How Big Is Printer Paper? – The Evolution Of Paper Sizes

Printer papers have never been a subject of study, especially their size. Besides the generic size of 8.5 × 14 inches, we know less or nothing about what variance printer papers have in size. However if you are looking specific answer to the question “How big is printer paper”? , kindly read on to get the details.

It is always good to keep knowledge about something we use daily for personal and professional reasons.

Numbers shown on a packet of printer paper are not just digits, but they have a purpose.

For varied printing purposes, the papers must be given the right size, which is why they have different types.  

Who decides the paper sizes?


8.5” x 11”Letter
8.5” x 14”Legal
11” x 17”Tabloid
12” x 18”, 13” x 19”, or 14” x 20”Digital

As you read above, American sizes differ from the other international standards; both have different organizations.

In America, the American National Standards Institute ANSI determines the standards.

ISO and International Organization for Standardization decide the international measurements on paper sizes. ISO 216 is the globally implemented paper size standard.

Difference between ANSI and ISO

American National Standards InstituteInternational organization for standardization
  The standards are for imperial measurements.  Metric system rules to standardization decisions.
 USA paper measures are easy-to-remember. Example – 8.5 by 11 inches for A4 paper.ISO standard sizes may take some time to memorize. Example – 210 × 297 mm for A4 size paper. It is equal to 8.27 x 11.7.
 American papers do not have any aspect ratio parameter. However, it is difficult to differentiate them from ISO-decided paper sizes, but professionals know how this work. ISO always focuses on aspect ratio; for example, it is always 1 to √2 in the A-series paper. In aspect ratio, height and width relate to each other just like the sides of a square do.

What is the American National Standard Institute paper sizes applicable in the U.S ?

Here is the list of the paper sizes used in America, Canada, the U.S., and parts of Mexico. It is the only part of the first world that uses Legal, Letter, Ledger/Tabloid, and Executive.

Also, the formats are determined by ASMI.

Here are the popular paper sizes –

SizeWidth x Height (mm)Width x Height (in)Aspect Ratio
Letter216 x 2798.5 x 11.01:1.2941
Half letter140 x 2165.5 x 8.51:1.5455
Government letter203 x 2548.0 x 10.01:1.25
Legal216 x 3568.5 x 14.01:1.6471
Government legal216 x 3308.5 x 13.01:1.5294
Junior legal127 x 2035.0 x 8.01:1.6000
Ledger / Tabloid279 x 43211.0 x 17.01:1.5455

What are the different types of Architectural paper sizes available ?

Yes, North America has a series of paper sizes for architectural purposes as well, with an aspect ratio of 4:3 or 3:2. Below is the table of architectural paper sizes.

In other words, you can also call it commercial paper sizes used for making building drawings at construction sites.

SizeWidth x Height (in)Width x Height (mm)Aspect Ratio
Arch A9.0 x 12.0229 x 3054:3
Arch B12.0 x 18.0305 x 4573:2
Arch C18.0 x 24.0457 x 6104:3
Arch D24.0 x 36.0610 x 9143:2
Arch E36.0 x 48.0914 x 12194:3
Arch E130.0 x 42.0762 x 10677:5

The use of the paper size depends considerably on your location. However, some organizations and people use both the ANSI and ISO standard papers, especially those with international communication.

Students studying abroad or businesses with global presence use both types of paper sizes.

Did you know?

ANSI has two aspect ratios:-

That are 1:1.2941 and 1:1.5455, while the ISO has only one aspect ratio of 1:root2. But you can find an ANSI ratio closest to ANSI.

Here is a table that shows how you can relate the two based on their measurements.

SizeAspect ratio (ANSI)Closest ISO paper size

Two international standards exist for paper sizes, they are :–

  • International
  • North American

The first standard is the international standard is used worldwide, while the North American is famous in the U.S and Canada.

How big is printer paper in PIXELS?

Different measurements are used for using pixels as the unit for paper size also the purpose of the use is also decisive. Here is a table that displays the paper sizes in pixels.

Size nameSize in pixels 300dpi (without bleed)Size in pixels 300dpi (with bleed)
A014043 x 993314114 x 10004
A19933 x 701610004 x 7087
A27016 x 49617087 x 5031
A34961 x 35085031 x 3579
A43508 x 24803579 x 2551
A52480 x 17482551 x 1819
A61748 x 12401819 x 1311
A71240 x 8741276 x 909

How can you choose the right paper type and size for a purpose?

Well, the capacity to choose the right paper comes with the experience and assistance of professionals from the industry. If you do not have the proper insight into what type is suitable for what purpose, the better option is to take some expert help.

Sometimes, choosing the right choice can be complicated. The information provided above should be sufficient if you have rudimental knowledge about how things work in the paper industry.

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Some of the decided paper sizes have been applicable in America since the 1920s and are still in practice. For example – the letter format and size were adopted in 1921, and the US government accepted it in the 1980s. However, not all sizes and paper types are in much use nowadays, Government legal is not in much use currently, but Government letter is widely used even today.

Across industries and geographical locations, international standards exist, and different countries have their parameters. However, the global standards keep merging because we all live in a big globalized village.   

After reading A glimpse of the basics of paper sizes with a comparison between two popular international standards, ANSI and ISO.


What is the standard size of printer paper?

The standard size is 8.5 x 11, and it is used for various documents such as magazines, forms, letters, etc.

Is A3 bigger than A4?

A3 size is 11.69 x 16.53 inches and 15.98 x 20 inches if mounted. The A4 printer paper size is 8.27 x 11.69 inches, and if mounted, 11.93 x 15.98 inches. Technically, A3 printing paper is bigger than A4.

Can I use A3 paper on an A4 printer?

Yes, you can use A3 to print on an A4 printer by using enlarge/reduce option. For this purpose, select reduce and choose the reduction ratio you need for printing purposes.

What is the size of the A5 paper?

A5 paper size is 5.83 in weight and 8.27 inches in height, and metric measurements are 148 (mm) by 210 mm.

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Anna is the Writer behind ThePrinterFix. Our primary focus is on resolving printer issues so you can resume seamless printing experiences.

Beyond her contributions here, Anna also shares her expertise in troubleshooting printer problems on various tech-related blogs. She's deeply committed to assisting individuals in maximizing their printing experiences and is dedicated to offering solutions for all your printer-related queries.

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