Paper Sizes for Printing: Beyond the Standard

Most people never go beyond the standard 8.5” X 11” size when it comes to paper. But there are various paper sizes for printing available that can have a powerful impact on the way projects are perceived. Here’s how to use paper size to achieve your perfect paper project.

Basic Vs. Cut

There are two terms when it comes to paper sizes:

  • Basic size: This is what the full size of a sheet is called before it’s cut down to its final form. Basic size varies between paper weights.
  • Cut size: This is the actual size of the sheet you purchase.

So while 8.5” x 11” is the standard cut size, its basic size is 17” x 11”.

Paper Sizes & Categories

There are many categories of cut sizes to consider. These are rooted in the intended use of the paper. Popular categories are desktop, scrapbooking, and those used for marketing.


The vast majority of papers used in office and business settings fall under the desktop category.

  • Letter Size: Also known as ANSI A, letter-sized paper is the typical 8.5” x 11” paper used in letter writing, document printing, and other office documents.
  • Legal Size: Coming in at a lengthy 8.5” x 14”, legal-sized paper is only used in North America. Unsurprisingly, it’s primarily used in legal offices and law firms. The additional length is intended to allow space for individuals to sign and notarize documents.
  • Tabloid or Ledger Size: Tabloid or ledger-sized paper also goes by ANSI B. It’s 11” wide x 17” long and is referred to as “tabloid” when it’s vertically oriented and “ledger” when it’s horizontal.


There is a wide range of scrapbook projects calling for many different paper sizes. The standard size for scrapbooks, though, is 12” by 12”, with paper of that size coming in various weights and finishes. Letter size may also be used when creating mini-albums or embellishments on traditionally sized pages, as can custom sizes.

Marketing Materials

Many tactile tools of marketing are printed on paper: fliers, brochures, posters, and more. Aside from the ubiquitous 8.5” x 11” size, many other options can be used.

Brochures can come in many sizes, ranging from the simpler and smaller 8” by 8” to larger versions such as 8.5” x 14” and 8.5” x 22”. They can also be custom designed to be other sizes.

Marketing posters begin at 8.5” by 11” but can be printed on paper size 13” x 19” and beyond.

Go Beyond the Standard

The next time you need to print something, consider paper sizes for printing other than the standard letter size. Many projects may have a bigger impact if a larger size of paper is used. Using unconventional sizes can also help projects to stand out in a sea of standard-sized ones.

Contact the paper experts at Quality Printing today to plan your next project and get the high-quality print you desire in the size that you need.

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