A4 (210 mm x 297 mm), the standard in most countries outside North America, is not quite as wide as Letter size (approx. 216 mm x 279 mm) paper and is longer. When exchanging documents this difference can cause problems. For example, a document formatted for A4 paper must be reformatted (possibly causing page numbering and referencing errors) to print on Letter size -- otherwise information at the bottom of the longer A4 page may be lost.
- TIP: When photocopying A4 pages to Letter size paper, reduce the pages 94% to fit the shorter paper. When photocopying Letter size pages to A4 paper reduce the pages 97% to fit the slightly narrower page (or risk losing margins or text that appears near the page edges).
For a better understanding of common paper sizes used by other countries, EDS, Inc. provides a Guide to International Paper Sizes [offsite link] with a comprehensive set of tables, comparisons, and conversion tips.
Beyond the Desktop
While desktop printers typically use letter size papers, for commercial printing there is a whole other world of paper measurements to consider. A few of specific interest to desktop publishing:
- Parent Sheets - the larger sheets of paper used by commercial printers that are typically cut or folded into smaller sizes
- Cut Sizes - the smaller sheets of paper used by quick printers and desktop printers including letter and tabloid sizes
- Basis Weight - the weight, in pounds, of 500 sheets of any particular standard size of paper
- Basic Size - the customary standard sheet size that is used to determine the basis weight for 500 sheets (ream) of paper
The purpose of this article is simply to acquaint you with some of the terminology associated with measuring paper. Other tutorials will address more detailed use of this information.
|Pick Your Path to Desktop Publishing|
|Get Started:||Basic Guidelines and Requirements for Desktop Publishing|
|Choose Software:||Desktop Publishing and Design Software|
|Tips & Tutorials:||How to Do Desktop Publishing|
|Training, Education, Jobs:||Careers in Desktop Publishing|
|In the Classroom:||Back to School With Desktop Publishing|
|Make Something:||Things to Make for the Holidays|
|Use Templates:||Templates for Print and Web Publishing|