Letter (paper size)
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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, commonly used as home or office stationery in the
United States The United States of America (U.S.A. or USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US) or America, is a country primarily located in North America. It consists of 50 states, a federal district, five major unincorporated territorie ...
,
Canada Canada is a country in North America. Its ten provinces and three territories extend from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific Ocean and northward into the Arctic Ocean, covering over , making it the world's second-largest country by tot ...
,
Chile Chile, officially the Republic of Chile, is a country in the western part of South America. It is the southernmost country in the world, and the closest to Antarctica, occupying a long and narrow strip of land between the Andes to the east a ...
,
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 Costa Rica (, ; ; literally "Rich Coast"), officially the Republic of Costa Rica ( es, República de Costa Rica), is a country in the Central American region of North America, bordered by Nicaragua to the north, the Caribbean Sea to the no ...
,
Mexico Mexico (Spanish: México), officially the United Mexican States, is a country in the southern portion of North America. It is bordered to the north by the United States; to the south and west by the Pacific Ocean; to the southeast by Guatema ...
,
Panama Panama ( , ; es, link=no, Panamá ), officially the Republic of Panama ( es, República de Panamá), is a transcontinental country spanning the southern part of North America and the northern part of South America. It is bordered by Cos ...
,
Guatemala Guatemala ( ; ), officially the Republic of Guatemala ( es, República de Guatemala, links=no), is a country in Central America. It is bordered to the north and west by Mexico; to the northeast by Belize and the Caribbean; to the east by H ...
, 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 wit ...
and the
Philippines The Philippines (; fil, Pilipinas, links=no), officially the Republic of the Philippines ( fil, Republika ng Pilipinas, links=no), * bik, Republika kan Filipinas * ceb, Republika sa Pilipinas * cbk, República de Filipinas * hil, Republ ...
. 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 size ...
standard used by most other countries, defined in ISO 216 by the
International Organization for Standardization The International Organization for Standardization (ISO ) is an international standard development organization composed of representatives from the national standards organizations of member countries. Membership requirements are given in Ar ...
.


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 δ ...
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 Grammage and basis weight, in the pulp and paper industry, are the area density of a paper product, that is, its mass per unit of area. Two ways of expressing grammage are commonly used: * Expressed in grams (g) per square meter (g/m2), regardl ...
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 The American Forest & Paper Association (AF&PA) is the national trade association of the paper and wood products industry. AF&PA was formed on January 1, 1993, by the merger of the National Forest Product Association and the American Paper Ins ...
says that the standard US dimensions have their origin in the days of manual papermaking, the 11-inch length of the standard paper being about a quarter of "the average maximum stretch of an experienced
vatman Decimo Ltd was a British electronics manufacturer. Decimo was founded by Douglas Dorsett in the 1970s, and the company was based in Luton, Bedfordshire, England. Vatman Vatman was a brand of pocket calculator An electronic calculator is t ...
'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 (definition of metric paper sizes, e.g., A4) * Paper size: loose sizes


References

{{Reflist Mechanical standards Stationery