A-series paper

There are not many things in this world that I hate more than Letter Size paper.

Just look at it. Isn’t it horrible? Sitting there being based on outdated imperial units, looking all wonky and fat.

But instead of explaining in great detail why I hate Letter Size paper I’m going to explain why I love its main competitor: A4 size paper.

A4 is the fourth size in the metric International Standard (ISO 216) A-series of paper which runs from A0 (the largest) to A10 (the smallest). The A-series is constructed so that the longer side is 1.414 (√2) times the length of the shorter side, which makes each size in the series composed of two copies of the next-smallest size.

If x is the length of the shortest side then the area of an A-series sheet of paper is 1.414x2. Given that the first size in the series, A0, has an area of 1m2, that means that the short side of Ao is 841 millimetres and the long side 1189 mm. From this, the dimensions of all the remaining sizes in the series can be found.

4 thoughts on “A-series paper

  1. I write this from New Delhi. Just discovered your brilliant and eclectic blog ( via Ms. L Johnston’s tweets; and I discovered her via another …it’s tweetles all the way down so to speak)

    It may be worth noting that the weight of the A0 sheet is the gsm of the paper.

    With best regards

  2. Whereas I agree that Letter size is a horrible format from a mathematical standpoint, the aspect ratio can be aesthetically pleasing.

    Legal size paper is where I draw the line, though.

  3. One of the brilliant things about A sized paper is that it reduces waste stock. All of the A sizes of paper can be produces by cutting a sheet of A0. So you don’t necessarily need to hold a quantity of every size of paper – there is no waste paper when you cut A0 into quarters to get A2 for example. A series paper is ingenious.

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