Standard paper sizes: printer, legal, & letter, tabloid, & more

Maybe you are working with lots of documents. You most likely have already wondered what the difference is between A5 and B3 or A4 and Tabloid. The boxes that hold these papers offer information that can confuse you, especially if you are unfamiliar with other types.

There are two main systems of standard paper sizes, one international and one North American. While the international one is used worldwide, the North American system is used in the USA and Canada. 

The sizes might be confusing. I you want to find out more about standard paper sizes – whether they are printer, legal, letter, or tabloid – keep reading for further clarification. 

printer

Standard Paper Size

While both standard systems work separately, problems arise when American paper sizes meet the international ones in the foreign exchange of documents. Because most European countries use the metric system, the documents are measured in millimeters. In contrast, the North American one measures the documents in inches. 

A-series

A-series are the most widely used for letterhead stationery and general printing. They are known worldwide, and everybody has used this paper at least once in their life. 

The most common of these series is the A4, which measures 8-1/4 x 11-3/4 inches defined by the ISO 216 standard. Let’s take a look at all of the sizes. 

Paper SizeCentimetersInchesMillimetersProduct link
A084.1 x 118.8 cm33-1/8 x 46-13/16 in841 x 1188 mmWhite Kraft Roll 30 by 150 Feet
A159.4 x 84.1 cm23-3/8 x 33-1/8 in594 x 841 mmVIZ-PRO Standard Easel Pads, A1 Flipchart Pad
A242.0 x 59.4 cm16-1/2 x 23-3/8 in420 x 594 mmDurable Art Easel Roll for Crafts, Drawing & Painting
A329.7 x 42.0 cm11-3/4 x 16-1/2 in297 x 420 mmBianyo XL Bleedproof Marker Pad, A3
A421.0 x 29.7 cm8-1/4 x 11-3/4 in210 x 297 mmAmazon Basics Multipurpose Copy Printer, 8.5 x 11 Inch
A514.8 x 21.0 cm5-7/8 x 8-1/4 in148 x 210 mmA5 Blank, 6-Hole Punched, 250 Sheets
A610.5 x 14.8 cm4-1/8 x 5-7/8 in105 x 148 mmPurture Refill Lined, A6 Refill
A77.4 x 10.5 cm2-15/16 x 4-1/8 in74 x 105 mmMoterm A7/Pocket Planner Insert, 4-Pack Binder Notebook Organiser Refills, 3.25 x 4.85 Inch
A85.2 x 7.4 cm2-1/16 x 2-15/16 in52 x 74 mmMini Planner Inserts,3-Ring Binder/Planner Filler

 A0

While A0 has the lowest number, it is the largest in this series. It measures 33-1/8 x 46-13/16 inches, the same as 16 pieces of A4 paper. They are used for making large signs and posters or displaying special events advertisements. 

A1

A1 is also large but not as big as the A0. They are intended for technical drawing as well as maps or posters. Companies use A1 for large-format advertising at events and in public places. Brands use the A1 poster size to promote their top-selling products and services. It is a great alternative when marketing in malls and theatres. 

A2

A2 envelopes

The A2 sheet is used for letting people know about a special event coming up. Companies also use A2 to market their brand and increase in popularity. Applications vary from drawing to printing photos to creating posters or charts that feature calendars and detailed information on them. 

A3

A3 is more common than the ones presented above. Most likely, you already worked with this size at work or in school,. It is the same in size as a tabloid newspaper. A3 is often used for posters, plans, and presentations. Many businesses use this size for commercial purposes, and A3 is not commonly found in homes for personal use. 

A4

Everyone heard of A4 as this is the most common size in the world. It is the standard size for documents and the classic paper size for printers. School notepads and magazines also use this size, which is highly versatile and easy to work with. Both professional and home printers should have A4 capabilities. 

A5

The A5 format is perfect for notebooks as they are less bulky than the classic A4. They are intended for taking notes and occupying less space in a backpack or on the desk. But A5 is also great for printing magazines and books. Most printers will offer A5 prints as it is half the size of A4. 

A6

If you sent a postcard to your loved ones when you were away on holiday, you most likely already worked with an A6 paper. Greetings cards and postcards are made in this size, which is also common for pocket diaries and some types of books. Some mobile printers will be able to work with this size. 

A7

While post-it notes are usually small, some can feature an A7 format and make them larger. A7 can also be used for tickets since you can print 8 of them on an A4 sheet. Mini calendars and flyers are just some of the many things you can create with this format. 

A8

A8 is the smallest size in the A-series and only measures 2-1/16 x 2-15/16 inches. This format is used for bank cards and driver’s licenses. However, it is also a good option if you want to print different kinds of stickers. The A8 format is the standard size for business cards and greeting cards. 

Arch paper sizes

Standards for paper sizes have existed since the 20th century and were often created within specific contexts. Rapid industrialization and globalization led to the mass production of papers which became more and more common. 

Architects encounter paper sizes when they are presenting documents to government agencies or producing construction papers. That is why the Arch series was developed. 

SIZEMILLIMETERSINCHESProduct link
ARCH A229 x 3059 x 12Arches Watercolor Pad 9×12-inch Natural White 100%
ARCH B305 x 45712 x 18Dunwell 12×18 Art Portfolio – (Black), 12 x 18
ARCH C457 x 61018 x 24ACYPAPER Plotter 24 x 150, CAD Rolls
ARCH D610 x 91424 x 36Alliance Wide Format CAD Bond Rolls 20lb | 4 Rolls, 36 In x 150 Ft
ARCH E1762 x 106730 x 42Durable Art Easel Roll for Crafts, Drawing & Painting | Ideal for Kids Projects | 30 inches x 200 feet
ARCH E914 x 121936 x 48BOX USA Kraft Brown Roll, 75#, 48″

 Arch D

Arch D is one of the most often used sizes for printing blueprints. Architects favor this format for creating presentation documents and drawings intended to be viewed by a group or placed on a wall. The American National Standards Institute standardizes arch D and has an aspect ratio of 3:2. 

Arch E

The same architects use the Arch E format for the same purposes. The main difference between this and the Arch D series is the size. Arch E has an aspect ratio of 4:3 and features a width of 36 inches and a height of 48 inches. The entire surface area of this paper is 12 square feet, which is more than enough to work on. 

B-Series

The B-series are defined by the international size standard, which makes them follow strict rules in their dimensions. They are not as common as the regular A series, which was created as an addition. With an aspect ratio of 1:2, the area of B series sheets is the geometric mean of the A series.

B Paper SizeWidth x Height (in)Width x Height (mm)Product link
B039.4 x 55.7 in1000 x 1414 mmVonlyst Thermal Roll for Clover Flex Receipt 2 1/4 x 55
B127.8 x 39.4 in707 x 1000 mmAviditi Kraft Roll, 40#, 40″ x 900′, Kraft
B219.7 x 27.8 in500 x 707 mmMade in USA Brown Kraft Jumbo Roll 30″ x 2400″
B313.9 x 19.7 in353 x 500 mmAviditi Kraft Roll, 60#, 20″ x 600′, Kraft
B49.8 x 13.9 in250 x 353 mmArches Watercolor Block 10×14-inch Natural White 100%
B56.9 x 9.8 in176 x 250 mmKokuyo Campus Todai Series Pre-dotted Loose Leaf for Binders – B5 (6.9″ X 9.8″)
B64.9 x 6.9 in125 x 176 mmB6 Small Sketchbook for Drawing – Drawing Notebook
B73.5 x 4.9 in88 x 125 mmLIFE Noble Note B7 [ruled] N42
B82.4 x 3.5 in62 x 88 mmBlank Notes 3.15×3.15 Inches 700 sheets/pack
B91.7 x 2.4 in44 x 62 mmTK Thermal King, 2 1/4″ x 50′ Thermal
B101.2 x 1.7 in31 x 44 mmStar Micronics TRF58 2-inch (58mm) Thermal Rolls

 B4

The B4 paper measures 9.8 x 13.9 inches. You will get two B5 sheets if you cut them in half. The B4 is defined by the international size standard and is commonly used around the world. It is intended for envelopes and books, with many authors choosing this format for their writings. 

B5

The B5 is used to create restaurant magazines and menus. However, this sheet is not compatible with personal printers. B5 papers are for commercial purposes, and this size is used in professional printing. That is why you will not see the B-series in offices and workspaces, but you will spot them in commercials and some books. 

B6

With a measurement of 4.92 x 6.93 inches, the B6 paper is suitable for human writing. This format is reserved for professional printing and is incompatible with home printers. A german innovator first imagined it in 1922. Nowadays, it can be used to create flyers or booklets. 

Tabloid (11×17 paper size)

tabloid papaer

The tabloid is also referred to as ledger size and reflects the 11 x 17 inches sheet. It is commonly used in offices and workspaces by professionals. Engineers and architects appreciate this format, while CAD drafters perform very well in their construction works. Some magazines also use the tabloid format for their marketing campaigns. 

Executive paper sizes

While not as common as other formats, the executive paper is still just an ordinary sheet of printing paper. Rectangular in shape, it has a different aspect ratio to the one most people are used to. The letter and legal paper sizes are the most commonly used in North America. This type is often used for writing personal letters.

Hagaki

Hagaki is a Japanese word, and it translates to ”postcard”. When referring to the Hagaki format, the term represents the Japanese standard postcard size. As a result, all the Hagaki formats measure 4 x 4 inches. Some photo studios in Japan commonly use this format for their productions. 

Half sheet (5 1/2 x 8 1/2) 

The half sheet size measures 5.5 x 8.5 inches and is also referred to as statement or stationery. It is used to write personal letters to your loved ones or write official aeronautical maps in the aviation industry. They are more common in commercial uses, with many institutions using this format. 

Ledger paper

By definition, the ledger paper is a strong and durable writing paper that has a good erasing quality. It is often used in business ledgers and record books, so they rarely see personal or home usage. It is similar to the Tabloid format as both of them have 11 x 17 inches in dimension

Legal paper size (8.5 x 14)

The legal paper is a little bigger in area than the normal paper size, considered the widely used A4. It is 0.18 square yards bigger than that format but is often used for the same purpose. It is the best format for brochures and legal documents in countries that still use English-based paper sizes, such as the US. 

Letter paper (8.5 x 11)

The letter paper size is used for many documents, including magazines and catalogs. It is also called American Quatro or ANSI A, a popular format for business and academic documents. Most likely, you also use this format in everyday life. It’s especially if you are a student or an office worker. 8.5 x 11-inch is considered the standard copy size in the industry. 

Maxi (24 x 36)

The Maxi format is also called the Arch D paper size. Measuring 24 x 36 inches, this is considered a standard in the architectural world. Many designers and architects worldwide use the Maxi paper size for their projects and plans. 

Origami sizes

For origami, you will want to get Kami. It is the standard origami paper. Kami is manufactured in factories in Japan, and they are used worldwide by many skilled artists. The base paper is inked with various colors and then cut into 3 x 3 inches for your artistic purposes. Some Kami will feature sizes as large as 14 x 14 inches for bigger projects. 

Paper roll sizes

Paper roll is also known as thermal paper or an audit roll. It is a special fine product coated with a material intended to change color when exposed to heat. It is used in complex thermal printers and for registers or credit card terminals. Paper rolls usually measure 2 1/4 x 3 1/8 inches. 

Poster paper size

Brands and companies use poster paper to create posters to increase in popularity and gain a following. It is a heavy-weight paper that is similar to photo paper. The difference is that poster papers are much larger, measuring 11 x 17 inches. 

Stationery (8×10)

While they are similar to the classic white printer paper, the stationery format is larger and has a heavier composition. They are used for writing letters or long correspondence. Still, they are also the perfect canvas for people that enjoy expressing their thoughts.

Super-B (13×19) paper size

The super-B format is used for large-scale design by engineers and architects that conduct professional work. The complex drawings they create are printed on laser printers with a wide format and are not intended for personal use. 

FAQ

Why is 8.5 x 11 the standard paper size?

A standard paper size was necessary after offices became increasingly mechanized. The typewriters and printers entered the market, and the need for an organized system led to the determination of the 8.5 x 11 inches paper to become the standard one. 

Why is it called legal-size paper?

In the past, lawyers would use large sheets, which they called foolscaps. They cut the foolscap in half and used the resulting sheets for official documents as they liked the longer paper for taking more notes. In time, a specific name was issued to this size which is the legal size paper. 

Why won’t my printer print on legal-size paper?

Most printers can print on legal paper. You should not encounter problems when trying to use a different size than the standard A4. Most likely, your printer is not working because of a software problem. Make sure to check its settings and optimize the operation for the new format. 

Why does my printer keep saying unexpected paper size?

Another software issue will cause the printer to believe that the piece of paper pulled from the tray is longer than it is. It happens because of the extra time needed to pick the paper, leading to jams or other unexpected errors.