Letter / Legal or Tabloid?

The difference between letter, legal, and tabloid sized paper

There are three main types of paper size used in the United States of America. These types are descended from the various sizes used throughout the 19th and early 20th century. In the mid 20th century, the various paper manufacturers joined together to create a new standard. These standards are now built-in to every copying machine sold.


This is the most common paper size found in the USA. It is 8.5 inches wide by 11 inches long. This is a typical size of paper that can fit easily in a letter-sized envelope. For the most part, both consumer and commercial grade copiers default to this size.


This size of paper that is often used in the areas of business and law. This is 3 inches longer than a typical letter sized piece of paper. It is 8.5 inches wide and 14 inches long. There are many stories as to why this size is called legal, but the real reasons are lost in the mists of history.


This size originates in the area of pulp newspapers and grocery store magazines. It is 11 inches wide by 17 inches long. This size is perfect for creating newsletters, interoffice magazines, fanzines, and many other types of physical news copy. This size is larger but useful.