What Are the Dimensions of Printer Paper?

What Are the Dimensions of Printer Paper

Although the overwhelming majority of everyday documents use the same standard size, using different sizes helps you save paper and ink. There are various sizes available, ranging from palm-size leaflets to large posters only high-end home or office printers can handle.

The biggest area of confusion is the difference between the North American sizing system and the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) system. The North American system includes the letter and legal size sheets most U.S. residents are familiar with. However, the ISO system is still popular in Europe, Australia, Asia and companies, and freelancers who commonly work with international companies may need to know this system.

Being familiar with the dimensions of printer paper is also helpful for making your own cards and other home printing projects. Once you familiarize yourself with both systems, you’ll be able to create a wider range of documents without cutting or wrestling with your printer settings.

North American System

 

Common North American Paper Sizes

Format

Size (inches)

Letter (ANSI A)

8.5” x 11”

Tabloid (ANSI B)

11” x 17”

ANSI C

17” x 22”

ANSI D

22” x 34”

ANSI E

34” x 44”

Legal

8.5” x 14”

 

The most commonly used paper size in North America is 8.5 by 11 inches, also known as letter size or ANSI A. Nearly all printers can handle this paper unless they are only intended for photos. It folds neatly into thirds to fit standard business-size envelopes, so it’s the most convenient size for mailing documents.

Legal size paper measures 8.5 by 14 inches, but lawyers do not use it often despite its name and longer length. You may occasionally encounter it when dealing with mortgages and other lengthy contracts and may occasionally need to print hard copies with this size to preserve the original formatting.

Tabloid size, also known as ANSI B, is 11 by 17 inches, or twice the size of a letter size paper, making it great for printing large booklets. It’s common for office printers to accept this size, but home printers sometimes do not, even though one side is the same length as letter size.

ANSI C, D and E sizes are even larger, at 17 by 22 inches, 22 by 34 inches and 34 by 44 inches, respectively. Each consecutive size in the ANSI system is twice as large as the previous one, making remembering the dimensions much easier. However, even some office printers may not work with these larger sizes.

ansi a paper size

Architectural paper sizes aren’t common for office use, but they are handy for large projects. They use common ratios like 3:2 and 4:3 to make scaling large documents easier. However, they’re rarely used outside of engineering and architectural firms, and some word processing and office software might not have a preset for printing them.

Although none of the large-format sizes are common for everyday use, you may find them helpful for large projects like signs and posters. Keep in mind, paper selections at these sizes are limited since they are designed for professional use. You can compensate for this by using high-quality Epson printer cartridges to make the final design stand out.

ISO System

 

ISO Paper Sizes

Format

Size (mm) Size (inches)

Format

Size (mm)

Size (inches)

A0

841 x 1189

33.1 x 46.8

B0

1000 x 1414

39.4 x 55.7

A1

594 x 841

23.4 x 33.1

B1

707 x 1000

27.8 x 39.4

A2

420 x 594

16.5 x 23.4

B2

500 x 707

19.7 x 27.8

A3

297 x 420

11.7 x 16.5

B3

353 x 500

13.9 x 19.7

A4

210 x 297

8.3 x 11.7

B4

250 x 353

9.8 x 13.9

A5

148 x 210

5.8 x 8.3

B5

176 x 250

6.9 x 9.8

A6

105 x 148

4.1 x 5.8

B6

125 x 176

4.9 x 6.9

A7

74 x 105

2.9 x 4.1

B7

88 x 125

3.5 x 4.9

A8

52 x 74

2.0 x 2.9

B8

62 x 88

2.4 x 3.5

A9

37 x 52

1.5 x 2.0

B9

44 x 62

1.7 x 2.4

A10

26 x 37

1.0 x 1.5

B10

31 x 44

1.2 x 1.7

 

Like the ANSI system used in North America, the ISO system uses a consistent system of ratios for its paper sizes. Each consecutive paper format is half the size of the previous one. This means you get two sheets of the next size down when you cut one sheet of paper in half. 

ISO printer paper is divided into two series, A and B. Each size within these series is numbered 0 to 10 in order from largest to smallest. For example, A4 is slightly taller than a letter-size sheet in the North American system, while an A5 sheet is just larger than a 5 by 8 inch photo. The B series is not commonly used, but works the same way as the A series, but with larger dimensions.

The largest ISO paper size is B0, which measures 1000 x 1414mm (39.4 by 55.7 inches). However, the largest size commonly used in home and office printing is A3, which is 297 x 420mm (11.7 by 16.5 inches). Sizes smaller than A5 are usually for specialty papers or leaflets.

b0 paper size

A4 is the standard for office documents in ISO printing. However, there may be significant variation in schools and nonprofits with a diverse range of printing needs. It’s common for schools to print short quizzes and handouts on B5 or A5 paper.

ISO also includes the C sizing system, which is only for envelopes. An A size sheet of paper with a given size number will fit perfectly in a C size envelope with the same number. However, the B size sheet with the same number will be slightly too large for that envelope, so choose the next C size if you want to insert the paper without folding it. This results in an envelope noticeably too large for the paper, but works perfectly for sending thick stacks of paper.

Photo Paper Sizes

Photo printers use specialized sizes to match industry standards for traditional photography printing methods. Classic sizes like 5 by 7 inches, 6 by 8 inches and 8 by 10 inches are all still common paper sizes.

Smaller sizes like 3.5 by 5 inches and 4 by 6 inches are no longer common due to the increased affordability of larger sizes, but you can often still print them on home photo printers. Larger sizes, especially 11 by 17 inches, are only printable on high-end home photo printers, but the investment is worthwhile if you want to print large portraits regularly.

laser printer photos

Unlike most standard printer papers, photo papers’ ratios are often different. For example, a 5 by 7 inch print has a 7:5 aspect ratio, while an 8 by 10 inch print has a 5:4 aspect ratio, making the 8 by 10 inches noticeably wider in its overall proportions. This means objects or faces at the edges of the photo that show up in the 8 by 10 inches print might get unexpectedly cropped at the 5 by 7 inch size, even if you resize the photo.

Keep in mind, photo paper works much better with specialized photo ink. Sometimes, standard printer ink won’t even bond correctly with photo paper, allowing it to get damaged easily over time. Canon 3500 printer ink creates stellar photos, and the printer can perfectly do this job at any standard photo size when paired with that ink. 

Unusual and Outdated Sizes

Square-shaped printer paper is not commercially available. However, if you want to print on a different type of paper, such as origami paper, you can adjust your printer settings to accommodate it. Some novelty papers’ surfaces won’t hold standard printer ink well, so you must leave extra time for it to absorb and dry.

You might encounter two unusual sizes–half-letter and government letter–which are 5.5 by 8.5 inches and 8.5 by 10.5 inches. You can easily set a file to print at half-letter size by scaling it to 50 percent, but printing at government letter size may require some adjustments to your document’s margins because the overall ratio of the dimensions differs from standard letter size.

The British Imperial system is rarely used now except for specialized projects like theater posters and official documents in the United Kingdom. The main sizes to be aware of are Crown (15 by 20 inches), Royal (20 by 25 inches), Double Crown (20 by 30 inches) and Quad Crown (30 by 40 inches). 

ream papers in box

Dealing with Different Paper Sizes

Most word processors and other office software allow you to change the page layout to various standard paper sizes. Doing this before heading to the print preview screen will enable you to adjust the formatting as needed. Most software automatically reformats plain text documents, but any images or special margin sizes need manual adjustment.

However, you can also adjust the document’s scale on the print preview or print settings screens. You can change the scale based on percentage or let the system automatically shrink the document to fit.

Since letter and A4 are nearly the same size, you can theoretically print a document formatted for letter on A4 paper and vice versa. However, the margins may end up uneven, especially if your printer does not realize you put in a different paper size. It’s best to make the adjustments ahead of time, especially for documents you’ll be sharing with clients or colleagues.

Remember: Large sheets of paper may require adjustments to your printer’s tray, and check the inside of the tray carefully for markings for each paper size’s correct positioning. Most office printers and at-home printers have small adjustable walls inside the main printer tray to correctly feed larger or smaller sheets of paper. Small printers may have a fold-out feeder tray for very large sheets, however.

Can I Cut My Own Paper Shapes or Sizes?

Cutting your own unique paper shape before printing may cause your printer to jam or print incorrectly, as it might not recognize the irregular size or process it correctly. Printers’ feeder mechanisms are only designed for straight, rectangular shapes. Any kind of angled or decorative edge may cause jams, so only cut shapes or use shaped scissors after printing is complete. 

Can I Cut My Own Paper Shapes

If you’re sticking to a square or rectangular shape, you can carefully cut your own paper sizes as needed. Keep in mind that scissors will not provide perfect edges and a high-quality paper cutter is necessary for the best results. Depending on the quantities needed, it may be better to buy a fresh pack of paper in the desired size.

Can Printing Smaller Sheets Save Money?

Although using smaller paper sizes can help you save some money and cut down on environmental waste, the resulting text size sometimes ends up too small. Plus, since paper is inexpensive, buying smaller paper sizes won’t save you as much money as you think.

Instead, focus on reducing your overall ink costs by buying laser ink cartridges or choosing remanufactured ink cartridges. Ink is more expensive than paper, but it’s easy to secure discounts if you use a retailer that gives discounts when you stock up. Even color printing projects become much more affordable with the right provider.

Also, take good care of your printer with some basic maintenance for how to get more ink out of your cartridge. By minimizing wasted ink, you’ll be able to print large projects of any size while staying within your budget.

Can Smaller Sheets Save Money

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Image Credits

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