US Letter Size Vs A4 – Head to Head Comparison Between Them

Paper is such an essential thing that we use for our academic, official, business and so many purposes. Many objects have to be designed along with the right dimension of paper in mind. Therefore, “Standardization” of the paper sizes makes easier this process.

US Letter Size Vs A4 Size

Standard paper sizes vary depending on where you live. In most countries, people use a4 size paper and it is adopted by ISO 216. Here it is noted that ISO 216 is the recognized international norm for paper sizes.

The US and North America are familiar with diverse sizes of paper to the rest of the world’s people. Letter-size paper is decided as a standard size in the US by ANSI.

Which paper size you should choose for your business or other purposes between us letter paper size vs a4 size paper. You can make every difference in the print quality by knowing to differentiate between letter size and a4 size. Here I’ll try to tell you about both of the paper size.

What Is Us Letter Size Paper?

What Is Us Letter Size Paper

Us letter size paper is a paper of 279.4 mm in length and 215.9 mm in width. The ANSI (American National Standard Institute) defined this paper. These paper size are also familiar with “American Quarto”.

The paper is used widely throughout South and North America. This is a sheet of standard copy Paper. In most office and home printers, this paper can be used.

US letter sizes are comparatively a little more complex to work with whereas they don’t grant the same consistency. US is the only one of the countries left that yet not switched from the measurement system of non-metric. It is also one country of those few countries that are avoiding following the ISO standard.

For the size of US paper, there is no executed starting point. There aren’t such mathematical properties that make your work easier with US letter size while creating print-outs and graphical design.

What Is A4 Size Papers?

What Is a4 paper Size

The a4 size paper sheets are 297 mm in length and 210 mm in width. A4 size paper is also familiar as “A series”.  It is internationally adopted that the a4 size papers are part of the system of ISO 216.

All a4 sizes have the same aspect ratio of 1: √2. The ratio of this paper size was implemented to acquire perfection in the size of paper. In most general office and home printers, this size is printable. It has become a sheet of standard copy paper.

The a4 paper size’s consistency makes the paper easier to work for creators and designers. Whereas each page holds the same ratio, so each item of the page maintains its relative shape. In all industrialized countries these A4-size papers have recognition as classic paper sheets.

According to the formula of the A-series, when you place two pages together those are one size. If you do it to make a new paper sheet then same aspect ratio will create. This advantage makes it easy to scale particular images and designs to different paper layouts and sizes.

US Letter Paper Size vs. A4 Paper Size

Even though it seems the difference is quite small but it can often influence your business. It’s important to accept the difference between letter paper size and a4 paper size. You can understand it well when it’s time to print something.

If the creator had made a document based on a4 paper size you would face some difficulties while printing this. Because usually in the United States the printers have their settings of paper configuration for the letter size.

Therefore if you want to print this a4 document, some of the content may be missing in your printout. For instance, you may update your printer settings to shrink the document fit to the page. Here you can finish it with some extra borders, but it may look distracting.

Letter Size vs. A4 Size – Know The Differences

Letter Size vs. A4 Size – Know The Differences

In the world, most of the parts people follow the same common idea about the standard paper sizing. The paper sizing of the ISO 216 series assures no matter where one might be printing, one gets similar results. It occurs due to the very same dimension of the paper.

The difference between letter size and a4 size at first particularly might not seem important to you. But the difference between them is very important. For the sizing of slightly different the same print-out or the image would look differs on letter document from an a4 size.

Now at a glance let’s see the difference between both of the paper.

NameUS Letter size paperA4 size paper
Width x Height (In mm)216 x 279 mm210  x 297 mm
Width x Height (In inch)8.5 x 11.0 inch8.3 x 11.7 inch
sizeWider than a4 size.Taller than letter size.
Aspect ratio1:1.29411:1.4142
ApplicationsOfficial documentation.Letters, catalogs magazines, forms, copying, laser printing, and other documents.
UseUS, Canada, Philippines, Venezuela, Mexico, Chile, Bolivia, and Columbia.Almost every country.
How are they to work?Little complicated.Easy and understanding.
TypeArbitrary type of paper.Not a paper of arbitrary type.
Concept of aspect ratioDoes not maintain particular aspect ratio.Always maintain a particular aspect ratio of 1: √2
Standards ofAmerican National Standards Institute (ANSI).ISO formal standards.
HistoryIn the 1980s created by Ronald Reagan.In 1920 established by Germany’s Dr. Porstmann.
Known asAmerican Quarto.A-series.

Why Does The Difference Matter?

At a glance, it may seem to you that both the paper sizes are almost the same. But after further inspection, you will see their difference. The a4 size paper is taller and the US letter size is wider.

But when it’s time to print out something and select the correct dimension then you realize their difference. You might create one file in the US. And that contains a corporate magazine’s all graphical elements for a company of UK.

After sending this file to your customer, they will try to print out it. Then you would receive the potential complaints that the design of that file doesn’t “look right”.

The reason is the printers of the UK are automatically likely to be set to a4 paper size. It means every file requires to be adjusted to fit the new page size. Printers adjust their mechanisms of printing based on the paper sizes which they have in their trays.

Even there are some printers that will totally deny printing documents that aren’t set with the expected paper format. Without any explanation, the printer denies printing the documents. These would confuse and bewilder your customer at the time to try to access their content.

Solving The Problem Of Letter Size Vs A4

Perhaps to solve the problems related to different sizes of pages around the world we should be aware. We should avoid sending documents that rely on external factors to print and display correctly.

For instance, you wouldn’t send any documents in a word document. The cause is Microsoft word can adjust margins on a document automatically when anyone opens a file.

Any program that would translate and encode a file into a little different set of sizes will instantly cause problems. Therefore, finding the correct format to send your document may be the most significant factor for your project’s success.

Acrobat files are mostly the best option. Here the format of the file wouldn’t change automatically from one computer to the other computer. However, it would be best if you make sure what type of programs your clients are working with. Before start sending different types of files to your client knowing this information may make your work smooth.

Again when your partner hasn’t access to Acrobat content it would happen another situation. They might try to convert your files to a different type of document. Therefore, it creates again the problems of conversion and size all over.

Steps To Master The Letter Vs A4 Conundrums

The letter size and the a4 sizes of paper both originated from values. Organizations set that for consistency while printing and storing documents. Documents, envelope size, printer trays, mail service, binders, frames, file cabinets, and other paper-related things are used from many perspectives.

In today’s globalized world from different points of the globe, designers and companies are continuing their works together. It is important to “standardize” some particular perspective about how we collaborate.

At first, graphic artists and designers should make sure the outline expectations about the printing process and paper size. If they follow this simple step before issuing their file they can avoid the conundrum.

Using a file type or document processor that allows sending your file without any change of the certain margin’s size. This step may be extremely valuable for your project.

Frequently Asked Questions

Which Paper Is Best For Printing?

Usually, a4 is the most used paper size for printing. It comes in different weights and with different coatings. It means for any printing job a4 paper is suitable. A4 paper is adopted by all countries except the United States, Canada, and some other countries in the world. American companies use letter-size paper for their printing purpose. Letter paper or a4 both the sizes are popular in their locales as regular typing paper.

Can I Print Letter On A4/ A4 On Letter Paper?

Do you want to print a letter-size paper design onto a4 size? Then you have to select the fit button in the menu of your printer. A4 size paper is not as wider as the US letter size paper. But it’s longer. Therefore a bit of spare white space is added towards the top and bottom. Again you want to print a4 size onto letter size? Then a bit of spare white space is added towards the page’s left and right sides.

Why Is A4 Paper So Popular?

A4 is the popular paper in most countries because this paper is a standard size of paper adopted by ISO. The ratio of these pages’ height to weight has a rather natty mathematical property. These papers always maintain the same aspect ratio of 1: √2.


You can use both the paper as your need and location. If you use letter paper it’s not only easiest to find but also you’ll avoid paper waste from printing errors. If your choice is a4 paper you can still find this paper online and also at office-supply stores.

Before printing a document if you know the document’s paper size and take the necessary steps while printing it. Then you may supersede the conundrum between the letter size and the a4 size paper. So choose the paper as your need between US letter size vs a4 size and enjoy your work.