The Case of the Misplaced Letter Paper Size

The Case of the Misplaced Letter Paper Size

Amongst the many vices of that great country called the US of A, the one that is perhaps the most ignored is the startling dearth of the multiplicity of paper sizes. While we endure the american dreams sold to the world by the makers of the United States of America, there is a resounding disappointment that remains at the complete neglect of its paper size problem as a nation.

Americans know only one paper size: letter paper size. They know that it is the standard paper size. And they know that it measures 8.5 by 11 inches. They also know that there is a half letter paper size – it is half of the letter paper when folded along the short edge. They can probably calculate and tell you its dimensions. Probably. That, I’m afraid, is where their knowledge of paper sizes begins, and ends. And where my paper size problems with them begin.

“Is it 8.5 by 11 inches?” asks he.

“What is?” ask I.

“The paper size. Is it 8.5 by 11 inches?”

What paper size?”

“A4 size – the size you have designed it in. Is it 8.5 by 11 inches?”

“NO. It is not.”

“Okay, what is it then?”

“Well, I can’t remember what it is. But it is not the same as letter size.”

“Is it bigger? Or smaller? Can it fit into letter size?”

“NO! It won’t. The proportions are different. You can’t just fit it like that. I mean, you can do “fit to paper size”, but you will have to cut it out.”

“Okay, there can’t be any cutting. And I don’t know what fit to paper size is. It is 9PM here. I can’t go searching for A4 size paper here. Can you change the size of the document? Please.”


“Why do you sound sleepy… Like you are barely alive.”

“Because I AM sleepy. It’s 6:30 AM here.”

In retrospect I thought he was quite patient. I was nothing like that. I hated to change the document paper sizes. Why couldn’t people just carry the right paper size? After all, why should I be bound by 8.5 X 11 inches in everything I do? It is like being told not to color outside the lines. I mean, I would like to know who made those lines. I always wanted to color wherever I please. Everyone could live with their lines and neat colors. It did look nice in the end, and mine didn’t, but it was more fun to forget the lines. Just like 8.5 by 11 inches. I mean, how can a whole nation live and design and print without thinking outside of 8.5 by 11 inches?

Didn’t they see that it was such a big trap? Like, binding them in a box.

I looked at my printer. It was all dusty from not having enough to print. Well, I wasn’t exactly running a printing press, to be fair. I looked at the input and output trays carefully. Studied them. And then heaved a sigh of satisfaction. It had nice lines marked for so many paper sizes. This clearly showed that even the people who made printers actually expected you to print in multiple paper sizes – NOT just letter size. Just that convinced me that we were far more liberal as a nation than the US of A. We let people print however they want, and we firmly support them in their printing and sizing requirements as a nation.

“Is it done yet?”


“Oh… It is getting late here. We need to print it soon.”

“Too bad. I’m slow in the mornings. And I have to redo everything.”

In retrospect I think I almost blamed him for promoting the letter paper size rather than accepting my creativity and intelligence in designing on A4 paper size. He was just not on my side. He should have been on my side. And he had it coming.


To be continued.

, ,
No Comments

Leave a Reply