Letter (paper size)
Letter or US Letter is a paper size for office use. It is the most common type in North America, Bolivia, Colombia, Venezuela, the Philippines, Costa Rica and Chile. It measures 8.5 by 11 inches (216 mm x 279 mm). US Letter size is a recognized standard adopted by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) whereas the A4 is the International Standard (ISO) used in most countries.
In the U.S., paper density is usually measured in "pounds per ream" (of 500 sheets). Typical letter paper has a basis weight of 20 or 24 pounds (9 or 11 kg) – the weight of 500 sheets (a ream) of 17-by-22-inch (432 by 559 mm) paper at 70° F (21.11°C) and at 50% humidity. One ream of 20-pound letter-sized paper weighs 5 pounds, and a single letter-sized sheet of 20-pound paper weighs 0.16 ounces (4.5 g), which is equivalent to 72 g/m2 (72gsm). The most common density of A4 paper is 80gsm.
The origin of the dimensions of the standard 8.5"x11" letter size paper in the US is lost in history. The American Forest and Paper Association says that the standard US dimensions have their origin in the days of manual paper making, the 11" length of the standard paper being about a quarter of "the average maximum stretch of an experienced vatman's arms." That, however, does not explain the width.
The related paper size known as half letter, statement, or organizer L is exactly one half of the US letter size (8.5 × 5.5 in).
- http://www.fyi-dakota.com/index.php/just-a-piece-of-paper "Ever Wonder What a Piece of Paper Costs?"
- American Forest and Paper Association. "Why is the standard paper size in the U.S. 8 ½" x 11"?". Retrieved 2014-02-20.
- Blocksma, Mary. Reading the Numbers. New York: Penguin Books, 1989.
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