A4 paper size and dimensions: everything you need to know

A4 paper size and dimensions: everything you need to know

Editorial team Published on 9/30/2022

A4 paper size and dimensions: everything you need to know

A4 is, of course, by far the best-known paper size. It is everywhere in our day-to-day lives, most notably the classic white sheets used in printers in our homes and offices. As well as being extremely common, it also has a vast array of uses, as we will see shortly.

So, without further ado, let’s explore everything there is to know about A4 paper: its dimensions, its origins and some classic tips for making the best possible use of it when printing.


A4 paper and ISO 216

Like many other paper sizes, the dimensions of A4 paper are set by the ISO 216 standard. ISO 216 regulates the sizes of paper used in much of the world, though not Canada and the USA, which use Letter format instead. The ISO 216 system was first adopted in 1920s Germany, before gradually spreading across the world.

But A4 paper actually has origins dating back even further: apparently it was used at the time of the French Revolution. As we’ve discussed in the previous articles on paper sizes, all the sizes in the ISO 216 A series are derived from A0.

A4 is one-sixteenth the size of A0.

This makes A4 paper 21.0 x 29.7 cm, or 8.3 x 11.7 inches.

Paper sizes

If you want to measure it in pixels, at 300 dpi print quality, a sheet of A4 paper should contain at least 2,480 x 3,508 pixels.

Here is a table summarising the dimensions for the entire series of paper sizes in millimetres, inches and pixels (when printed at 300 dpi).

Paper sizeMillimetresInchesPixels (300 dpi print quality)
A0841 x 1,18933 x 479,933 x 14,043
A1594 x 84123 x 337,016 x 9,933
A2420 x 59416.5 x 234,961 x 7,016
A3297 x 42011.5 x 16.53,508 x 4,961
A4210 x 2978.3 x 11.72,480 x 3,508
A5148 x 2105.8 x 8.31,748 x 2,480
A6148 x 1055.8 x 4.11,240 x 1,748
A7105 x 744.1 x 2.9874 x 1,240
A874 x 522.9 x 2.0614 x 874
A952 x 372.0 x 1.5437 x 614
A1037 x 261.5 x 1.0307 x 437

Table of dimensions for A series paper sizes in millimetres, inches and pixels

A4 paper: what is it used for?

The size of A4 paper makes it suitable for the widest possible range of uses, and it is therefore extremely popular. Apparently it was designed and used for the first time in 1798, during the French Revolution, as the perfect paper size for publishing the legal documents required in that turbulent period of history.

Because A4 is a great size for laying out textual information in an orderly and clear way, it is also the official standard for documents drafted by the UN. As first inkjet and then laser printers came onto the market, this size of paper became an essential item in homes and offices.

Extremely popular for printing documents, forms and letters, A4 is also a standard size for school exercise books and is frequently adopted for magazines and textbooks too. And, last but not least, corporate brochures tend to be a simple A4 sheet folded into two or three sections.

A4 paper: resolution and printing tips

We summarised the dimensions of A4 paper a few paragraphs ago.

It’s simple to use in your projects: an ideal choice for pamphlets, books, magazines and brochures. There are no particular pearls of wisdom to share for A4 paper, as all software on the market adopts it as a standard format for creating files and products. Now you’ve read this summary, you’re ready to roll your sleeves up and create some documents in A4.

Just load up any popular desktop publishing program and Bob’s your uncle!

Best of luck!