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Letter or ANSI Letter is a
paper size Paper size standards govern the size of sheets of paper used as writing paper, stationery, cards, and for some printed documents. The ISO 216 standard, which includes the commonly used A4 size, is the international standard for paper size. I ...
standard defined by the
American National Standards Institute The American National Standards Institute (ANSI ) is a private non-profit organization that oversees the development of voluntary consensus standards for products, services, processes, systems, and personnel in the United States. The orga ...
, commonly used as home or office stationery in the United States, Canada, Chile,
Colombia Colombia (, ; ), officially the Republic of Colombia, is a country in South America with insular regions in North America—near Nicaragua's Caribbean coast—as well as in the Pacific Ocean. The Colombian mainland is bordered by the Car ...
, Costa Rica, Mexico,
Panama Panama ( , ; es, link=no, Panamá ), officially the Republic of Panama ( es, República de Panamá), is a List of transcontinental countries#North America and South America, transcontinental country spanning the Central America, southern ...
, Guatemala, the
Dominican Republic The Dominican Republic ( ; es, República Dominicana, ) is a country located on the island of Hispaniola in the Greater Antilles archipelago of the Caribbean region. It occupies the eastern five-eighths of the island, which it shares with ...
and the Philippines. It measures and is similar in use to the
A4 paper ISO 216 is an international standard for paper sizes, used around the world except in North America and parts of Latin America. The standard defines the "A", "B" and "C" series of paper sizes, including A4, the most commonly available paper siz ...
standard used by most other countries, defined in
ISO 216 ISO 216 is an international standard for paper sizes, used around the world except in North America and parts of Latin America. The standard defines the "A", "B" and "C" series of paper sizes, including A4, the most commonly available paper siz ...
by the International Organization for Standardization.


Details

The
Reagan administration Ronald Reagan's tenure as the 40th president of the United States began with his first inauguration on January 20, 1981, and ended on January 20, 1989. Reagan, a Republican from California, took office following a landslide victory over ...
made Letter-size paper the norm for US federal forms in the early 1980s; previously, the smaller "official" ''Government Letter'' size, (aspect ratio: 1.3125), was used in government, while paper was standard in most other offices. The aspect ratio is ≈ 1.294 and the
diagonal In geometry, a diagonal is a line segment joining two vertices of a polygon or polyhedron, when those vertices are not on the same edge. Informally, any sloping line is called diagonal. The word ''diagonal'' derives from the ancient Greek ...
is () in length. In the US, paper density is usually measured in "pound per reams" (of 500 sheets). Typical Letter paper has a basis weight of paper of – the weight of 500 sheets (a ream) of paper at and at 50% humidity. One ream of 20-pound Letter-sized paper weighs , and a single Letter-sized sheet of 20-pound paper weighs , which is equivalent to 75.19  g/m2. Some metric information is typically included on American ream packaging. For example, 20-pound paper is also labeled as 75 g/m2. The most common density of A4 paper is 80 g/m2. The related paper size known as half letter, statement, or organizer L is exactly one half of the US Letter size: (8.5 × 5.5 in).


History

The precise origins of the dimensions of US letter-size paper (8.5 × 11 in) are not known. The American Forest & Paper Association says that the standard US dimensions have their origin in the days of manual
papermaking Papermaking is the manufacture of paper and cardboard, which are used widely for printing, writing, and packaging, among many other purposes. Today almost all paper is made using industrial machinery, while handmade paper survives as a speciali ...
, the 11-inch length of the standard paper being about a quarter of "the average maximum stretch of an experienced vatman's arms". The letter size falls within the range of the historical
quarto Quarto (abbreviated Qto, 4to or 4º) is the format of a book or pamphlet produced from full sheets printed with eight pages of text, four to a side, then folded twice to produce four leaves. The leaves are then trimmed along the folds to produc ...
size, which since pre-modern times refers to page sizes of wide and high, and it is indeed almost exactly one quarter of the old Imperial (British) paper size known as ''demy quarto'' – – allowing a for trimming.


See also

* ANSI/ASME Y14.1 *
ISO 216 ISO 216 is an international standard for paper sizes, used around the world except in North America and parts of Latin America. The standard defines the "A", "B" and "C" series of paper sizes, including A4, the most commonly available paper siz ...
(definition of metric paper sizes, e.g., A4) * Paper size: loose sizes


References

{{Reflist Mechanical standards Stationery