What is A4 Paper?

What is A4 paper?, I get asked all the time, so I’m going to distill the experience of the years here for your benefit.

297mm x 210mm (Simples)

The first thing to understand is that all European office paper sizes are based on an ‘aspect ratio of √2’ so, starting with the largest paper size A0 (equivalent to 1 square metre ) essentially that is divided into two to give A1, then folded on the short edge to give A2, – it’s a bit like origami, folded on the short edge to give A3 – which is folded on its short edge to give A4.  Indeed if you fold A4 on it’s short edge you get A5 and on and on down to A10.

The main advantage of this system is its scaling.  Folded brochures of any size can be made by using sheets of the next larger size, e.g. A4 folded makes an A5 Brochure.  The system also allows scaling without compromise from one size to another e.g. enlarging A4 to A3 on the office copier machine.


An illustration of ISO 216 Paper sizes

All very interesting, but how big is an actual piece of A4 paper?, well 297mm x 210mm or 11.27in x 8.27in.

A4 is the most commonly used paper size in Europe, but in the USA and Canada they are still using ‘Letter Size’ which is 216mm x 279mm (8.5 x 11in) which is 6mm (0.24in) wider and 18mm (0.71in) shorter.  I’m sure that you like me have tried to print documents that were saved in Letter size and your printer refuses point blank to print the information!.


A4 Weight

The other key measurement of a piece of paper is it’s weight, here’s another interesting fact that you may not be aware of; the weight of each sheet is easy to calculate given the basis weight in grams per square metre (g/m2 or gsm).  Since an A0 sheet has an area of 1m2, its weight in grams is the same as its basis weight in gsm.  An A4 sheet made from 80 g/m2 paper weighs 5g, as it is one 16th (four halving) for an A0 page.


So, when you are looking to buy Cheap A4 paper you should be aware of the size, the paper weight and whether is is suitable for your inkjet or laserjet printer – or both.  Here at Stinkyink.Com we now stock a large range of different paper optimized for your inkjet or laserjet printers.  As we use the paper ourselves we know that it is economical and fit for purpose – we won’t buy paper that tends to jam in our printers!

Good News

The really good news is that all this information is regulated by ISO216, which specifies international Standard (ISO) paper sizes used in most countries today – excluding the USA and Canada.  Two supplementary standards ISO217 and ISO269 define other related paper sizes – so fear not things will not be changing dramatically in paper sizes in the near future.  If you can remember Foolscap being the de-facto office standard, they you my friend are older than you look.  The sad news of course is that I do, and when we were adding our extensive stationery range to the website one of my team asked me what it was – they’d never heard of it (Is it me?), which conversation prompted me to write this blog article


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