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What are the Different Paper Sizes?

Paper Sizes

Many of you may think paper sizes are pretty self explanatory and what more can we explain about them. Well, a lot actually. There is a number of paper size standards used throughout the world today. Europe, America, Columbia and Japan all use different standards when measuring paper. However, the two most used paper measurement standards come from the ISO & the ANSI.

International ISO Standard

The first paper standard system is the International ISO Standard 216. This system is mostly used throughout Europe.  There is a lot of math involved when figuring out how the sizes are determined but here is the basic understanding.

International ISO Standard 216 paper sizing guide

  • This paper sizing method is all based on a ratio of square root of 2. The purpose of this is that if you divide the paper into two equal halves than you will still have a ratio of. This means you can make folded brochures of any size by using a larger sized piece of paper. For example an A4 sheet of paper can be folded to make the smaller A5 brochures without losing the exact dimensions of an A5 sheet of paper.

American National Standards Institute (ANSI)

The second paper measurement standard is the one we use here in the US. The American National Standards Institute or ANSI. This is also in use in Canada & Mexico. Although the ANSI labels the sizes with letters (ANSI A), they are more commonly known as Letter, Legal and Ledger.

American National Standards Institute or ANSI paper sizing guide

  • This standard for measuring paper is centered on the “letter” size (8.5 × 11). This concept is similar to the ISO standard of folding a piece of paper in half would create two sheets of paper in the next size down. However, as a result of this formula it causes the paper to have two alternating ratios.

Comparing the Standards

Still feeling overwhelmed by all the math and sizes available? No worries, we created this handy chart below to help you understand the exact ANSI measurements & their ISO counterparts.

ANSI Paper Sizes

Inch * Inch


ISO size

ANSI A (Letter)

8.5 × 11

Standard size for typical piece of paper



8.5 × 14

Legal documents & real estate documents


ANSI B (Ledger/Tabloid)

11 × 17

Drawings, diagrams, large tables



17 × 22

Flip charts



22 × 34

Technical drawings, posters



34 × 44

Technical drawings, posters


Understanding Paper Sizes: A Comprehensive Guide

When it comes to printing and design, understanding the different paper sizes is crucial. From standard letter size to tabloid and everything in between, knowing the dimensions and common uses for each size can make a significant difference in the outcome of your project. Whether you're a graphic designer, a business owner, or simply someone who wants to be well-informed, this guide will provide you with all the essential information you need to know about paper sizes.

The Benefits of Knowing Different Paper Sizes

Knowing the different paper sizes can save you time, money, and frustration. By understanding the dimensions and uses of each size, you can make informed decisions when it comes to printing, designing, and selecting the right paper for your specific needs. Whether you're creating flyers, brochures, or posters, having a good grasp of paper sizes can help you achieve the desired results and avoid unnecessary complications.

Practical Use Cases for Different Paper Sizes

Understanding paper sizes is essential for a wide range of applications. From creating professional documents to designing marketing materials, knowing which paper size to use for each project can make a significant impact on the final product. Whether you're printing business cards, resumes, or invitations, choosing the right paper size can enhance the overall appearance and effectiveness of your materials.

Exploring Alternatives to Standard Paper Sizes

While standard paper sizes are commonly used, there are also alternative options available that may better suit your specific needs. From custom sizes to specialty papers, exploring alternatives can open up new possibilities for your projects. Whether you're looking for unique textures, colors, or dimensions, considering alternative paper options can add a distinctive touch to your designs.

Tips for Using Different Paper Sizes Effectively

Using different paper sizes effectively involves understanding the specific requirements of your project and selecting the most suitable size accordingly. Whether you're creating a presentation, a portfolio, or promotional materials, there are various tips and tricks that can help you make the most of different paper sizes. From layout considerations to printing techniques, mastering the art of using paper sizes effectively can elevate the quality and impact of your work.

Additional Considerations for Paper Sizes

Aside from the standard paper sizes, there are additional considerations to keep in mind when working with paper. Factors such as weight, texture, and finish can all play a significant role in the overall look and feel of your printed materials. Understanding how these elements interact with different paper sizes can help you achieve the desired aesthetic and functionality for your projects.

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