PA8 52 × 70 ≈3:4
PA9 35 × 52 ≈2:3
PA10 26 × 35 ≈3:4

PA4 is also a useful compromise between A4 and US/Canadian Letter sizes. Hence it is used today by many international magazines, because it can be printed easily on equipment designed for either A4 or US Letter.

The PA formats did not end up in ISO 216, because the committee felt that the set of standardized paper formats should be kept to the minimum necessary. However, PA4 remains of practical use today. In landscape orientation, it has the same 4:3 aspect ratio as the displays of traditional TV sets, some computer displays and data projectors. PA4, with appropriate margins, is therefore a good choice as the format of presentation slides.

A transitional size called PA4 (210 mm × 280 mm or 8.27 in × 11.02 in) was proposed for inclusion into the ISO 216 standard in 1975. It has the height of Canadian P4 paper (215 mm × 280 mm, about 8 12 in × 11 in) and the width of international A4 paper (210 mm × 297 mm or 8.27 in × 11.69 in). The table below, shows how this format can be generalized into an entire format series.

PA series

Transitional paper sizes

The demitab or demi-tab (from the French "demi" or half tabloid) is 5 12 in × 8 12 in (140 mm × 216 mm), equal to one quarter of a sheet of 11 in × 17 in (279 mm × 432 mm) tabloid size paper. In actual circulation, the size 8 in × 10 12 in (203 mm × 267 mm) is common for a demitab.[23] Tabloid newspapers, which are "generally half the size of a broadsheet", also vary in size. To add to the lack of uniformity, broadsheets also vary in size.

Demitab

Many of these sizes were only used for making books (see bookbinding), and would never have been offered for ordinary stationery purposes.[22]

Foolscap folio is often referred to simply as "folio" or "foolscap". Similarly, "quarto" is more correctly "copy draught quarto".

Name Abbr. Folds Leaves Pages
Folio fo, f 1 2 4
Quarto 4to 2 4 8
Sexto, sixmo 6to, 6mo 3 6 12
Octavo 8vo 3 8 16
Duodecimo, twelvemo 12mo 4 12 24
Sextodecimo, sixteenmo 16mo 4 16 32

The common divisions and their abbreviations include:

Name in × in
Quarto 10 × 8
Foolscap 13 × 8
Imperial 9 × 7
Kings 8 × 6 12
Dukes 7 × 5 12

These sizes are no longer commonly used since the UK switched to ISO sizes:[21]

Traditional sizes for paper in the United Kingdom

* The sizes marked with an asterisk are still in use in the United States.

Name in × in mm × mm Ratio
Emperor 48 × 72 1219 × 1829 1.5
Antiquarian 31 × 53 787 × 1346 1.7097
Grand eagle 28 34 × 42 730 × 1067 1.4609
Double elephant 26 34 × 40 678 × 1016 1.4984
Atlas* 26 × 34 660 × 864 1.3077
Colombier 23 12 × 34 12 597 × 876 1.4681
Double demy 22 12 × 35 12 572 × 902 1.57
Imperial* 22 × 30 559 × 762 1.3636
Double large post 21 × 33 533 × 838 1.5713
Elephant* 23 × 28 584 × 711 1.2174
Princess 21 12 × 28 546 × 711 1.3023
Cartridge 21 × 26 533 × 660 1.2381
Royal* 20 × 25 508 × 635 1.25
Sheet, half post 19 12 × 23 12 495 × 597 1.2051
Double post 19 × 30 12 483 × 762 1.6052
Super royal 19 × 27 483 × 686 1.4203
Medium* 17 12 × 23 470 × 584 1.2425
Demy* 17 12 × 22 12 445 × 572 1.2857
Large post 16 12 × 21 419 × 533 1.27
Copy draught 16 × 20 406 × 508 1.25
Large post 15 12 × 20 394 × 508 1.2903
Post* 15 12 × 19 14 394 × 489 1.2419
Crown* 15 × 20 381 × 508 1.3
Pinched post 14 34 × 18 12 375 × 470 1.2533
Foolscap* 13 12 × 17 343 × 432 1.2593
Small foolscap 13 14 × 16 12 337 × 419 1.2453
Brief 13 12 × 16 343 × 406 1.1852
Pott 12 12 × 15 318 × 381 1.2

Imperial sizes were used in the United Kingdom and its territories. Some of the base sizes were as follows:

Traditionally, a number of different sizes were defined for large sheets of paper, and paper sizes were defined by the sheet name and the number of times it had been folded. Thus a full sheet of "royal" paper was 25 × 20 inches, and "royal octavo" was this size folded three times, so as to make eight sheets, and was thus 10 × 6 14 inches.

Traditional inch-based paper sizes

In countries where the ISO sizes are standard, most notebooks and tablets are sized to ISO specifications (for example, most newsagents in Australia stock A4 and A3 tablets).

"Letter pads" are 8 12 by 11 inches (215.9 by 279.4 mm), while the term "legal pad" is often used by laymen to refer to pads of various sizes including those of 8 12 by 14 inches (215.9 by 355.6 mm). There are "steno pads" (used by stenographers) of 6 by 9 inches (152.4 by 228.6 mm).

The sizes listed above are for paper sold loose in reams. There are many sizes of tablets of paper, that is, sheets of paper bound at one edge, usually by a strip of plastic or hardened PVA adhesive. Often there is a pad of cardboard (also known as chipboard or greyboard) at the bottom of the stack. Such a tablet serves as a portable writing surface, and the sheets often have lines printed on them, usually in non-repro blue, to make writing in a line easier. An older means of binding is to have the sheets stapled to the cardboard along the top of the tablet; there is a line of perforated holes across every page just below the top edge from which any page may be torn off. Lastly, a pad of sheets each weakly stuck with adhesive to the sheet below, trademarked as "Post-It" or "Stick-Em" and available in various sizes, serve as a sort of tablet.

Tablet sizes

The only ISO 216 size in the post card range is A6.

This implies that all postcards have a width:height aspect ratio in the range 1.18 to 1.71.

Postcard size limitations[20]
Dimension Minimum (inch) Maximum (inch)
Height 3 12 4 14
Width 5 6
Thickness 0.007 0.016
Photographic paper sizes
Name in × in mm × mm Ratio
2R 2 12 × 3 12 64 × 89 1.4
- 3 × 5 76 × 127 1.6
LD, DSC 3 12 × 4 23 89 × 119 1.3 (4:3)
3R, L 3 12 × 5 89 × 127 ≈1.4286
LW 3 12 × 5 14 89 × 133 1.5 (3:2)
KGD 4 × 5 13 102 × 136 1.3 (4:3)
4R, KG 4 × 6 102 × 152 1.5 (3:2)
2LD, DSCW 5 × 6 23 127 × 169 1.3 (4:3)
5R, 2L 5 × 7 127 × 178 1.4
2LW 5 × 7 12 127 × 190 1.5 (3:2)
6R 6 × 8 152 × 203 1.3 (4:3)
8R, 6P 8 × 10 203 × 254 1.25
S8R, 6PW 8 × 12 203 × 305 1.5 (3:2)
11R 11 × 14 279 × 356 1.27
A3+, Super B 13 × 19 330 × 483 ≈1.46154

* This is the same size as the smallest rectangle containing a credit card. However, credit card size, as defined in ISO/IEC 7810, also specifies rounded corners and thickness.

Index and business cards
Name in × in mm × mm Ratio
Index card 3 × 5 76 × 127 1.6
Index card 4 × 6 102 × 152 1.5
Index card 5 × 8 127 × 203 1.6
International business card * 2.125 × 3.37 53.98 × 85.6 1.586
US business card 2 × 3 12 51 × 89 1.75
Japanese business card ≈2.165 × ≈3.583 55 × 91 ≈1.65
Hungarian business card ≈1.969 × ≈3.543 50 × 90 1.8
[19][18]
Company Name Paper Size in × in (Various hole sizes)
Filofax
M2 103 × 64 mm with 3 holes
Mini 105 × 67 mm with 5 holes
Pocket 120 × 81 mm with 6 holes
Personal 171 × 95 mm with 6 holes
Slimline 171 × 95 mm with 6 holes
A5 210 × 148 mm with 6 holes
Deskfax (B5) 250 × 176 mm with 9 holes
A4 297 × 210 mm with 4 holes
Franklin Planner
Micro 2 58 × 4 14 (66.675 × 108 mm)
Pocket 3 12 × 6 (89 × 152 mm)
Compact 4 14 × 6 34 (108 × 171 mm)
Classic 5 12 × 8 12 (140 × 216 mm)
Monarch 8 12 × 11 (216 × 280 mm)
*Jeppesen Aeronautical Charts Jeppesen Chart 5 12 × 8 12 (140 × 216 mm) 7 holes
FAA Aeronautical Charts FAA Chart 5 12 × 8 12 (140 × 216 mm) 3 holes at top
Name in × in mm × mm Ratio dot × dot
Organizer J 2 34 × 5 70 × 127 ≈1.8142
Compact 4 14 × 6 34 108 × 171 1.5833
Marching Band Flip-Folder 6 34 x 5 14 171 × 133 ≈0.77
Organizer L, Statement, Half Letter, Memo, Jepps* 5 12 × 8 12 140 × 216 1.54
Executive, Monarch 7 14 × 10 12 184 × 267 ≈1.4483
Choral Octavo 6 34 × 10 12 171 × 267 ≈1.55
Government-Letter 8 × 10 12 203 × 267 1.3125
Foolscap, Folio[12] 8.27 × 13 210 × 330 ≈1.5719
Letter, Organizer M 8 12 × 11 216 × 279 ≈1.2941
Fanfold 12 x 8.5, German Std Fanfold 8 12 × 12 216 × 304 ≈1.4118 612 × 864
Government-Legal, Folio 8 12 × 13 216 × 330 ≈1.5294
Legal 8 12 × 14 216 × 356 ≈1.6471
Quarto 9 × 11 229 × 279 1.2
US Std Fanfold 11 × 14 78 279 × 377 ≈1.3513 792 × 1071
Ledger, Tabloid, Organizer K, Bible 11 × 17 279 × 432 1.54
Super-B 13 × 19 330 × 483 ≈1.4615
Post 15 12 × 19 12 394 × 489 ≈1.2581
Crown 15 × 20 381 × 508 1.3
Large Post 16 12 × 21 419 × 533 1.27
Demy 17 12 × 22 12 445 × 572 ≈1.2857
Medium 18 × 23 457 × 584 1.27
Broadsheet 18 × 24 457 × 610 1.3
Royal 20 × 25 508 × 635 1.25
Elephant 23 × 28 584 × 711 ≈1.2174
Double Demy 22 12 × 35 572 × 889 1.5
Quad Demy 35 × 45 889 × 1143 ≈1.2857

Other sizes

Name in × in mm × mm Ratio
Arch A 9 × 12 229 × 305 3:4
Arch B 12 × 18 305 × 457 2:3
Arch C 18 × 24 457 × 610 3:4
Arch D 24 × 36 610 × 914 2:3
Arch E 36 × 48 914 × 1219 3:4
Arch E1 30 × 42 762 × 1067 5:7
Arch E2 26 × 38 660 × 965 13:19
Arch E3 27 × 39 686 × 991 9:13

In addition to the ANSI system as listed above, there is a corresponding series of paper sizes used for architectural purposes. This series also shares the property that bisecting each size produces two of the size below, with alternating aspect ratios.[17] It may be preferred by North American architects because the aspect ratios (4:3 and 3:2) are ratios of small integers, unlike their ANSI (or ISO) counterparts. Furthermore, the aspect ratio 4:3 matches the traditional aspect ratio for computer displays.[17] The architectural series, usually abbreviated "Arch", is shown below:

A size chart illustrating the Architectural sizes.

Architectural sizes

Other, larger sizes continuing the alphabetic series illustrated above exist, but it should be noted that they are not part of the series per se, because they do not exhibit the same aspect ratios. For example, Engineering F size (28 in × 40 in or 711.2 mm × 1,016.0 mm) also exists and is commonly required for NAVFAC drawings, but is generally less commonly used, as are G, H, ... N size drawings. G size is 22 12 in (571.5 mm) high, but variable width up to 90 in (2,286 mm) in increments of 8 12 in (215.9 mm), i.e., roll format. H and larger letter sizes are also roll formats. Such sheets were at one time used for full-scale layouts of aircraft parts, automotive parts, wiring harnesses and the like, but are slowly being phased out, due to widespread use of computer-aided design (CAD) and computer-aided manufacturing (CAM). Some visual arts fields also continue to use these paper formats for large-scale printouts, such as for displaying digitally painted character renderings at life-size as references for makeup artists and costume designers, or to provide an immersive landscape reference.

Name in × in mm × mm Ratio Alias Similar ISO A size
ANSI A 8 12 × 11 216 × 279 1.2941 Letter A4
ANSI B 11 × 17 279 × 432 1.5455 Ledger[12]
Tabloid
A3
ANSI C 17 × 22 432 × 559 1.2941 A2
ANSI D 22 × 34 559 × 864 1.5455 A1
ANSI E 34 × 44 864 × 1118 1.2941 A0

With care, documents can be prepared so that the text and images fit on either ANSI or their equivalent ISO sheets at 1:1 reproduction scale.

In 1996, the American National Standards Institute adopted ANSI/ASME Y14.1 which defined a regular series of paper sizes based upon the de facto standard 8 12 in × 11 in (215.9 mm × 279.4 mm) "letter" size which it assigned "ANSI A". This series also includes "ledger"/"tabloid" as "ANSI B". This series is somewhat similar to the ISO standard in that cutting a sheet in half would produce two sheets of the next smaller size. Unlike the ISO standard, however, the arbitrary aspect ratio forces this series to have two alternating aspect ratios. To wit, "Letter" (8 12 × 11 in, or ANSI A) is less elongated than A4, while "Ledger/Tabloid" (11 × 17 in, or ANSI B) is more elongated than A3. The ANSI series is shown below.

A size chart illustrating the ANSI sizes.

ANSI paper sizes

By extension of the American standards the half letter size meets the needs of many applications. It is also known as statement, stationery, Half A (from ANSI sizes) or simply half size. It is a piece of letter paper cut in half, 5 12 × 8 12 in (140 × 216 mm). It is used for everything from personal letter writing to official aeronautical maps. Organizers, notepads, and diaries also often use this size paper thus 3 ring binders are also available in this size. Booklets of this size are created using word processing tools with landscape printing in two columns on letter paper which are then cut or folded into the final size.

Half letter

Mexico has adopted the ISO standard, but U.S. "letter" format is still the system in use throughout the country. It is virtually impossible to encounter ISO standard papers in day-to-day uses, with "Carta 216 mm × 279 mm" (letter), "Oficio 216 mm × 340 mm" (Government-Legal) and "Doble carta" (ledger/tabloid) being nearly universal. U.S. sizes are also widespread and in common use in Colombia.[16]

In Canada, U.S. paper sizes are a de facto standard. The government, however, uses a combination of ISO paper sizes, and CAN 2-9.60M "Paper Sizes for Correspondence" specifies P1 through P6 paper sizes, which are the U.S. paper sizes rounded to the nearest 5 mm.[14][15]

U.S. paper sizes are currently standard in the United States, the Philippines and Chile. The latter two use U.S. "letter", but the Philippine and Chilean "legal" size is 8 12 in × 13 in (215.9 mm × 330.2 mm).[13] ISO sizes are available, but not widely used, in the U.S, the Philippines and Chile.

There is an additional paper size, to which the name "government-letter" was given by the IEEE Printer Working Group: the 8 in × 10 12 in (203.2 mm × 266.7 mm) paper that is used in the United States and Canada for children's writing. It was prescribed by Herbert Hoover when he was Secretary of Commerce to be used for U.S. government forms, apparently to enable discounts from the purchase of paper for schools, but more likely due to the standard use of trimming books (after binding) and paper from the standard letter size paper to produce consistency and allow "bleed" printing. In later years, as photocopy machines proliferated, citizens wanted to make photocopies of the forms, but the machines did not generally have this size paper in their bins. Ronald Reagan therefore had the U.S. government switch to regular letter size (8 12 in × 11 in or 215.9 mm × 279.4 mm).[9] The 8 in × 10 12 in (203.2 mm × 266.7 mm) size is still commonly used in spiral-bound notebooks and the like, a result of trimming from the current letter dimensions.

North American paper sizes
Size in × in mm × mm Similar Canadian P size
Letter 8 12 × 11 215.9 × 279.4 P4: 215 × 280
Government-Letter 8 × 10 12 203.2 × 266.7
Legal 8 12 × 14 215.9 × 355.6
Junior Legal 8 × 5 203.2 × 127
Ledger[12] 17 × 11 432 × 279
Tabloid 11 × 17 279 × 432

The U.S., Canada and Mexico use a different system of paper sizes compared to the rest of the world. The current standard sizes are unique to that continent, although due to the size of the North American market and proliferation of both software and printing hardware from the region, other parts of the world have become increasingly familiar with these sizes (though not necessarily the paper itself). The traditional North American inch-based sizes differ from those described below. "Letter", "legal", "ledger", and "tabloid" are by far the most commonly used of these for everyday activities. The origins of the exact dimensions of "letter" size paper (8 12 in × 11 in or 215.9 mm × 279.4 mm) are lost in tradition and not well documented. The American Forest and Paper Association argues that the dimension originates from the days of manual paper making, and that the 11-inch length of the page is about a quarter of "the average maximum stretch of an experienced vatman's arms."[9] However, this does not explain the width or aspect ratio. Outside of North America, Letter size may also be known as "American Quarto"[10] and the size is indeed almost exactly one quarter of the old Imperial (British) paper size known as "demy quarto" (17 12 × 22 12 in), allowing 12 inch for trimming.[11]

Loose sizes

North American paper sizes

Colombian paper sizes
Size mm × mm aspect ratio
Pliego 700 × 1000 1.412857
12 pliego 500 × 700 1.4
14 pliego 350 × 500 1.412857
18 pliego 250 × 350 1.4
Carta 216 × 279 1.291667
Oficio 216 × 330 1.527778
Extra Tabloide 304.8 × 457.2 1.5

In commercial and academic typesetting, the most common paper size is carta, equivalent to US Letter (8.5" by 11"). In legal papers oficio is used equivalent to 8.5" by 13" which is shorter than US Legal.

The most common paper sizes used for commercial and industrial printing in Colombia are close to the ISO B1, B2 and B3 and are referred to as pliego, 12 pliego and 14 pliego respectively. The "Arch B" size is known as extratabloide.

Colombian common sizes naming

JIS paper sizes (plus rounded inch values)
Format B series Shiroku ban Kiku
Size mm × mm in × in mm × mm in × in mm × mm in × in
0 1030 × 1456 40.55 × 57.32
1 728 × 1030 28.66 × 40.55
2 515 × 728 20.28 × 28.66
3 364 × 515 14.33 × 20.28
4 257 × 364 10.12 × 14.33 264 × 379 10.39 × 14.92 227 × 306 8.94 × 12.05
5 182 × 257 7.17 × 10.12 189 × 262 7.44 × 10.31 151 × 227 5.94 × 8.94
6 128 × 182 5.04 × 7.17 127 × 188 5.00 × 7.40
7 91 × 128 3.58 × 5.04
8 64 × 91 2.52 × 3.58
9 45 × 64 1.77 × 2.52
10 32 × 45 1.26 × 1.77
11 22 × 32 0.87 × 1.26
12 16 × 22 0.63 × 0.87

There are also a number of traditional paper sizes, which are now used mostly by printers. The most common of these old series are the Shiroku-ban and the Kiku paper sizes.

The JIS defines two main series of paper sizes. The JIS A-series is identical to the ISO A-series, but with slightly different tolerances. The area of B-series paper is 1.5 times that of the corresponding A-paper (instead of the factor 2 = 1.414... for the ISO B-series), so the length ratio is approximately 1.22 times the length of the corresponding A-series paper. The aspect ratio of the paper is the same as for A-series paper. Both A- and B-series paper is widely available in Japan, Taiwan and China, and most photocopiers are loaded with at least A4 and either one of A3, B4 and B5 paper.

Japanese B-series variant

SIS 014711 formulas,[8] including hypothetical H series, n = 0...9, r = 82, s = 12
Designation Longer edge Shorter edge
(Hn) r+5½ × sn r+1½ × sn
Dn r+5 × sn r+1 × sn
Fn r+4½ × sn r × sn
Bn r+4 × sn r 0 × sn
Gn r+3½ × sn r−½ × sn
Cn r+3 × sn r−1 × sn
En r+2½ × sn r−1½ × sn
An r+2 × sn r−2 × sn

The Swedish standard SS 014711[6] generalized the ISO system of A, B, and C formats by adding D, E, F, and G formats to it. Its D format sits between a B format and the next larger A format (just like C sits between A and the next larger B). The remaining formats fit in between all these formats, such that the sequence of formats A4, E4, C4, G4, B4, F4, D4, H4, A3 is a geometric progression, in which the dimensions grow by a factor 162 from one size to the next. However, the SIS 014711 standard does not define any size between a D format and the next larger A format (called H in the previous example). Of these additional formats, G5 (169 × 239 mm) and E5 (155 × 220 mm) are popular in Sweden and the Netherlands for printing dissertations,[7] but the other formats have not turned out to be particularly useful in practice and they have not been adopted internationally.

Comparison of ISO 216 and Swedish standard SIS 014711 paper sizes between A4 and A3 sizes.

Swedish extensions

  • ±1 mm (0.04 in) for dimensions up to 150 mm (5.9 in),
  • ±1.5 mm (0.06 in) for lengths in the range 150 mm to 600 mm (5.9 to 23.6 in) and
  • ±2 mm (0.08 in) for any dimension above 600 mm (23.6 in).

DIN 476 also specifies slightly tighter tolerances:

However, DIN 216:2007 notes 2A0 and 4A0 in the table of Main series of trimmed sizes (ISO-A series) as well. "The rarely used sizes [2A0 and 4A0] which follow also belong to this series"

DIN 476 overformats
Name mm × mm in × in
4A0 1682 × 2378 66.22 × 93.62
2A0 1189 × 1682 46.81 × 66.22

DIN 476 provides for formats larger than A0, denoted by a prefix factor. In particular, it lists the formats 2A0 and 4A0, which are twice and four times the size of A0 respectively:

The German standard DIN 476 was published in 1922 and is the original specification of the A and B sizes. It differs in two details from its international successor:

German extensions

  • ±1.5 mm (0.06 in) for dimensions up to 150 mm (5.9 in),
  • ±2 mm (0.08 in) for lengths in the range 150 to 600 mm (5.9 to 23.6 in) and
  • ±3 mm (0.12 in) for any dimension above 600 mm (23.6 in).

The tolerances specified in the standard are

ISO paper sizes (plus rounded inch values)
Format A series[3] B series[4] C series[5]
Size mm × mm in × in mm × mm in × in mm × mm in × in
0 841 × 1189 33.1 × 46.8 1000 × 1414 39.4 × 55.7 917 × 1297 36.1 × 51.1
1 594 × 841 23.4 × 33.1 707 × 1000 27.8 × 39.4 648 × 917 25.5 × 36.1
2 420 × 594 16.5 × 23.4 500 × 707 19.7 × 27.8 458 × 648 18.0 × 25.5
3 297 × 420 11.7 × 16.5 353 × 500 13.9 × 19.7 324 × 458 12.8 × 18.0
4 210 × 297 8.27 × 11.7 250 × 353 9.84 × 13.9 229 × 324 9.02 × 12.8
5 148 × 210 5.83 × 8.27 176 × 250 6.93 × 9.84 162 × 229 6.38 × 9.02
6 105 × 148 4.13 × 5.83 125 × 176 4.92 × 6.93 114 × 162 4.49 × 6.38
7 74 × 105 2.91 × 4.13 88 × 125 3.46 × 4.92 81 × 114 3.19 × 4.49
8 52 × 74 2.05 × 2.91 62 × 88 2.44 × 3.46 57 × 81 2.24 × 3.19
9 37 × 52 1.46 × 2.05 44 × 62 1.73 × 2.44 40 × 57 1.57 × 2.24
10 26 × 37 1.02 × 1.46 31 × 44 1.22 × 1.73 28 × 40 1.10 × 1.57

Overview: ISO paper Sizes

The C series is used only for envelopes and is defined in ISO 269. The area of C series sheets is the geometric mean of the areas of the A and B series sheets of the same number; for instance, the area of a C4 sheet is the geometric mean of the areas of an A4 sheet and a B4 sheet. This means that C4 is slightly larger than A4, and slightly smaller than B4. The practical usage of this is that a letter written on A4 paper fits inside a C4 envelope, and C4 paper fits inside a B4 envelope.

A size chart illustrating the ISO C series.

C series

In addition to the A series, there is a less common B series. The area of B series sheets is the geometric mean of successive A series sheets. So, B1 is between A0 and A1 in size, with an area of 0.707 m2 (12 m2). As a result, B0 is 1 metre wide, and other sizes in the B series are a half, a quarter or further fractions of a metre wide. While less common in office use, it is used for a variety of special situations. Many posters use B-series paper or a close approximation, such as 50 cm × 70 cm; B5 is a relatively common choice for books. The B series is also used for envelopes and passports. The B-series is widely used in the printing industry to describe both paper sizes and printing press sizes, including digital presses. B3 paper is used to print two US letter or A4 pages side by side using imposition; four pages would be printed on B2, eight on B1, etc.

A size chart illustrating the ISO B series.

B series

By 1975 so many countries were using the German system that it was established as an ISO standard, as well as the official United Nations document format. By 1977 A4 was the standard letter format in 88 of 148 countries. Today the standard has been adopted by all countries in the world except the United States and Canada. In Mexico, Costa Rica, Colombia, Venezuela, Chile and the Philippines the US letter format is still in common use, despite their official adoption of the ISO standard.

During World War II, the standard was adopted by Uruguay (1942), Argentina (1943) and Brazil (1943), and afterwards spread to other countries:

The DIN 476 standard spread quickly to other countries. Before the outbreak of World War II, it had been adopted by the following countries:

According to some theorists, ISO 216 sizes are generally too tall and narrow for book production (see: Canons of page construction). European book publishers typically use metricated traditional page sizes for book production.

has recently been proposed for this paper aspect ratio. Lichtenberg ratio) in everyday use in Germany and Austria. The term IPA: in 1922, replacing a vast variety of other paper formats. Even today, the paper sizes are called "DIN A4" (Germany Early in the 20th century, Dr Walter Porstmann turned Lichtenberg's idea into a proper system of different paper sizes. Porstmann's system was introduced as a DIN standard (DIN 476) in [2]

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