Standard Paper Sheet Sizes in North America

ANSI sets the standards

North American paper sheet sizes are standardized throughout the graphic arts and printing industries in the United States, Canada, and Mexico. You'll find these common paper sheet sizes in paper and supply stores everywhere. Most printers easily accommodate these paper sheet sizes.

Standard paper sheet sizes in North America
Lifewire / Grace Kim

About North American Paper Sheet Sizes

The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) defined a regular series of paper sizes in 1995. Areas other than the U.S., Canada, and Mexico use the ISO 216 standard paper sizes, which are measured in millimeters.

ANSI measures sheet sizes in inches and bases sheet sizes on multiples of the standard letterhead size. Common sheet sizes include 8.5x11, 11x17, 17x22, 19x25, 23x35, and 25x38.

Standard North American Parent Sheet Sizes

Parent sheet sizes are the large standard sheets from which smaller sheets are cut. These sheets are manufactured to these sizes at the paper mills and shipped to commercial printing companies and other paper users. Sometimes, the parent sheets are cut to smaller sizes and shipped as cut sizes. The majority of bond, ledger, writing, offset, book, and text papers are available in one or more of these sizes:

  • 17x22 inches
  • 19x25 inches
  • 23x35 inches 
  • 25x38 inches 

Designing documents and print projects that make full use of these sheet sizes reduces paper waste and keeps the cost down. Some heavy papers come in other sizes:

  • Tag paper, a heavy utility-grade paper, is available in a 22.5x28.5-inch sheet.
  • Index paper, a light cardboard variety, comes in 25.5x30.5-inch sheets.
  • Cover paper, sometimes called cardstock, comes in 20x26-inch sheets.

Check with your commercial printer before you design for these types of papers so that you get the most economical cut from the parent sheets. 

Standard North American Cut Sheet Sizes

The North American cut sheet sizes are so familiar that users in ISO countries are familiar with these sizes. These are frequently mentioned in software programs, and these four common sizes are included in Cascading Style Sheets:

  • 8.5x11 (letter size)
  • 8.5x14 (legal size)
  • 11x17 (tabloid size)
  • 17x11 (ledger size)

These are not the only cut sizes, just the commonly used ones. These are commonly sold in reams of 250 or 500 sheets.

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