Printer or copy paper is a common paper type. It’s used in schools and offices for printing forms, paperwork, or schoolwork, but it’s also commonly used as scrap paper or by children for drawing.
However, even if you’re very familiar with printer paper, you may not know its dimensions.
Learning this paper’s dimensions can help you create images that fit onto the paper and can also help you size documents correctly.
Height and Width
Printer paper is available in several different sizes, but the most common size is called the letter size.
Letter printer paper is 8.5 inches wide and 11 inches tall. If you live in the United States, it’s printer paper in letter size that you’ll commonly see used for homework, class work, and in offices.
As the name suggests, this paper size is also frequently used for formal letters.
How thick printer paper is depends on what the paper will be used for. For example, you can purchase cardstock in letter paper size, but it’ll be much thicker than standard copy paper.
Most printer paper is relatively thin. Paper is usually measured in grams per square meter, or GSM, which gives you an idea of how many grams a square meter of paper weighs.
Most printer paper is between 70 and 100 GSM.
It’s easy to convert GSM into millimeters by dividing by 1,000. If we know that most printer paper is 70 to 100 GSM, we also know that most printer paper is between 0.07 and 0.1 millimeters thick.
You can then convert millimeters into inches to find that printer paper is generally between about 0.0028 and 0.0039 inches thick.
Printer Paper in Other Parts of the World
Although people from the U.S. will almost always work with letter-size paper, in other parts of the world, paper sizes are slightly different.
In Europe and Asia, for example, paper is measured in sizes from A0 to A7, and each A size corresponds to a particular width and height.
In Europe, A4 paper is most commonly used for printing. This paper size is slightly taller and narrower than the U.S.’s letter size. A4 paper is 8.3 inches wide and 11.7 inches tall.
Other Common Printer Paper Sizes
In the U.S., a few other paper sizes are also used for printing, although they are less common than letter-size paper. The most common of these other sizes are called legal and tabloid sizes.
Paper in legal size is 8.5 inches wide, but it’s 14 inches tall, which makes it much longer than standard letter printer paper.
This paper is commonly used for printing contracts, as the longer size makes it easier to fit an entire contract onto a single page.
However, in more recent years, printing contracts on legal-sized paper has fallen out of favor, and most law offices use letter printer paper instead.
Tabloid paper is 11 inches wide and 17 inches tall. This paper is seen less frequently than even legal paper, but when it is used, it’s mostly used for printing flyers, posters, or newsletters.
This paper’s size also makes it ideal for printing brochures that will be folded multiple times.
Junior legal is the last printer paper size used in the U.S. Junior legal paper is 5 inches wide and 8 inches tall. Because of its small size, junior legal paper is very rarely used for printing.
However, it is commonly seen on writing pads.
Changing the Printing Size
Although letter paper is the most common size for printer paper in the U.S., you may occasionally find that you need to work with legal, tabloid, or A4 paper.
Although these sizes don’t seem too different from each other, even small changes in size can make printing or copying challenging.
Before you create a document or flyer, it’s important that you adjust the formatting of the word processing or picture program you’re using.
When you go to print or copy on paper of a different size, you’ll also need to make sure that the printer or copy machine has been set for that particular paper size.
If the formatting and printer or copy machine isn’t adjusted, you can run into printing errors. The machine may even jam.