Standard Printer Paper Dimensions (Must Know!)

Printer papers are the second most important thing in the printing process. The first one is the printer. But you can’t use a particular size for every print. That’s why you should know about the standard printer paper dimensions.

Dimension of the printer paper changes depending on where you live. People in the U.S. use ANSI-approved Letter (8.5× 11inches), Legal (8.5×14 inches), and tabloid (11×17 inches) sizes for printing. Most countries use ISO-approved A-series paper as standard paper. A4 is the most popular in Europe, while the Letter is in the U.S.

Before buying a printing paper, you must know about the color, opacity, coating, weight, brightness, and materials. Otherwise, it would be challenging to print good-quality images and documents.

Standard Printer Paper Dimensions

Types Of Paper

You’ll find different types of paper in the market but can’t use all of them for printing. This is because different printers use different types of paper.

Inkjet printers use special inkjet printing paper to print business cards and greeting cards using special inkjet printing paper. Laser papers print memos, invoices, and official documents. Then comes the A-series approved by the ISO. Most countries follow this standard.

A4 is a widely used A-series paper. A0 is the basis of this series. You can use A2 and A3 to print large posters and banners. A1 and A2 are used to print business cards.

In the U.S., people follow the ANSI standard. Letter, Legal, and Tabloid are the most commonly used sizes all over the U.S.

What To Consider When Buying Printing Paper?

You must know the quality of paper when it comes to purchasing printing paper. Look for these qualities when you’re buying printing paper:


Paper with higher brightness produces better printing. The scale of brightness measurement varies from 1 to 100. Average printing papers score 90 in brightness.


Weight is another way to measure thickness. Heavyweights mean the paper can withstand an impact. Cover stocks are the heaviest, and text stocks are the lightest papers available in the market.


Opacity means a hindrance to the passing of lights. On a scale of 0 to 100, 0 stands for see-through papers and 100 for the best opacity of the paper. For example, greeting cards have 100% opacity, and tracing paper has 0% opacity.


Printing papers offer a lot of colors. It ranges from off-white to yellow and clear to tan black. So you can apply your creativity using a different shade of printing paper.


Printing papers are mostly made from wood fibers. In addition, special printing papers are made from clothes, plastics, and textile fibers.


Printing papers offer a wide range of sizes. You can print almost everything from business cards to digital banners on these papers.


Some printing papers are used raw without coating, like A4 size paper. But others have a polymer layer coating. It makes the print look shinier and smooth.

Different Printer Paper Sizes Available In The Market

There’s a lot of printer paper available in the market. But different printers support specific paper sizes. So you’ll find inkjet printer paper, laser printer paper, glossy, bright, cardstock, matte, bright white, and the list goes on.

Most countries use the ISO (International Organization for Standardization) standard A-series. However, people of the USA use ANSI (American National Standards Institute) standard sizes that are available in the market.

The ISO standard A-series is widely used outside the USA. Paper size ranges from 1 to 10, with 1 being the largest and 10 the smallest size available in the market.

ISO Standard Size

A4 size is the most popular size present in the market. Its dimension (8.3×11.7 inches) makes it the perfect choice.

Always use an A3 size if your document contains high-resolution images and more extensive graphic content. A3 has a dimension of (11.7×16.5 inches) which is twice the size of an A4.

A1 and A2 are primarily used to print banners and posters.

A5 and A6 are smaller in size than other formats. Use A5 and A6 sizes if you want to print flyers or business cards.

SRA (Supplementary Raw Format A) is larger than A-size papers. SRA3 is widely used in digital and commercial printing.

C-size is a bit bigger than A-size papers. Therefore, always use C-size to print envelopes.

ANSI Standard Size

If you live in the USA, you’ll find printing papers that follow ANSI (American National Standards Institute) standards.

Commonly, Letter (8.5× 11inches), Legal (8.5×14 inches), and tabloid (11×17 inches) sizes are used for different printing purposes. Letter size is the most available printing paper in the U.S. You can print documents both in portrait and landscape layouts.

Legal size is a little longer than letter size. Use legal size if you want a smooth finish.

The tabloid format is widely used for printing charts, newsletters, and small-sized newspapers.

Printer Paper Weight And Thickness

You can’t print everything using a single type of printer paper. Instead, paper of different weights and thicknesses is used to print various information.

Paper Weight

The weight of printer paper is measured in Pound or GSM (grams per square meter). Paper manufacturers use the GSM unit to understand how much pulp is needed to make paper. You can find it on the paper cover too.

Pound tells you the total weight of a definite number of papers. Generally, it refers to the weight of 500 sheets. If both the units are available on the cover and confuse you, look for the GSM. It uses one sheet of paper of 1 meter by 1 meter.

Always use paper that has high GSM. Boards or board weight is rarely used as a unit. Instead, it is used for cardboard and stocks paper.

Paper Thickness

Points and Microns, simply known as Mic, measure the paper’s thickness. Sometimes, papers of the same GSM feel thinner and denser than the other. It’s because of a process called ‘calendering.’ So, don’t confuse thickness with GSM.

Point (pt) measures thickness more scientifically. Always use paper that has high points. For example, a 15pt paper won’t give a similar result as a 20 pt paper.

Different Weight Paper Usage

Printing papers come in variable weights. Here are a few use case scenarios for printing papers of varying weight and thickness:

  • 20 lb. (75 GSM) is used to print posters, flyers, and brochures.
  • 24 lb. (89 GSm) is a multipurpose paper. It is a good choice for art and crafting.
  • Newsletters, Resumes, and stationaries are printed on 28 lb. (105 GSM). It gives the print a more decent look.
  • 67 lb. (147 GSM) works fine in inkjet and laser printers. You can print posters and invitations easily with this paper.
  • 65 lb. cover (176 GSM) paper prints give a catchy look to parties. You can easily cut and fold the paper.
  • 110 lb. index (199 GSM) is the best choice when it comes to printing pop-up cards, gift tags, and photo mats.

Printer Paper Brightness And Opacity

Paper brightness and opacity are essential factors when it comes to printing. Never confuse brightness with whiteness.

Brightness And Whiteness

The light reflection ability of the paper is known as brightness. But whiteness refers to the quality of the paper. So a higher brightness number means the paper provides better quality whiteness.

The contrast between ink and paper depends on brightness. A whiter and brighter paper gives bright color, crispy texts, and bold images.

Brightness is measured on a scale of 1-100.80 is the lowest number of commercial-grade, and 100 ranks the highest. You can apply bleach to produce ultra-bright paper.

Paper industries follow three standards to measure the brightness of a paper. Let’s find out what the standards are.

1. G.E Brightness

ANSI (American National Standard Institute) uses this basis. Filtered daylight hits the paper from one angle only. As a result, the standard is always lower than other standards.

2. ISO Brightness

Most countries follow the ISO brightness standard. As a result, unfiltered daylight hits the paper from every angle possible.

You can achieve 100% brightness in this method. Obviously, the ISO scale measurement is higher than the ANSI scale.

3. D65 Brightness

You can achieve over 100% brightness in this method. It uses outdoor light that contains U.V. So, D56 gives more shine than ANSI and ISO.


Opacity means how much light can go through the paper. Imagine reading a book, but you can see the text on the other side of the paper. It doesn’t feel good, right?

A higher opacity number means the paper can easily reduce the show-through of the other side. The weight of the paper has an impact on opacity. Generally, heavy papers have more opacity.

Always print on paper that has high opacity. Your presentations and documents will look cooler on non-transparent paper. Use tracing paper to make transparent sheets.

Printer Paper Dimensions In The United States

The printer paper dimension depends on where you live. Most countries follow the ISO standard. But the USA follows ANSI standards.

A list of paper sizes called ANSI Y14.1 contains the size of every type of printing paper.

Letter (8.5× 11inches), Legal (8.5×14 inches), and Tabloid (11×17 inches) are the standard formats used in the USA. ‘Junior legal’ is another standard, but it isn’t in use at present.

ANSI has an aspect ratio of 1.2942 to 1.5455. Therefore, the Letter size maintains a 1.2941 aspect ratio, while the Tabloid has a 1.5455 aspect ratio.

Letter size is the most common paper available for printing. Documents are printed on a portrait layout. If you want to print graphs and charts, use a landscape layout.

The legal size is almost the same as the letter size. But it is three inches longer than a letter. This is because purchase agreements, loan agreements, partnership agreements, corporate bylaws, etc., are printed on legal size paper.

Financial statements, small size newspapers, and newsletters are perfect for the tabloid size. Likewise, charts fit fine in the tabloid-size paper.

Printers don’t support every type of paper. Check the paper list in the printer manual to use a variety of paper.

Printer Paper Dimensions Abroad

Countries outside of North America follow the ISO standard. You have to maintain an aspect ratio of 1.4142 if you follow ISO. You can reset the document size for printing in another ISO format. You just have to keep the aspect ratio.

‘A’ series is the most popular ISO standard. A4 is the most used format outside of the USA.

According to ISO, A defines the series name, and the number represents the size of the paper. Therefore, the higher the number is, the smaller the paper is.

A0 is the basis of this series. It has an area of one square meter. So, for example, 0.841×1.189 meter is the dimension of an A0 paper.

Fold the paper in half to the parallel line of the short sides to figure out the paper’s dimension. Then, you can generate the next format just by folding the paper in half. For example, folding an A0 paper in half will give an A1 size of the A-series.

A-series papers are used to print official documents, letters, handicrafts, etc.A4 format is widely used both as printer paper and copier paper. Architects use A1 size to design buildings, and painters use it as a canvas.

A5, A6, and A7 sizes are regularly used in printing business cards and greeting cards. In addition, you can print cue cards using the A9 and A10 formats of the A-series.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1. What is the standard size of printer paper?

Letter (8.5× 11inches), Legal (8.5×14 inches), and Tabloid (11×17 inches) are the most popular sizes. But the ISO standard is accepted in most countries. The Letter is the standard size for the USA. A4, which is approved by ISO, is accepted outside the USA.

2. What is regular printer paper called?

The Letter or U.S. letter is the common term used in North America. The term A-series is used outside of the USA. A4 is the most popular size of this series. It is approved by the ISO.

3. Is there a difference between copy paper and printer paper?

Copy paper is thinner and cheaper than printer paper. However, copy paper doesn’t help much when it comes to printing documents with a lot of images. Printer paper delivers more stable print than copy paper.


Every day you read something in print like newspapers, magazines, books, and tabloids. You’ll get bad results if you don’t use the right paper. Always check opacity, color quality, brightness, and coating before buying any printing paper. We hope this passage about standard printer paper dimensions helps you purchase your desired printing paper. Do your research correctly before buying any paper for your printer.