If you use a copier or printer you might wonder about standard paper sizes. There is more than one system when it comes to standard paper sizes.
The USA uses ANSI while Europe and Japan use ISO for paper standards. While the vast majority of countries use the metric system of measurement whereas the USA uses the imperial system. The ANSI and ISO systems are fairly evenly distributed among the world.
The paper sizes are not the same for these two systems. While commonly used paper sizes are close, the standard paper sizes are different dimensions:
|ANSI Names||ANSI Inch Dimensions||ANSI MM Dimensions|
|Statement||5½ x 8½ inches||999 x 216 mm|
|Letter||8½ x 11 inches||216 x 279 mm|
|Legal||8½ x 14 inches||216 x 356 mm|
|Tabloid||11 x 17 inches||279 x 432 mm|
|Super B||13 x 19 inches||330 x 483 mm|
|Letter R||11 x 8½ inches||279 x 216 mm|
|Ledger||17 x 19 inches||432 x 279 mm|
|Junior Legal||5 x 8 inches||127 x 203 mm|
|ISO Names||ISO MM Dimensions||ISO Inch Dimensions|
|A0||841 x 1189 mm||33.1 x 46.8 inches|
|A1||594 x 841 mm||23.4 x 33.1 inches|
|A2||420 x 594 mm||16.5 x 23.4 inches|
|A3||297 x 420 mm||11.7 x 16.5 inches|
|A4||210 x 297 mm||8.3 x 11.7 inches|
|A5||148.5 x 210 mm||5.8 x 8.3 inches|
|A6||105 x 148.5 mm||4.1 x 5.8 inches|
|A7||74 x 105 mm||2.9 x 4.1 inches|
Additional Paper Standard Sizes
In addition to ISO A there is also ISO B, and ISO C. The only ISO B standard size I’ve seen used is B4. ISO C standards are used for envelopes.
ANSI also has ANSI Arch which is for architectural paper sizes. Wide format copiers and printers use these standard paper sizes.
Architectural paper sizes include:
- Arch A – 9 x 12 inches
- Arch B – 12 x 18 inches
- Arch C – 18 x 24 inches
- Arch D – 24 x 36 inches
- Arch E – 36 x 48 inches
- Arch E1 30 x 42 inches
These sizes typically come in paper rolls instead of cut sheet paper. In my experience they rarely have cassettes for cut sheet paper. Instead a single sheet feed is used for smaller paper sizes.
From what I’ve seen 24′ and 36′ rolls of paper are used the most. The largest paper size I’ve seen is a 64′ paper roll.
Common Paper Sizes
In my experience, the most commonly used ANSI paper sizes are Letter, Legal, and Tabloid. While the most commonly used ISO paper sizes are A3, A4, and B4.
Regular printers are designed to primarily use Letter paper. Letter paper is the standard copy paper size used for everyday printing. If you’ve ever got a letter, filled out a form, or used a printer then you have used letter paper. The ISO equivalent to Letter is A4.
Legal paper size is also frequently used in copiers and printers. If you’ve ever bought a house or car then you’ve used legal size paper. Contracts, court documents, wills and many other legal forms use legal size paper. An equivalent ISO to Legal is B4.
Ledger is another commonly used paper you’ll see in printers and copiers. It’s usually for artwork, posters, menus, or signs. I see it frequently used to create booklets on copiers with booklet finishers. The ISO equivalent to Ledger is A3.
In my experience Statement size paper isn’t used very often. I’ve seen it typically used for forms or fliers. An equivalent ISO to Statement is A5.
Arch D and E are the most common paper sizes I see used in wide format plotter printers.
Other Paper Sizes
Letter R size paper is identical to Letter size paper. This standard size isn’t sold separately, it’s merely Letter paper rotated 90° in a paper tray. The same is true for Ledger size paper.
Super B size paper isn’t as common as the other paper sizes. I see it used to make full bleed 11 x 17 inch prints on laser printers and copiers.
Color copiers and printers require the edges to be erased. Otherwise the paper will stick to the fuser. You can print on 13 x 19 size paper then trim it down to get full bleed on 11 x 17 paper.
Sublimation printing also uses 13 x 19 inch paper. The platen size of a heat presses is usually 15 x 15 inches. Sublimation paper comes in 13 x 19 inch paper which is the closest match.
Super B is the largest paper size inkjet or laser printers can handle. Plotters, which can use an inkjet or a laser process, are necessary for larger paper sizes need plotters. They use rolls of paper but I’ve seen some with cassettes for cut sheet paper.
Conversely, printers can’t use paper much smaller than statement or A5 size. The paper sensors an rollers inside a printer are at least 4 inches apart. Any paper less than 4 inches will jam between them.
For example, 3 x 5 index cards need feed lengthwise. Same for 4 x 6 photo paper.
There are several standards for paper sizes. Depending on where you are in the world you will typically use ANSI or ISO standards.
Other standards apply to envelopes and large paper. Not all printers can use every standard paper size. Wide format printers typically handle up to 13 x 19 size paper. Plotters are necessary for largest paper sizes.
Regular copiers and printers can use the most common standard paper sizes. The most commonly used standard size for ANSI are Letter, legal, and Tabloid. Whereas the most commonly used ISO standard sizes are A4, B4, and A3.
While ANSI and ISO are not the same dimensions. There are complimentary sizes. Letter and A4 are close in size and used the most. Legal and B4 are also similar and used for legal documents and contracts. Tabloid and A3 are twice as big as Letter and A4 respectively.
Those are the standard copy paper sizes I see used throughout the world.
A4 is the regular copy paper size in Europe and Japan. It’s slightly narrower and taller than the regular copy paper in the USA: Letter.
Letter (8½ x 11 inches), legal (8½ x 14 inches), statement (5½ x 8½), and tabloid (11 x 17 inches) are 4 standard paper sizes commonly used. Letter R (11 x 8½ inches) an Ledger (17 x 11 inches) are merely letter and tabloid paper rotated 90°.
A4 is close to Letter size paper. Both are commonly called printer paper. A5 is close to statement size and neither are used very often.
B1 is 707 x 1000 mm. B2 (500 x 707) is made by cutting a sheet of B1 in half.
The Copier Guy, aka Dave. I’ve worked on scanners, printers, copiers, and faxes since 1994. When I’m not fixing them I’m writing about them. Although, I’m probably better at fixing them. I’ve worked with every major brand. As well as several types of processes. If it uses paper I’ve probably worked on one.