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Monday, November 12, 2012


History of Paper

Of all the writing materials mankind has employed down through the ages, paper has become the most widely used around the world. Paper has a long history stretching back to ancient Egypt in the third millennium BC.
Although our paper may not be recognisable to the Pharaohs, paper has retained its essential characteristics down through the ages and today's diverse offerings remain as natural, essential and precious as ever.

The word ‘paper' is derived from papyrus, a plant that was once abundant in Egypt and which was used to produce a thick, paper-like material by the ancient Egyptians, Greeks and Romans. Papyrus, however, is only one of the predecessors of paper that are collectively known by the generic term ‘tapa' and which were mostly made from the inner bark of the paper mulberry, fig and daphne trees.

Paper as we know it traces its roots back to China at the beginning of the first millennium AD. Traditional Chinese records give the credit for its development to one T'sai Lun (about 105AD). He was subsequently deified as the god of papermakers!

The craft of papermaking spread throughout the world and remained a relatively small-scale, artisan activity until paper production became industrialised during the 19th century. Originally intended purely for writing and printing purposes, a dazzling array of paper products are available to today's consumer.

Paper was first developed by Ts'ai Lun from recycled materials - from rags, fishing nets, hemp and China grass. It wasn't until a little more than a hundred years ago that paper began to be made from trees, and then it was because quantity, not quality, required alternative fibre sources.

We live in a very different world today. Today we have water shortages - especially in the West. We suffer from air pollution, energy crises, and depletion of natural resources.

Perhaps the profligate use of natural resources made sense at the dawn of the 20th century, when developing the nation was a national goal. Perhaps it was reasonable in the mid-1800s to see trees as an unlimited fibre source, when the population was much smaller, there were fewer businesses, and paper was relatively limited in use. But those conditions clearly do not apply now.

Fortunately, we have an alternative. Recycled paper saves enormous amounts of water and energy over virgin papermaking processes. It produces far less pollution. It saves trees. It cuts down on our solid waste. It's a far cleaner, less toxic manufacturing process. And it allows us to stop trashing resources and start treating our trash as a valuable resource. There are also increasing numbers of papers being made from annual crops or agricultural residues, bypassing the need to cut forests for paper altogether.

We are again at a point of crisis. This time it is environmental. And again, it is paper that can lead us out of it. Papermaking technology has changed the development of society many times in the past. It can - and should - do it again now.

What Is Paper?

True paper is characterized as thin sheets made from fibre that has been macerated until each individual filament is a separate unit. Medieval paper was made of diluted cotton, linen fibre.

 (Hunter 1943, 117)

The fibres are then intermixed with water and by the use of a sieve-like screen, the fibres are lifted from the water leaving a sheet of matted fibre on the screen. The thin layer of intertwined fibre is paper.

(Hunter 1943, 5)

Many people include think of papyrus and rice paper as paper. They are not. Papyrus is not made from macerated fibre so, it is not true paper. Papyrus is made from a grass like aquatic plant in the sedge family called Cyprus papyrus. It has woody, bluntly triangular stems that are cut or sliced end to end with metal knife. Then these thin "boards" are pasted together much like laminated wood.

Rice paper is not paper. It is made from strips of the cut spirally from the pith of the rice paper tree, a small Asiatic tree or shrub, Tetrapanax papyriferum, which is widely cultivated in China and Japan. The pith is cut into a thin layer of ivory-like texture by means of a sharp knife.

(American Paper and Pulp Association, 1965, 17). Parchment and vellum are also not paper.

They are made from the skins of animals.

(Hunter 1943, 6)


How did international paper sizes evolve?

There have been many standard sizes of paper at different times and in different countries, but today there are two widespread systems in use: the international standard (A4 and its siblings) and the North American sizes.

The international standard: ISO 216

A size chart illustrating the ISO A series.

The international paper size standard, ISO 216, is based on the German DIN 476 standard for paper sizes. Using the metric system, the base format is a sheet of paper measuring 1 m² in area (A0 paper size). Successive paper sizes in the series A1, A2, A3, etc., are defined by halving the preceding paper size parallel to its shorter side. The most frequently used paper size is A4 (210 × 297 mm). An advantage is that every A4 sheet made from 80 grams (per square meter, that is A0) paper weighs 5 grams, allowing to know the weight - and associated postage rate - by just counting the number of sheets used if the weight of the envelope is known.
This standard has been adopted by all countries in the world except the United States and Canada. In Mexico, Colombia, Chile and the Philippines, despite the ISO standard having been officially adopted, the U.S. "letter" format is still in common use.

ISO paper sizes are all based on a single aspect ratio of the square root of two, or approximately 1:1.4142. The advantages of basing a paper size upon this ratio were already noted in 1786 by the German scientist Georg Lichtenberg (in a letter to Johann Beckmann): if a sheet with aspect ratio √2 is horizontally divided into two equal halves, then the halves will again have aspect ratio √2. In the beginning of the twentieth century, Dr Walter Porstmann turned Lichtenberg's idea into a proper system of different paper sizes. Porstmann's system was introduced as a DIN standard (DIN 476) in Germany in 1922, replacing a vast variety of other paper formats. Even today the paper sizes are called "DIN A4" in everyday use in Germany.

The DIN 476 standard spread quickly to other countries, and before the outbreak of World War II it had been adopted by the following countries:

  • Belgium (1924)
  • Netherlands (1925)
  • Norway (1926)
  • Finland (1927)
  • Switzerland (1929)
  • Sweden (1930)
  • Soviet Union (1934)
  • Hungary (1938)
  • Italy (1939)
During the war it was adopted by Uruguay (1942), Argentina (1943) and Brazil (1943); and directly afterwards the standard continued to spread to other countries:

  • Spain (1947)
  • Austria (1948)
  • Romania (1949)
  • Japan (1951)
  • Denmark (1953)
  • Czechoslovakia (1953)
  • Iran (1948)
  • Israel (1954)
  • Portugal (1954)
  • Yugoslavia (1956)
  • India (1957)
  • Poland (1957)
  • United Kingdom (1959)
  • Ireland (1959)
  • Venezuela (1962)
  • New Zealand (1963)
  • Iceland (1964)
  • Mexico (1965)
  • South Africa (1966)
  • France (1967)
  • Peru (1967)
  • Turkey (1967)
  • Chile (1968)
  • Greece (1970)
  • Rhodesia (1970)
  • Singapore (1970)
  • Bangladesh (1972)
  • Thailand (1973)
  • Barbados (1973)
  • Australia (1974)
  • Ecuador (1974)
  • Colombia (1975)
  • Kuwait (1975)
By 1975 so many countries were using the German system that it was established as an ISO standard, as well as the official United Nations document format. By 1977 A4 was the standard letter format in 88 of 148 countries, and today only the U.S. and Canada have not adopted the system.

The largest standard size, A0, has an area of 1 m². The length of the long side of the sheet in metres is the 4th root of 2—approximately 1.189 metres. The short side is the reciprocal of this number, approximately 0.841 metres. A1 is formed by cutting a piece of A0 into two equal area rectangles. Because of the choice of lengths, the aspect ratio is the same for A1 as for A0 (as it is for A2, A3, etc.). This particular measurement system was chosen to allow folding of one standard size into another, which cannot be accomplished with traditional paper sizes.

Brochures are made by using material at the next size up i.e. material at A3 is folded to make A4 brochures. Similarly, material at A4 is folded to make A5 brochures.
It also allows scaling without loss of image from one size to another. Thus an A4 page can be enlarged to A3 and retain the exact proportions of the original document. Office photocopiers in countries that use ISO 216 paper often have one tray filled with A4 and another filled with A3. A simple method is usually provided (e.g. one button press) to enlarge A4 to A3 or reduce A3 to A4. This also allows two sheets of A4 (or any other size) to be scaled down and fit exactly 1 sheet without any cut off or margins.
 A size chart illustrating the ISO B series.
There is also a much less common B series. The area of B series sheets is the geometric mean of successive A series sheets. So, B1 is between A0 and A1 in size, with an area of 0.71 m². As a result, B0 has one side 1-metre long, and other sizes in the B series have one side that is a half, quarter or eighth of a metre. While less common in office use, it is used for a variety of special situations. Many posters use B-series paper or a close approximation, such as 50 cm×70 cm; B5 is a relatively common choice for books. The B series is also used for envelopes and passports.

The C series is used only for envelopes and is defined in ISO 269. The area of C series sheets is the geometric mean of the areas of the A and B series sheets of the same number; for instance, the area of a C4 sheet is the geometric mean of the areas of an A4 sheet and a B4 sheet. This means that C4 is slightly larger than A4, and B4 slightly larger than C4. The practical usage of this is that a letter written on A4 paper fits inside a C4 envelope, and a C4 envelope fits inside a B4 envelope.
The scalability also means that less paper (and hence money) is wasted by printing companies.

ISO paper sizes (plus rounded inch values)
A series
B series
C series
mm × mm
in × in
mm × mm
in × in
mm × mm
in × in
841 × 1189
33.1 × 46.8
1000 × 1414
39.4 × 55.7
917 × 1297
36.1 × 51.1
594 × 841
23.4 × 33.1
707 × 1000
27.8 × 39.4
648 × 917
25.5 × 36.1
420 × 594
16.5 × 23.4
500 × 707
19.7 × 27.8
458 × 648
18.0 × 25.5
297 × 420
11.7 × 16.5
353 × 500
13.9 × 19.7
324 × 458
12.8 × 18.0
210 × 297
8.3 × 11.7
250 × 353
9.8 × 13.9
229 × 324
9.0 × 12.8
148 × 210
5.8 × 8.3
176 × 250
6.9 × 9.8
162 × 229
6.4 × 9.0
105 × 148
4.1 × 5.8
125 × 176
4.9 × 6.9
114 × 162
4.5 × 6.4
74 × 105
2.9 × 4.1
88 × 125
3.5 × 4.9
81 × 114
3.2 × 4.5
52 × 74
2.0 × 2.9
62 × 88
2.4 × 3.5
57 × 81
2.2 × 3.2
37 × 52
1.5 × 2.0
44 × 62
1.7 × 2.4
40 × 57
1.6 × 2.2
26 × 37
1.0 × 1.5
31 × 44
1.2 × 1.7
28 × 40
1.1 × 1.6
The tolerances specified in the standard are
  • ±1.5 mm (0.06 in) for dimensions up to 150 mm (5.9 in),
  • ±2 mm (0.08 in) for lengths in the range 150 to 600 mm (5.9 to 23.6 in) and
  • ±3 mm (0.12 in) for any dimension above 600 mm (23.6 in).

German extensions
The German standard DIN 476 was published in 1922 and is the original specification of the A and B sizes. It differs in two details from its international successor:
DIN 476 provides an extension to formats larger than A0, denoted by a prefix factor. In particular, it lists the two formats 2A0, which is twice the area of A0, and 4A0, which is four times A0:

DIN 476 over formats
mm × mm
in × in
1682 × 2378
66.2 × 93.6
1189 × 1682
46.8 × 66.2
DIN 476 also specifies slightly tighter tolerances:
  • ±1 mm (0.04 in) for dimensions up to 150 mm (5.9 in),
  • ±1.5 mm (0.06 in) for lengths in the range 150 mm to 600 mm (5.9 to 23.6 in) and
  • ±2 mm (0.08 in) for any dimension above 600 mm (23.6 in).

Swedish Extensions

The Swedish standard SIS 014711 generalized the ISO system of A, B, and C formats by adding D, E, F, and G formats to it. Its D format sits between a B format and the next larger A format (just like C sits between A and the next larger B). The remaining formats fit in between all these formats, such that the sequence of formats A4, E4, C4, G4, B4, F4, D4, H4, and A3 is a geometric progression, in which the dimensions grow by a factor 21/8 from one size to the next. However, the SIS 014711 standard does not define any size between a D format and the next larger A format (called H in the previous example). Of these additional formats, G5 (169x239 mm) and E5 (155x220 mm) are popular in Sweden for printing dissertations [1], but the other formats have not turned out to be particularly useful in practice and they have not caught on internationally.

Japanese B-series variant
The JIS defines two main series of paper sizes. The JIS A-series is identical to the ISO A-series, but with slightly different tolerances. The area of B-series paper is 1.5 times that of the corresponding A-paper, so the length ratio is approximately 1.22 times the length of the corresponding A-series paper. The aspect ratio of the paper is the same as for A-series paper. Both A- and B-series paper is widely available in Japan and most photocopiers are loaded with at least A4 and B4 paper.

There are also a number of traditional paper sizes, which are now used mostly only by printers. The most common of these old series are the Shiroku-ban and the Kiku paper sizes.

JIS paper sizes (plus rounded inch values)
B series
Shiroku ban
mm × mm
in × in
mm × mm
in × in
mm × mm
in × in
1030 × 1456
40.6 × 57.3

728 × 1030
28.7 × 40.6
515 × 728
20.3 × 28.7
364 × 515
14.3 × 20.3
257 × 364
10.1 × 14.3
264 × 379
10.4 × 14.9
227 × 306
8.9 × 12.0
182 × 257
7.2 × 10.1
189 × 262
7.4 × 10.3
151 × 227
5.9 × 8.9
128 × 182
5.0 × 7.2
189 × 262
7.4 × 10.3

91 × 128
3.6 × 5.0
127 × 188
5.0 × 7.4
64 × 91
2.5 × 3.6

45 × 64
1.8 × 2.5
32 × 45
1.3 × 1.8
22 × 32
0.9 × 1.3
16 × 22
0.6 × 0.9

North American paper sizes

Loose sizes

Current standard sizes of U.S. paper are a subset of the traditional sizes referred to below. "Letter", "legal", "ledger", and "tabloid" are by far the most commonly used of these for everyday activities. The origin of the exact dimensions of "letter" size paper (8½ in × 11 in, 215.9 mm × 279.4 mm) are lost in tradition and not well documented. The American Forest and Paper Association argues that the dimension originates from the days of manual paper making, and that the 11 inch length of the page is about a quarter of "the average maximum stretch of an experienced vat man’s arms."[1] However, this does not explain the width or aspect ratio.

North American paper sizes

in × in
mm × mm
8½ × 11
216 × 279
8½ × 14
216 × 356
17 × 11
432 × 279
11 × 17
279 × 432

There is an additional paper size, to which the name "government-letter" was given by the IEEE Printer Working Group: the 8 in × 10½ in (203.2 mm × 266.7 mm) paper that is used in the United States for children's writing. It was prescribed by Herbert Hoover when he was Secretary of Commerce to be used for U.S. government forms, apparently to enable discounts from the purchase of paper for schools. In later years, as photocopy machines proliferated, citizens wanted to make photocopies of the forms, but the machines did not generally have this size paper in their bins. Ronald Reagan therefore had the U.S. government switch to regular letter size (8½ in × 11 in). The 8 in × 10½ in size is still commonly used in spiral-bound notebooks and the like.

An alternative explanation in the past for the difference between "government size" (as government-letter size was referred to at the time) and letter size paper was that the slightly smaller sheet used less paper, and therefore saved the government money in both paper and filing space. However, when Reagan prescribed the change to letter size, it was commonly stated that U.S. paper manufacturers had standardized their production lines for letter size, and were meeting government orders by trimming ½" each from two sides of letter-size stock; thus the government was allegedly paying more for its smaller paper size before Reagan abolished it. The different paper size also reportedly restricted the government's ability to take advantage of modular office furniture designs, common in the 1980s, whose cabinets were designed for letter size paper.

U.S. paper sizes are currently standard in the United States and the Philippines. The latter uses U.S. "letter", but the Philippine "legal" size is 8½ in × 13 in (215.9 mm × 330.2 mm). ISO sizes are available, but not widely used, in both the U.S. and the Philippines.

In Canada, U.S. paper sizes are a de facto standard. The government, however, uses a combination of ISO paper sizes, and CAN 2-9.60M "Paper Sizes for Correspondence" specifies P1 through P6 paper sizes, which are the U.S. paper sizes rounded to the nearest 5 mm.[3]

Mexico has adopted the ISO standard, but U.S. "letter" format is still the system in use throughout the country. It is virtually impossible to encounter ISO standard papers in day-to-day uses, with "Carta 216 mm × 279 mm" (letter), "Oficio 216 mm × 340 mm" (legal) and "Doble carta" (ledger/tabloid) being nearly universal. U.S. sizes are also widespread and in common use in Colombia [2].

See switching costs, network effects and standardization for possible reasons for differing regional adoption rates of the ISO standard sizes.

ANSI Paper Sizes

A size chart illustrating the ANSI sizes.

In 1995, the American National Standards Institute adopted ANSI/ASME Y14.1 which defined a regular series of paper sizes based upon the de facto standard 8½ in × 11 in "letter" size which it assigned "ANSI A". This series also includes "ledger"/"tabloid" as "ANSI B". This series is somewhat similar to the ISO standard in that cutting a sheet in half would produce two sheets of the next smaller size. Unlike the ISO standard, however, the arbitrary aspect ratio forces this series to have two alternating aspect ratios. The ANSI series is shown below.

With care, documents can be prepared so that the text and images fit on either ANSI or their equivalent ISO sheets at 1:1 reproduction scale.

in × in
mm × mm

Similar ISO A size

8½ × 11
216 × 279
17 × 11
11 × 17
432 × 279
279 × 432
17 × 22
432 × 559

22 × 34
559 × 864

34 × 44
864 × 1118


Other, larger sizes continuing the alphabetic series illustrated above exist, but it should be noted that they are not part of the series per se, because they do not exhibit the same aspect ratios. For example, Engineering F size (28 in × 40 in, 711.2 mm × 1016.0 mm) also exists, but is rarely encountered, as are G, H, … N size drawings. G size is 22½ in (571.5 mm) high, but variable width up to 90 in (2286 mm) in increments of 8½ in, i.e., roll format. H and larger letter sizes are also roll formats. Such sheets were at one time used for full-scale layouts of aircraft parts, wiring harnesses and the like, but today are generally not needed, due to widespread use of computer-aided design (CAD) and computer-aided manufacturing (CAM).

Architectural Sizes

In addition to the ANSI system as listed above, there is a corresponding series of paper sizes used for architectural purposes. This series also shares the property that bisecting each size produces two of the size below. It may be preferred by North American architects because the aspect ratios (4:3 and 3:2) are ratios of small integers, unlike their ANSI (or ISO) counterparts. Furthermore, the aspect ratio 4:3 matches the traditional aspect ratio for computer displays. The architectural series, usually abbreviated "Arch", is shown below:

in × in
mm × mm
Arch A
9 × 12
229 × 305
Arch B
12 × 18
305 × 457
Arch C
18 × 24
457 × 610
Arch D
24 × 36
610 × 914
Arch E
36 × 48
914 × 1219
Arch E1
30 × 42
762 × 1067

Other Sizes

in × in
mm × mm
Statement, Half Letter
5½ × 8½
140 × 216
8 × 10
203 × 254
Executive, Monarch
7¼ × 10½
184 × 267
8 × 10½
203 × 267
8½ × 11
216 × 279
Foolscap, Folio[2]
8.27 × 13
210 × 330
8½ × 13
216 × 330
8½ × 14
216 × 356
Ledger, Tabloid
11 × 17
279 × 432
13 × 19
330 × 483
15½ × 19½
394 × 489
15 × 20
381 × 508
Large Post
16½ × 21
419 × 533
17½ × 22½
445 × 572
18 × 23
457 × 584
18 × 24
457 × 610
20 × 25
508 × 635
23 × 28
584 × 711
Double Demy
22½ × 35
572 × 889
Quad Demy
35 × 45
889 × 1143

Index and business cards

in × in
mm × mm
Index card
3 × 5
76 × 127
Index card
4 × 6
102 × 152
Index card
5 × 8
127 × 203
International business card
2⅛ × 3.37
53.98 × 85.6
US business card
2 × 3½
51 × 89
Japanese business card
~2.165 × ~3.583
55 × 91

Photograph sizes
in × in
mm × mm
2½ × 3½
64 × 89
3 × 5
76 × 127
3½ × 4
89 × 119
1.3 (4:3)
3R, L
3½ × 5
89 × 127
3½ × 5¼
89 × 133
1.5 (3:2)
4 × 5
102 × 136
1.3 (4:3)
4R, KG
4 × 6
102 × 152
5 × 6
127 × 169
1.3 (4:3)
5R, 2L
5 × 7
127 × 178
5 × 7½
127 × 190
1.5 (3:2)
8 × 10
203 × 254
8 × 12
203 × 305
11 × 14
279 × 356

Tablet Sizes

The sizes listed above are for paper sold loosely in reams. There are many sizes of tablets of paper, that is, sheets of paper kept from flying around by being bound at one edge, usually by a strip of plastic or hardened PVA adhesive. Often there is a pad of cardboard (also known as chipboard or grey board) at the bottom of the stack. Such a tablet serves as a portable writing surface, and the sheets often have lines printed on them, usually in blue, to make writing in a line easier. An older means of binding is to have the sheets stapled to the cardboard along the top of the tablet; there is a line of perforated holes across every page just below the top edge from which any page may be torn off. Lastly, a pad of sheets each weakly stuck with adhesive to the sheet below, trademarked as "Post-It" or "Stick-Em" and available in various sizes, serve as a sort of tablet.

"Letter pads" are of course 8½ by 11 inches, while the term "legal pad" is often used by laymen to refer to pads of various sizes including those of 8½ by 14 inches. There are "steno pads" (used by stenographers) of 6 by 9 inches.
Of course, in countries where the ISO sizes are standard, most notebooks and tablets are sized to ISO specifications (for example, most newsagents in Australia stock A4 and A3 tablets).

Traditional inch-based paper sizes

Traditionally, a number of different sizes were defined for large sheets of paper, and paper sizes were defined by the sheet name and the number of times it had been folded. Thus a full sheet of "royal" paper was 25 × 20 inches, and "royal octavo" was this size folded three times, so as to make eight sheets, and was thus 10 by 6¼ inches.

Imperial sizes were used in the United Kingdom and its territories. Some of the base sizes were as follows:
in × in
mm × mm
48 × 72
1219 × 1829
31 × 53
787 × 1346
Grand eagle
28¾ × 42
730 × 1067
Double elephant
26¾ × 40
678 × 1016
26 × 34
660 × 864
23½ × 34½
597 × 876
Double demy
22½ × 35½
572 × 902
22 × 30
559 × 762
Double large post
21 × 33
533 × 838
23 × 28
584 × 711
21½ × 28
546 × 711
21 × 26
533 × 660
20 × 25
508 × 635
Sheet, half post
19½ × 23½
495 × 597
Double post
19 × 30½
483 × 762
Super royal
19 × 27
483 × 686
17½ × 23
470 × 584
17½ × 22½
445 × 572
Large post
16½ × 21
419 × 533
Copy draught
16 × 20
406 × 508
Large post
15½ × 20
394 × 508
15½ × 19¼
394 × 489
15 × 20
381 × 508
Pinched post
14¾ × 18½
375 × 470
13½ × 17
343 × 432
Small foolscap
13¼ × 16½
337 × 419
13½ × 16
343 × 406
12½ × 15
318 × 381

* The sizes marked with an asterisk are still in use in the United States.
Traditional sizes for writing paper in the United Kingdom [3],

in × in
10 × 8
9 × 7
8 × 6½
7 × 5½
The common divisions and their abbreviations include:
fo, f
Sexto, sixmo
6to, 6mo
Duodecimo, twelvemo
Sextodecimo, sixteenmo
Foolscap folio is often referred to simply as 'folio' or 'foolscap'. Similarly, 'quarto' is more correctly 'copy draught quarto'.
Many of these sizes were only used for making books (see bookbinding), and would never have been offered for ordinary stationery purposes.

Transitional Paper Sizes

PA series
PA4-based series
mm × mm
840 × 1120
560 × 840
420 × 560
280 × 420
210 × 280
140 × 210
105 × 140
70 × 105
52 × 70
35 × 52
26 × 35
A transitional size called PA4 (210 mm × 280 mm, 8¼ in × 11 in) was proposed for inclusion into the ISO 216 standard in 1975. It has the height of Canadian P4 paper (215 mm × 280 mm, about 8½ in × 11 in) and the width of international A4 paper (210 mm × 297 mm). The table to the right shows how this format can be generalized into an entire format series.

The PA formats did not end up in ISO 216, because the committee felt that the set of standardized paper formats should be kept to the minimum necessary. However, PA4 remains of practical use today. In landscape orientation, it has the same 4:3 aspect ratio as the displays of traditional TV sets, most computers and data projectors. PA4 is therefore a good choice as the format of computer presentation slides. At the same time, PA4 is the largest format that fits on both A4 and U.S./Canadian "Letter" paper without resizing.

PA4 is used today by many international magazines, because it can be printed easily on equipment designed for either A4 or U.S. "Letter".
Although the movement is towards the international standard metric paper sizes, on the way there from the traditional ones there has been at least one new size just a little larger than that used internationally. British architects and industrial designers once used a size called "Antiquarian" as listed above, but given in the New Metric Handbook (Tutt & Adler 1981) as 813 mm × 1372 mm. This is a little larger than the A0 size. So for a short time, a size called A0a (1000 mm × 1370 mm) was used in Britain.

F4 (210 mm × 330 mm) is common in Southeast Asia and Australia, and is sometimes called "foolscap". It has the same width as A4, but is longer.

Other Metric Sizes

mm × mm
in × in
110 × 220
4.3 × 8.7
210 × 330
8.3 × 13.0
860 × 1220
33.9 × 48.0
610 × 860
24.0 × 33.9
430 × 610
16.9 × 24.0
305 × 430
12.0 × 16.9
215 × 305
8.5 × 12.0
900 × 1280
35.4 × 50.4
640 × 900
25.2 × 35.4
450 × 640
17.7 × 25.2
320 × 450
12.6 × 17.7
225 × 320
8.9 × 12.6
329 × 483
12.9 × 19.0

Photo quality printing is the ultra-high resolution reproduction of digital artwork onto printable materials such as paper, vinyl, film, polyester, etc.

Technical process

The combination of graphic design utilizing high resolution images printed at ultra-high line screen values defines the photo quality printing process.

When designing for photo quality printing, graphic designers and printers start with high resolution images of 2400 dpi or higher. Traditional full colour non-photo quality printing is done from images of 1200 dpi or less. Photo quality printing requires images to contain the most amount of colour information possible. The high resolution images used in photo quality printing is saved in a CMYK file format to best utilize either the commercial printing process or inkjet printing photo quality output capabilities. CMYK dots of Cyan (blue), Magenta (red), Yellow, and Black are placed next to each other in specific patterns that trick the eye into seeing millions of colours. Photo quality inkjet printing transfers 4 or more toner colours to the substrate in a single cycle through the printer. In photo quality commercial printing each colour of ink is applied separately.

The high resolution photos are printed (or output) at a line screen value of 1200 lines per inch. Traditional full colour printing is done at a line screen ranging from 300 to 600 lpi. The resulting photo quality output is apparent to the naked eye and by using a micrometre. The output includes more dots of ink or toner within each square inch output - and - truer colour values and hues due to the greater amount of colour information stored in the high resolution image or artwork file.

Equipment used

Commercial photo quality printing uses a web or sheet fed press that may consist of multiple units. The file to be printed is imaged directly onto a drum on the press or onto photographic printing plates. The drum or plates transfer ink to the paper. Photo quality printing on a desktop printer usually uses some type of inkjet or laser printer. The inkjet printer has ink cartridges that place the ink directly on the paper. These are self-contained units connected to a computer through cables.


How does moisture and humidity affect paper?

PROBABLY the most serious single source of trouble to the lithographers, printers and converters is found in the curling or buckling of paper. I am glad to say that any troubles printers may have been experiencing well probably be lessened appreciably as the warm weather comes and artificial room heating removed. The importance of moisture and humidity control in relation to the elimination of these difficulties is increasingly recognized throughout the trade and will be more universally applied within the next few years.

Relative Humidity could involve a very technical study. It is hard to visualise and understand just what it means without becoming somewhat technical and hence uninteresting to many. I will try to explain very simply what is meant by Relative Humidity and how it effects paper and causes trouble which the paper maker can in no way remedy.

The terms "dryness" and "wetness," applied to air are purely relative and indicate the proportion of water vapour actually present in comparison with what the air could contain at the same temperature. At the Dew Point the air is saturated and the water is deposited as dew, mist, or even rain. It holds all the water it can. As the temperature rises the dew disappears and is held in suspension until the temperature is lowered when it is again deposited. This condition is observed in the early morning in summer. In the sweating of the tumbler of cold water we have another example of the existence of water vapour in the atmosphere. The ice water chills the temperature around the glass and the moisture is deposited. In the winter time you can see your breath when you breathe as the breath is warmer than the air and it condenses. From this we see the words "dry" or "moist" as applied to atmosphere have a purely relative significance depending upon the temperature. They involve a comparison between the amount of water vapour actually present and that which the air could hold if saturated at the same temperature. The ratio of these two quantities is called the "Relative Humidity." When we say a Relative Humidity of 65% we mean that the amount of water vapour actually present is 65% of what the air might have contained at the given temperature of say 70 F if it had been saturated.

The Psychrometer is an instrument used for measuring Relative Humidity. It consists of two thermometers, one covered with muslin and kept moist with water. The rate of evaporation from the moist muslin depends upon the quantity of moisture in the air. The more rapid the evaporation of water the greater the cooling and hence the greater difference in the readings of the two thermometers.

It would be very easy for any printer or paper man to take a series of readings around his print shop and record the variation in temperature and relative humidity. It would be very interesting and enlightening to many to see the variation in the amount of water in the different rooms and realize how the paper is being dampened and dried through the converting processes. The following tables are the measured humidity in various parts of the paper mill:
Relative Humidity
70 F.
72 F.
80 F.
Outdoors (dry day)
84 F.
71 F.
Outdoors (rainy day)
73 F.
This tabulation affords an excellent illustration of the increase in humidity on lowering the temperature of the air, also of the variation with the weather.
At various relative humidity paper holds different percentages of water and will absorb or give up water until it comes to equilibrium with the existing temperature of the room.
Temperature 70 F.
% Relative Humidity
% Moisture in Paper
Paper on coming off the driers of a paper machine contains from 3-5% moisture. Paper from the loft contains from 2-3% moisture, depending on loft conditions. These moisture ranges are the ones that are suitable for the ordinary ranges of humidity ordinarily encountered. When such paper is packed for shipping the moisture present in the sheet is evenly distributed and there is no curling as the paper in the finishing process has been seasoned under the normal atmospheric conditions for this period of the year and consequently there is no tendency for curling or waving as the paper is in equilibrium with the moisture conditions present.

Indoor Conditions

In general the tendency of a paper storehouse is to be several degrees lower in temperature than a print shop, where the warming stoves for stones, Bunsen’s for copper plates and heating systems assist in raising the temperature during the working period. The heating developed during the day is highest at closing time. It must be remembered that when a room is warmed the quantity of moisture is not diminished but the humidity of the air is lessened because the saturated capacity of the air is so enormously increased. With the falling temperature at closing time the moisture which had previously not been noticed is apparent in the form of a damp.

Weather Conditions

Apart from the system of heating and ventilation the amount of moisture varies during the course of the day and year being at its maximum of absolute moisture in the summer at the hours of 8 A. M. and 8 P. M. while the minimum occurs at 3 A. M. and 3 P. M. This is due to ascending currents of air which carry the moisture upwards. The relative moisture is on the average greater in higher than in lower latitudes; it is at its minimum in the hottest and maximum in the coolest parts of the day. It also varies with different regions, being less in the centre of the continent than near the coast.

Winter Conditions

During the winter humidity conditions in the press rooms and print shops are particularly bad for while the average outdoor humidity may be fairly high (50-60%) the small amount of moisture contained in the air at the low temperatures encountered during the winter months causes a serious reduction in relative humidity on being heated inside the building. As an example to illustrate this point, the air at 40 F. and 50% relative humidity, which are normal winter conditions contains but 18 grains of moisture in a pound of dry air. On heating such air to 75 F without changing the actual amount of moisture present the relative humidity has been reduced from 50% to 15% because the capacity of the air for holding moisture has been so enormously increased by raising the temperature.
For this reason, during the winter months the floor should be sprinkled with water at frequent intervals or buckets of water should be allowed to evaporate on radiators, etc., unless other more adequate arrangements for humidification are provided.

Summer Conditions

In the summer conditions frequently are just the converse. At the temperatures prevailing in the summer even with normal humidity, there is a considerable quantity of moisture available in the air. When this air is brought inside and cooled to any extent, especially if it enters a cool cellar, the temperature is rapidly reduced, the quantity of moisture remaining constant, the humidity must increase. Providing the temperature drop is great enough, especially near walls or any cold objects the air will contain more water than it can hold at that temperature and the vapour will be deposited in the form of a fog or damp, which will see tle out on the paper disturbing the equalized moisture conditions and resulting in curls and buckles.

An example based on figures perhaps will help make this idea clearer. A comfortable, normally hot day in the summer would have a temperature of 900 F. and a humidity of 60%. It is only necessary to drop the temperature of air at this condition to 74 F. to cause over 100% humidity and consequent condensation of water vapour.

From this example the slight change in temperature required to completely transform the humidity conditions is evident. If, therefore, in the absence of adequate methods of controlling humidity, differently behaving paper is run on a day suited for its condition, better results will be obtained. Even though the temperature drop was not great enough to cause super-saturation of the air, it is enough to increase greatly the relative humidity which will affect the paper. It must be borne in mind that the moisture content of a sheet of paper is dependent not only on the relative humidity of its environment but also on the temperature. It is, therefore, not good practice to use cellars for storerooms or to subject the paper to great temperature and humidity change without inviting curling and buckling difficulties.

What has this talk on humidity to do with paper curling and buckling? Just this--Paper possesses the property of absorbing and giving off moisture until the moisture in the paper and the moisture in the atmosphere are in equilibrium. The behaviour of paper under given atmospheric conditions is, therefore, dependent on the relative amounts of water present in the atmosphere and in the paper. That makes it impossible for the paper maker to manufacture paper that will satisfy all condition in the trade. No two rooms have the same operating conditions and no two localities the same outdoor conditions. Therefore, paper cannot be made that will not curl under certain conditions.

Curling of Paper

The so-called curling of papers is generally found to be in one direction-toward the wire side as a, result of certain conditions encountered in forming the sheet of paper on the paper machine wire.

Distribution of Fibres

In forming a sheet on the traveling wire the stock suspension surges out on the wire at a considerable velocity, dependent on the head of water behind the slices and the speed of the machine. The natural flow of the stock would tend to induce the fibres to arrange themselves mostly lengthwise. A lateral shake, therefore, is given to the traveling wire to felt the fibres together. The stock nearest the bottom attaches itself to the wire before the effect of the lateral shake can distribute the proper proportion of the fibres in a horizontal direction. The middle and upper layers contain a larger proportion of horizontally lying fibres which tends to make the sheet of more uniform structure in each succeeding layer from the bottom. This more equal distribution of lengthwise and crosswise fibres near the top of the sheet of itself resists any curl in the direction toward the top of the sheet.

Effect of Short Side

In addition the stock next to the wire settles against the smooth surface of the wire, thereby making the wire side of the sheet comparatively level. On the top of the sheet, however, the stock settles in clots, forming microscopic hills and valleys on the top surface or felt side of the sheet. In spite of the smoothing effects of the press rolls and calendar rolls in smoothing the microscopic lumps into the sheet of paper the felt side of the sheet has more surface and consequently is longer than the wire side. This fact of itself is responsible for a tendency of the sheet to curl toward the wire or shorter side the instant the surface becomes moistened. Other things being equal a sheet made from shorter stock will curl more easily under variable humidity conditions than one made from longer stock.

Effect of Shrinkage

It has been pointed out above that the greater proportion of the fibres tends to arrange themselves lengthwise in the web resulting in a distinct grain in the paper. It is a well-known fact that the fibres expand far more diametrically than they do lengthwise on being moistened thereby giving rise to a wave in the direction of the machine or grain.

Furthermore when the water is removed from the web during drying, there is a tendency for the traveling and gradually drying web to contract in width, this contraction lengthwise being restrained by reason of the tension created by the traveling and drying apparatus, but being unrestrained in the cross direction.

As a result of these two factors a sheet will always expand more in the cross grain direction than in the length on being exposed to changing moisture conditions thereby causing any curling to take place in the direction of the grain or machine direction.

Effect of Sizing

The effect of the sizing on the natural curl of the paper is of considerable importance. Sizing tests invariably indicate that the wire side is slacker sized than the felt side due to the action of the suction boxes in removing the rosin size precipitate from the fibres. This is particularly true in case the stock is free. As a consequence, the sheet will absorb more glue or gum on the wire side which on being subjected to moisture or drying is more flexible than the stock and will tend to cause a curl in the direction of the bottom or wire side of the sheet.

Effect of Beating

The slowness or condition of beating that the stock has been subjected to also has an important influence on the curling. A paper stock that has been hydrated or slowed shrinks considerably on being dried which makes the sheet more susceptible to stretching on being moistened. Another property of a hard, slow stock is its lack of absorbency which does not permit of water passing through the sheet but rather contains it on the outside surfaces thus rendering it also more susceptible to curling.

Storing and Piling of Paper

If the paper is allowed to stand about the print shops and press rooms in high piles in either a drier or more humid atmosphere, the exposed surfaces of the paper gradually assume the moisture condition corresponding to the prevailing humidity conditions. Inasmuch as the piles are tightly packed it is only the top surface and edges of the sheets that have an opportunity to adjust their moisture content to these conditions and consequently with a condition of variation in moisture content between the edges and inside of the sheet, the waving and buckling is inevitable.

Another consequence of piling is a result of the height of piles. The weight being concentrated at the centre of gravity of the pile, which is the centre, causes an uneven pressure on the centre and edges of the pile which also results in further wavy edges.

An example of the effect of uneven distribution of moisture through a sheet of paper is available in a comparison between piles of stored ledger paper and a cockled bond. The ledger paper having a high finish will be packed very tightly and closely and consequently will be wavy and buckled. The cockled bond, however, because of the cockle will not pack closely in a pile of the same height, more air is allowed into the pile and as a result very little buckling is observed
In order to eliminate these effects outlined above it is suggested that the piles of paper be made lower and the paper crossed with alternate layers in different directions. In fact any procedure to thoroughly aerate the paper cannot fail to help eliminate the waving and distortion of the edges.

The text contained herein was written by Helen U. Kiely, and delivered by Joseph H. Burgen before the Joint Session, Connecticut Valley Mill Superintendents and Printing House Craftsmen, March 5th, 1927.

    Copyrighted, 1927
    American Writing Paper Company
    Holyoke, Mass

Where should paper be stored?

Paper Storage and Conditioning

Like any other high-performance, high-quality product, a little conditioning goes a long way with Xerox paper. It can make the difference between "okay" and outstanding when it comes to results! Find out what steps you can take to get the most out of Xerox paper. 

For optimum conditioning, follow these paper storage guidelines:

  1. Leave paper in its wrapper until you are ready to load it in the machine.
  2. Do not store paper directly on the floor. Keep it on pallets or shelves or in cabinets.
  3. Store paper at a temperature of 68°F/20°C to 76°F/24.4°C and a relative humidity of 35 to 55 percent.

Paper Storage

Take Good Care of Xerox Paper and Watch it Perform Like a Champ!

We're proud of Xerox paper! It's top quality and, when properly cared for, it will perform like the champion it is. While the "how top’s" of paper storage may seem obvious, you may be surprised at the simple things we've outlined here that you can do to ensure best results.

Paper Stacking

Your paper order will normally be shipped to you in sturdy fibreboard cartons. The number of reams in each carton depends on the size of the paper. If you have ordered a large quantity, the cartons will be stacked on wooden pallets. Stack individual reams or cartons carefully on top of one another. This will help you avoid crushing the edges or causing any other damage.

Pile cartons no more than five high. Pallets can be stacked three high.

Paper Handling

Treating paper cartons with care in paper storage is extremely important! Dropping, throwing, striking with a forklift or otherwise mishandling paper cartons can result in damaged paper. You may not even notice the damage until you have paper jams or other feeding problems.

Climate Control

Store your paper on shelves or pallets or in cabinets rather than right on the floor to avoid moisture absorption. Choose an area that's protected from extreme temperatures and humidity. Temperature and humidity are critical factors in how Xerox paper performs in your copier or printer.

Most environments with air conditioning systems provide the proper mix of temperature and humidity. If you are in an environment that is not air conditioned, follow these guidelines:

  1. Minimum temperature of 50°F/10°C with 15 percent relative humidity
  2. Maximum temperature of 81°F/27.2°C with 85 percent relative humidity

Do Not Open Until...

To achieve best results, we recommend you leave reams sealed in their original ream wrapper, in the shipping carton during paper storage. Do not open the wrapper until you are ready to load the paper into your copier or printer.

Why? The ream wrapper has an inner lining that guards against moisture absorption. Once you open the wrapper, the protective barrier is gone and moisture can seep in and cause excessive curl and other problems.

Once You Do Open...

After you open the ream, reseal the wrapper with tape if you will not be using all the paper immediately, for example, if you'll be leaving it unused overnight. Better still, store unused loose paper in a reseal able plastic bag. Do not store paper in your machine's paper trays.

Take sheets from the centre of the ream if a package is inadvertently left open. Store coated paper in reseal able bags or covered storage boxes after opening the original wrapper.
Paper Conditioning
Make Sure Conditions Are Right for Best Results

Like any other high-performance, high-quality product, a little conditioning goes a long way with Xerox paper. It can make the difference between "okay" and outstanding when it comes to results! Find out what steps you can take to get the most out of Xerox paper.


Xerography is very sensitive to moisture in paper. Moisture can ruin your job in a hurry! High humidity causes damp edges and wavy paper. Low humidity dries paper edges and makes it contract and become tight.

Poor performance is the result! That's why it is so important to condition your paper.

As a rule, condition uncoated paper a minimum of 24 hours and coated paper a minimum of 48 hours. Transparencies and label stock also require conditioning--24 hours and 72 hours, respectively. Separating cartons accelerates the conditioning process. The chart below will help you determine precisely how many hours prior to printing you should move the paper, based on both the storage and print room temperatures.

How Long Does Conditioning Take?

As a rule, condition uncoated paper a minimum of 24 hours and coated paper a minimum of 48 hours. Transparencies and label stock also require conditioning--24 hours and 72 hours, respectively. Separating cartons accelerates the conditioning process. The chart below will help you determine precisely how many hours prior to printing you should move the paper, based on both the storage and print room temperatures.

Temperature Difference (Degrees F/C)

               Hours to Condition

Who manufactures paper in Australia?

Amcor Limited is an Australian-based multinational packaging company. Its headquarters are in Hawthorn, Victoria (a suburb of Melbourne); and it is listed on the Australian Securities Exchange.

It operates manufacturing plants in 42 countries, and has approximately 30,000 employees and annual sales of US$7,280 million and has a market value of US$5,020 million. Along with the privately held VISY group, it dominates the Australian cardboard packaging market, and it is the world's largest manufacturer of plastic bottles. Amcor limited holds the 927th position in the Forbes 2000.

As the world’s largest packaging company, Amcor offers exclusive and innovative solutions that are at the forefront of the packaging industry.

PaperlinX is a fine paper wholesaler based in MelbourneAustralia. PaperlinX has regional offices in AmsterdamLos Angeles and Singapore. The company is a distributor of specialty paper used in brochuresmagazinesannual reports and other business papers. They supply high-quality fine paper used as office paper and packaging.
The company was formed in April 2000 after demerging from Amcor.

Paper, board and other materials are bought in bulk from paper mills around the world and sold in smaller quantities and custom sizes to meet customers' requirements. The stock is stored in their warehouses and delivered to customers on a just-in-time basis. Customers include printersdesignerspublishers and advertisers.
PaperlinX closed its paper manufacturing division, Taps Paper, in Tasmania, in mid-2010.

PaperlinX employs 6500 people in 26 countries and is in the top 200 public companies listed on the Australian Stock Exchange, trading under the ticker symbol 'PPX'.
PaperlinX revealed on 23rd December 2011 that it had received an indicative offer from an unnamed private equity group, pitched at 9 cents for each ordinary share and $21.85 for the company's preference stock.

List of Paper Mills


What factors influence ordering paper in regards to the value of the printed piece?

It is plain and simple. There are two types of Print material: effective and ineffective. Most of it, unfortunately falls into the "ineffective" category. This misfortune is not due to bad design or lack of content. What these pieces fail to do is engage their audience to take action the kind of action that results in successful sales.

If you are not convinced, check your mail more carefully next time. Sift through and separate the "junk" from what really catches your attention and leads to something you are truly interested in. Now analyse the junk mail. What is it about it that is not working? Is it the impersonal appearance of the envelope? Is it that nothing pulls you in to open it? And once you do open it (if you do!), is there nothing worthwhile within, no enticing message, no interesting call to action?

And this applies to postcards or any other format, where glossy and colourful might be the main focus...focus for them, but not for you! You quickly spot it and toss it in the trash. You have to if you are going to stay sane...
So what can you do on your next Print piece to avoid these common and expensive pitfalls? Here are some ideas that have worked time and time again:

1. Your piece needs both to inform and to prompt your audience to take action. For example, sending out a "we've moved" card and including a coupon for 10% off the next purchase or project. Or, sending a holiday card for Thanksgiving and providing space for listing people to whom to give thanks. In both cases, you get your audience to participate and, in doing so, make a contribution to them.

2. You need a headline that grabs and copy that flows. To come up with a strong headline, focus on the purpose of the piece, on the main message you are trying to convey. Is it to thank the receiver? Is it to announce a change at your company? Is it to invite them to participate in some event?

Develop copy that stems from the headline and stays on course. Be concise and to the point, unless you truly have a great deal to say and can keep it interesting for the reader. Remember: it is all about them, not you.

3. Design needs to appeal. Be sure to keep taste in mind! Spend time on font, colour, and the few, but well-selected elements (for example, taking the time to have a good photograph taken, which makes a huge difference). Do not overdo it, though, as with the text, unless it contributes to the message. Visuals should never overpower the copy, and vice-versa.

4. Beware the clutter. Too many messages, too much uninteresting text, too many flashy graphics and that card will be tossed. Keep it simple and do not forget that you are competing against many, many other mail pieces.

 Paper stock samples:
This paper bag is proudly made and printed in Australia using non-toxic water based inks and adhesives.

100% fully sustainable paper stock.

100% recyclable.

Please re-use this bag over and over again to reduce impact on our environment.
recycled paper



copying paper

uncoated paper




coated paper


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