North American Sizes

The USA and Canada are the only major countries in the world that do not officially conform to the ISO paper size standard. Rather, they use a subset of the traditional ‘Letter’, ‘Legal’, ‘Ledger’ and ‘Tabloid’ sizes.

These North American sizes differ from the ISO standard in that they do not have a common aspect ratio. It is believed that the standard size of American ‘Letter’ size paper comes from an average experienced vatman’s maximum arm-span being 44”, and moulds of the time measuring 17” from front to back. To maximise efficiency sheets were made to this size and then divided into 8 smaller sheets which each measured 8.5”x 11”.

In 1995, the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) officially adopted the ANSI/ASME Y14.1 standard, which defined a regular series of paper sizes based upon the de-facto standard ‘Letter’ paper size, which was assigned the name ANSI A. This series is similar to the ISO standard in that cutting one sheet in half parallel to it’s shortest side will give you the next sheet down in the series: however, unlike the ISO standard it features two alternating aspect ratios.

QuickLinks
A Series Paper Sizes
A4 Paper Size
US Letter Paper Size
Billboard Sizes
Newspaper Sizes
ISO Envelope Sizes
US Envelope Sizes
ANSI Paper Sizes
Business Card Sizes
Photo Sizes
Old Imperial Sizes
Canadian Paper Sizes
North American Architectural Sizes


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