Talk:Letter (paper size)

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Title Change[edit]

Consider changing the title to "US Letter size" --- which is, at least, how most computer programmes (MS Word, Acrobat Reader, etc) refer to it when you choose paper set-up. 09:25, 7 August 2007 (UTC)

Mine just says "Letter" - though software targeted for North America may omit the "US" part. (talk) 22:16, 21 January 2008 (UTC)

Mac OS X 10.5 calls it "US Letter". --Ceaser (talk) 18:02, 25 February 2008 (UTC)

Well, from a non-US pov I say that it is just fine: its become widely known as referring to the US paper size where A4 is the convention---i.e. immediately noticeable from context. (talk) 02:46, 2 November 2008 (UTC)


According to Mexico adopted the ISO standard in 1964. The only countries using letter et al. are US and Canada. This should be sorted out. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Mutluluk (talkcontribs) 03:09, 11 February 2008 (UTC)

Letter is still widely used in (at least northern) Mexico; office stationery stores in Baja and Sonora stock noticeable quantities of the stuff. knoodelhed (talk) 19:30, 14 February 2009 (UTC)
Letter size is a de facto standard in Mexico, where you can not buy a single A4 page at all. The ISO standard never came into effect in practice in Mexico. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Robgomez (talkcontribs) 23:53, 2 July 2009 (UTC)

Letter is widely used in Chile. You can buy A4, but most people either don't know what it is or can't tell the difference with letter. (talk) 16:13, 7 April 2010 (UTC)


Suggestion -- This article needs a section on history, like why does the use have it's own standard. --Ceaser (talk) 18:02, 25 February 2008 (UTC)

Inconsistency -- Text says Ronald Regan changed government letter size paper from 8 x 10.5 to 8.5 x 11. The diagram shows government letter size as 8.5 x 10.5. --CPlesums (talk) 17:24, 15 April 2014 (UTC)


Perhaps the article Paper can shed some light:

The 8.5" x 11" size stems from the original size of a vat that was used to make paper. At the time, paper was made from passing a fiber and water slurry through a screen at the bottom of a box. The box was 17" deep and 44" wide. That sheet, folded in half in the long direction, then twice in the opposite direction, made a sheet of paper that was exactly 8.5" x 11". (talk) 07:27, 20 February 2009 (UTC)

Unfortunately, that section is entirely unreferenced. While the explanation seems plausible a credible source would be useful. (See WP:V). (For what it's worth, Wikipedia is not a 'reliable source') :-/ Debate 10:06, 20 February 2009 (UTC)

Is it worth adding that letter paper's aspect ratio is almost exactly four fifths of the golden ratio (which is itself (1+√(5))/2 )? The difference between φ*4/5 and 11/8.5 is only about 0.0003. --Undomelin (talk) 18:43, 25 August 2010 (UTC)


is this page necessary at all? there is nothing on here that isn't already said on the paper sizes page75.158.192.253 (talk) 06:59, 21 March 2009 (UTC)notatoad

Ultimately I'm agnostic about whether this topic is worth it's own page, but my gut reaction is that there is more that could be added that would make it worthwhile to keep the pages separate. AngoraFish 11:06, 21 March 2009 (UTC)

g/m2 or gsm??[edit]

They are not the same... I'm pretty sure the reference to g/m2 is incorrect as it should be g/sq metre. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 21:56, 30 March 2010 (UTC)
g/m2 and g/sq metre are just a way of writing it, the latter being more used in the U.S. but the first is used in "decimal system" countries. Sorry I can't find a reference right now, but I remember learning at school that there are 2 standards for paper weight: g/m2 are exactly that: how many grams is the weight of one single sheet with an area of 1 sq. mt. whereas kg. means how many kilograms is the weight of 1000 sheets of a given size... If I get around to it, I'll come back with proper reference.


Clearly, since the image is this page in image format, it should be recursive, and include an image of the image. Turtles, all the way down... Mankofffoo (talk) 17:16, 22 December 2010 (UTC)

Cross Reference[edit]

Good day all. It seems that the Paper Size article has much of this same information on the letter paper size. Does it make sense to merge / consolidate / point to the other? (talk) 05:54, 26 February 2011 (UTC)

US paper metric weight[edit]

For a long time this article has said that 20 lb US Letter paper weighs 72 gsm, but I believe this is wrong. Here is my calculation. Please someone check my calculation. If you agree, change the article. If you disagree, write a comment here.

I agree with the article that one US 20lb letter sheet weights .16 oz or .01 lb. A pound is 453.59237 g.

Thus .01lb/sheet becomes 4.5359237g/(.2159m x .2794m) = 75.194607 gsm.

I am just showing all this precision so you don't worry about intermediate roundoff. The article should say that US letter paper weighs 75 gsm.

72 gsm would be almost right if US letter paper were the same size as A4 paper. Perhaps whoever wrote 72 was mistakenly thinking this.

Reraum (talk) 20:04, 23 January 2012 (UTC)

another paper weight various to paper size. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 06:27, 11 September 2014 (UTC)

Maybe because of ratio of writing area?[edit]

Here's a pure speculation but maybe it leads to a source?

I see that half-inch margins give a useable area of 7.5" by 10" which is a simple 3-to-4 ratio, used also for "standard" TV and perhaps other things. Then "government size" with smaller (more economical?) quarter-inch margins gives the same useable area. --Ajm475du (talk) 18:09, 3 December 2014 (UTC)

Australia and New Zealand[edit]

The article (incorrectly, in my view) claims that letter size is the most common size in Australia and New Zealand. The references given do not even mention Australia or New Zealand let alone substantiate the claim that Letter size is the most common paper size. Speaking from personal experience (and I realise this is not an adequate source for an wikipedia article but I am Australian, live and work in Australia, and have also lived and worked in New Zealand and think it's worth mentioning here in the comments) I would say this is incorrect. A4 is the overwhelming standard paper size in both countries. Letter size paper is not commonly sold (I have never seen it for sale anywhere) although if you require paper of that size for specialised use it may be possible to find in specialised outlets. A4 is what is used in Australia and New Zealand. Before metrication British and not American paper sizes were used. A4 is the most common paper size today although it is still possible to buy Foolscap folio writing paper (although foolscap folio printer / copier paper is not common). Apodeictic (talk) 02:55, 11 March 2015 (UTC)

Indeed, none of the references say that Australia and New Zealand use letter size. I have removed them from the list. If someone disagrees, they should bring a source to back it up. Lonaowna (talk) 10:30, 11 March 2015 (UTC)

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80 columns[edit]

Punched_card#Cultural_impact suggests that the common 80 column width for video terminals and computer printers is a legacy of the 80 column punched card. It seems to me that 80 columns is a convenient width, with margins, for 8.5 inch wide paper, and not a legacy of punched cards. Even more, it seems likely that the 80 column punched card traces back to 80 columns on printed paper. (Though 120 or 132 columns were popular for high-speed computer printers using fan-fold paper for many years.) Letter sized paper and typewriters to use it with traces back earlier than the 80 column card. Any thoughts on this? Gah4 (talk) 20:18, 15 June 2017 (UTC)