Grab a free instant download of a printable paper size chart to have on hand on trying to figure out what size to print your printables!
Since this site has a ton of printables, I thought I’d go over the different paper sizes and what all those A and B numbers mean in your printing software.
I don’t know about you, but I still get confused by all the endless lists of paper sizes and what international standard vs standard paper sizes is and so forth.
So I made a printable paper-size chart for you to download at the bottom of this post of the most common sizes you will be working with when printing digital files on home printers.
International Standard Vs Standard
This is a little bit like the metric system for paper, lol! If you are like me and live in the United States we are brought up and use a different system than most of the rest of the world.
The most common standards are the International Standard ISO which uses A sizes and B Sizes which keep the same aspect ratio as the size increases (If you want to totally geek out it’s based on root 2 rectangles which have a proportional size ratio of 1:1.41 or 1 to the square root of 2).
International paper sizes such as the ISO A series are used in commercial printing and used to define the finished paper size.
Then in Northern America, we also have standard paper sizes that were defined in 1995 by ANSI (American National Standards Institute) and based on our most common paper size (8.5 x 11 inches). To confuse matters, they also use ANSI A, ANSI B, ANSI C, ANSI D, and ANSI E to name different paper sizes.
And then there is even another category called ARCH series paper sizes (architectural paper sizes) which are denoted ARCH A, ARCH B, ARCH C, ARCH D, and ARCH E (these different sizes are mostly for architectural drawings so you won’t have to worry about them).
Let’s break the standard sizes down with some charts. This first one is North America standards and the sizes you will be using most often when printing different business supplies and printables (like our free printable check list templates).
The following table is the ARCH sizes in inches and millimeters just for your reference.
Now let’s take a look at the ISO metric paper sizes (A series and B series) that most printer settings will also have a few of.
International paper size standard common paper sizes and common uses: A4 is for office documents, A5 is for notepads, and A6 is for postcards. Then business cards have their own size!
There is actually a C series paper size that is most commonly used for envelopes but we aren’t going to dive into that!
You can see that some of the paper size standards that we use today are really similar.
Most of the paper sizes are named with the shorter side size first (this is portrait mode) and the height of a page second. If the sizes are flipped then it’s considered landscape mode for printer settings.
What Sizes Do You Need to Know For Home Printing??
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For the most part, the majority of printables are going to be in standard letter size also known as ANSI A or 8.5″ x 11″. You can find lots of different kinds of papers in letter size including colored paper, cardstock, and plain copy paper.
When I go to my printer settings, I have a very short list of paper size options. There are a few from the ISO paper size system and then a few from American systems. I almost always choose LETTER for printables unless the instructions tell me to pick something else.
In comparison to ISO standard, the closest to letter paper size would be A4 which is 8.27″ x 11.7″ so a little narrower and longer.
The sheet of paper you use will vary depending on the type of printer you have and the type of paper that works best with it. Inkjet printers can use the majority of multipurpose paper but laser printers sometimes will need paper specific for best results.
When it comes to standard cards, ideally we want a setting that is 4×6 inches or 5×7 inches, but alas there are no paper sizes that match but separate card sizes!!
This is when you can use photo size settings in your printer settings or set custom paper sizes within the software itself. Every printer software does it differently, so make sure to look that up if you are interested in creating custom sizes.
If you are wanting a print in a large format and sending digital images in for commercial printing, you’ll want to know which size to tell them from the charts above.
Printable Paper Size Chart Download
As with all our free printables, these are for personal use only! Please no selling or redistributing of PDF files. Thank you!
So to make sense of all these numbers and sizes, I made a cheat sheet for you to print out because I know most of us are visual learners.
Print out as many copies as you need on standard copy paper and place them on your bulletin board or next to your printer or computer.
Once you click the download button below, the PDF file should automatically download (and yes, it’s in letter size!!)
Hope this helps when trying to decide which paper size you need for your projects!
Thanks for stopping by and have a creative day!