How Long Has A4 Been The Go-To Office Paper?

How long has A4 been
the go-to office paper?

Imagine your business receiving letters of different sizes, or each member of your staff printing documents on different sizes of paper. Would this cause chaos and complete disorder in your office environment? Secretaries and office workers would have the difficult task of sorting, arranging and storing them!

It is this confusion that led to the creation of A4 as the standard paper size for offices, which measures 210 × 297mm or 8.27 × 11.69 inches. While other formats are still used, their frequency does not surpass that of A4. A4 photo paper can also fit into almost any kind of printer. Let's have a look at the history of paper sizes and why A4 was chosen as the size preferred for corporate use.

History of A4

The A paper series was created in Germany in 1922. The first series was composed of three paper sizes: A4, A3, and A2; A2 is double the size of A3, which in turn is double the size of A4. In other words, the A paper series is made up of sizes that are either double or half the size of its immediate counterpart. As the years went by, the A-series was accepted by many countries across the globe.

The UK adopted A4 paper in 1959. In 1975, the United Nations (which was established after the end of the second world war) adopted the paper format as an ISO standard. Within two years after its adoption by the UN, A4 printer paper was being used in more than 88 countries across the world. Today, it is used in Europe, Africa, and Asia, and has been adopted by all countries in the world except Canada and the United States. However, Costa Rica, Mexico, Colombia, Chile, Venezuela, and the Philippines still use the US letter format despite officially adopting the ISO standard.

How much does A4 paper weigh?

The weight of A4 can vary depending on its gsm, but 80gsm A4 paper, which is commonly used, typically weighs 5g. In comparison, a sheet of 80gsm A2 paper weighs 20g while 80gsm A3 paper weighs 10g.

A4 Paper - 5 Grams
A3 Paper - 10 Grams
A2 Paper - 20 Grams

Why did so many countries adopt A4 paper?

There are several reasons as to why the A-series was accepted as the ISO for paper use. As mentioned earlier, the A-series was invented in Germany in 1922. The system was adopted by many paper mills which were later destroyed during World War Two. As the economy recovered post-1945, new paper mills produced these paper sizes to carry on the tradition.The adaptability of A4 has also made it popular. For example, it can be used in any printer, saving office workers the hassle of looking for various paper formats for their different machines. A4 photo printing is also popular with designers for image resizing.

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Special types of printer paper

Special types of printer paper

Humans are often reminded that they should be eating a varied diet - and sometimes the same can be said for printers.


There is a wide range of paper types available, and they can be great items to use in adding a touch of spice to your printing activity, provided you check they are compatible with your printer before you start feeding time. Just like people, some printers could be allergic to certain things!

Photographs are often one of people's favourite printed treats. But printing pictures like this onto plain paper often doesn't lead to the best results.

For a quick trial print, or when you're not too fussed about quality, it'll be more than fine. But for a glossier result, more akin to the sort of prints that you would get if you had a film developed professionally, special photo paper is the way to go.

And don't forget that for those who like to save the planet, there are plenty of high quality recycled papers that can be used in printers. These are a great way for users to do their bit for the globe while enjoying the benefits of printer use.

It's also worth remembering that, whatever you happen to be printing, white isn't the only way to go. It's always possible to print onto a different shade of printer paper, perhaps as a way of adding a sense of fun to a document.

Meanwhile, your printer's precious ink doesn't even necessarily need to end up on a piece of paper at all, when you make use of the special transfer products available.

If you have an image – or even a piece of text – that you love enough to wear, it's possible to buy printer paper that you can stick it onto via your friendly printer, using the trusty iron to pop it onto the likes of a T-shirt. Oh, look at that... We have some here!

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