Legal Size Paper

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Are you tired of struggling to find the right size paper for your legal documents? Look no further! In this blog post, we’ll delve into all things legal size paper – from its dimensions and uses, to why it’s a must-have for any office or professional setting. Get ready to upgrade your document game with legal size paper!

Legal size paper is a type of paper that measures 8.5 inches by 14 inches, making it slightly longer than the standard letter size paper. It is commonly used in legal and professional settings for documents such as contracts, agreements, and court filings.

The origin of legal size paper can be traced back to England in the 13th century when document size standards were established for official government records. At that time, the legal size was known as “foolscap” which measured 13.5 inches by 17 inches. However, over time, this size evolved into what we know today as the legal size.

In the United States, legal-size paper was first introduced in the early 1800s and gained popularity during the industrial revolution due to its practicality for business purposes. The longer length allowed for more text to be printed on each page without having to flip over multiple pages.

One of the main distinguishing features of legal-size paper is its aspect ratio which is different from other standard paper sizes like letter or A4. While letter-size has an aspect ratio of 1:1.2941 and A4 has an aspect ratio of 1:√2 (approximately equal to 1:1.414), legal-size has an aspect ratio of approximately 1:√4/3 (equal to approximately 9:11). This means that when folded in half horizontally, a letter-size sheet will perfectly fit into a standard envelope whereas a legal-size sheet will require additional folding or trimming.

Another advantage of using legal-sized paper is its versatility in terms of printing options. Due to its longer length, it can easily accommodate larger fonts or images without compromising on readability or visual appeal. This makes it ideal for documents with complex layouts or those intended for presentations.

Legal-sized paper also comes in different variations such as narrow ruled or wide ruled which allows users to select based on their specific needs. The wider ruled legal-size paper is commonly used for handwritten notes, while the narrow-ruled is preferred for typed documents and forms.

In recent years, with advancements in technology, the use of legal size paper has decreased as digital documents have become more prevalent in professional settings. However, its importance cannot be understated as many legal and government institutions still require physical copies of official documents to be filed on legal-size paper.

Legal size paper plays a significant role in professional and legal settings due to its historical significance, practicality, and versatility. Understanding its features and uses can help individuals make informed decisions when selecting the appropriate type of paper for their document needs.

The history of legal size paper can be traced back to the 18th century in England, where it was first introduced as “foolscap” paper. The term “foolscap” referred to its size, which was slightly larger than the standard letter-size paper used at that time. The dimensions of this paper type were 8.5 x 13 inches, providing additional space for writing and storing important legal documents.

In the early years of America’s independence, foolscap paper became widely popular among lawyers and government officials due to its large size and durability. However, it wasn’t until 1799 when Congress officially established the use of foolscap paper as a standard for all legal documents in the United States.

As technology advanced and printing methods evolved in the late 19th century, foolscap paper underwent significant changes to meet the growing demand for standardized document sizes. It was during this period that the dimensions of legal size paper were standardized at 8.5 x 14 inches. This change provided an extra inch compared to the original foolscap size, making it more practical for everyday use.

By the mid-20th century, legal size paper had become commonplace in offices and law firms across America as a result of its ease-of-use and compatibility with office equipment such as copiers and printers. Its popularity continued to rise throughout the decades as more countries adopted it as their official document size.

In addition to being used for legal documents, legal size paper also found its way into various industries such as engineering, architecture, real estate, and government agencies due to its versatility and practicality.

However, with the advent of digital documentation and electronic storage systems, there has been a decline in reliance on physical copies of legal documents on legal-size papers. This shift has prompted some companies and organizations to switch back to standard letter-size or A4 sized-paper for their document needs.

Despite this, legal size paper continues to hold its significance in certain industries where a physical copy of documents is still necessary. It remains an important standard for many government agencies and courts, as well as businesses that deal with contracts, agreements, and other legal paperwork.

The history of legal size paper is closely intertwined with the evolution of document standards and technology over the centuries. Although its usage has decreased in recent years due to digital advancements, it remains a vital tool for those who need to store and organize important legal documents.

Most of us are familiar with the standard A4 paper size, as it is widely used for everyday printing needs. However, there is also another commonly used paper size known as “legal size paper”. You may have come across this term while working in a law firm or dealing with official documents. So what exactly is the difference between legal size and standard size paper? Let’s dive into the details.

1) Dimensions:

The most noticeable difference between legal size and standard size paper is their dimensions. The standard A4 paper measures 8.5 x 11 inches (215.9 x 279.4 mm), while the legal size paper measures 8.5 x 14 inches (215.9 x 355.6 mm). This makes the legal-size paper slightly longer than the standard one.

2) Purpose:

As the name suggests, legal-size papers are mainly used for official and legal documents such as contracts, agreements, certificates, deeds, and more. The extra length of this type of paper allows for more content to be included without having to use multiple pages.

On the other hand, standard size papers are used for daily printing needs like office memos, letters, reports, etc., which do not require a large amount of space.

3) Standardization:

The use of different sizes of papers can create confusion and inconsistency in organizing and storing vital documents. To avoid this issue from arising in professional settings like law firms or courtrooms, many countries have standardized legal-size papers to be used solely for those purposes.

In contrast, A4 papers have been adopted as a universal standard by most countries worldwide due to its convenience in handling daily printing needs.

4) Availability:

Legal-size papers may not be readily available at your local stationery store compared to A4 papers. As it has specialized usage limited to certain industries or government agencies only; hence fewer manufacturers produce them on a large scale resulting in higher costs.

5) Usage in Printers:

Another significant difference between legal-size papers and A4 papers is their compatibility with printers. Most modern printers come with adjustable paper trays to accommodate both standard and legal size papers. However, you may need to adjust the tray settings manually for older printers that do not have this feature.

While the dimensions of these two types of paper are almost similar, the purpose, standardization, availability, and printer compatibility set them apart. It’s essential to know the differences when dealing with official or legal documents to avoid any mishaps due to incorrect sizing.

Legal size paper is a popular choice among businesses, schools, and even individuals due to its versatility and unique dimensions. While the standard letter size (8.5 x 11 inches) is widely used, legal size paper offers additional space for printing and organizing documents. In this section, we will discuss some of the common uses for legal size paper.

  1. Legal Documents
    As the name suggests, legal size paper is commonly used in legal settings such as law firms or courts. Due to its larger size, it allows for longer contracts and agreements to be printed without having to use multiple pages. This also makes it easier to read and review documents that require a lot of text or fine print.
  2. Financial Reports
    For businesses that deal with financial reports and spreadsheets, legal size paper provides more room for columns and rows compared to the standard letter size paper. This makes it easier to present financial data without having to shrink down font sizes or cut out important information.
  3. Brochures and Flyers
    One of the advantages of using legal-size paper is its ability to accommodate more content on a single page compared to regular-sized flyers or brochures. This makes it an excellent choice for creating promotional materials such as product catalogs or company brochures that require detailed information along with visuals.
  4. Architectural Drawings
    Many architects prefer using legal-size paper due to its elongated dimensions which make it suitable for drawing up plans and blueprints while keeping them easily legible in their original scale.
  5. Presentations
    If you frequently give presentations at work or school, you may want to consider using legal-size paper for your visual aids instead of the traditional 8.5 x 11 inch slides. The extra space provided by this type of paper allows you to add more content on each slide, making your presentation more comprehensive and impactful.
  6. Artwork
    While most art projects may call for standard-sized paper, using legal size paper can add a new dimension to your work. The larger dimensions give artists more space to express their creativity and can be particularly suitable for landscape paintings or illustrations.

Legal size paper offers a range of uses beyond just legal documents. Its unique dimensions make it a preferred choice in various industries and professions. Whether you need extra space for text, data, or visuals, legal-size paper provides an effective solution that will meet your needs.

Legal size paper, also known as folio-sized paper, is a type of paper commonly used in various industries such as legal, financial, and architectural firms. It measures 8.5 by 14 inches, making it slightly longer than the standard letter-sized paper (8.5 by 11 inches). While some organizations may prefer to stick to the traditional letter-sized paper for their printing needs, there are numerous advantages to using legal size paper that should not be overlooked.

Common Misconceptions About Legal Size Paper

There are plenty of misconceptions surrounding legal size paper that often lead to confusion and misinformation. In this section, we will address some of the most common misconceptions about legal size paper and provide accurate information to help you better understand this specific type of paper.

Misconception #1: Legal size paper is the same as letter size paper.

One of the biggest misconceptions about legal size paper is that it is the same as letter size paper. Contrary to this belief, legal size paper is actually longer and narrower than letter size paper. While letter size measures 8.5 x 11 inches, legal size measures 8.5 x 14 inches, making it three inches longer than standard letter paper. This makes a significant difference in terms of formatting, storage, and usage.

Misconception #2: Legal size paper can only be used for official/legal documents.

Many people assume that legal size paper can only be used for official or legal documents such as contracts or court papers. However, this is not entirely true. While its dimensions make it popular for these types of documents, legal size paper can also be used for other purposes such as brochures, newsletters, and flyers. Its longer length provides more space for text and images compared to standard letter-sized sheets.

Misconception #3: Legal size paper is not readily available.

Some individuals believe that finding legal-size paper might be difficult due to its less popular use compared to standard sizes like A4 or Letter. But this misconception should not deter you from using it if your printing needs require so; in fact, most office supply stores carry a variety of legal-size papers in different weights and colors.

Misconception #4: You cannot print on both sides with legal-size sheets.

Another common misconception about legal-size papers is that they cannot be printed on both sides due to their lengthier dimensions. However, modern printers have automatic duplex printing features that allow for double-sided printing on legal size paper, just like any other paper size. This can help you save time, money, and reduce your carbon footprint.

It is essential to have a clear understanding of the facts surrounding legal-size paper to avoid confusion and make informed decisions when choosing the right paper for your specific needs. Keep in mind that despite its name, legal size paper offers versatility and can be used for a variety of purposes beyond official documents. It is readily available in most office supply stores and can be printed on both sides using modern printers.

Printing on legal size paper can be confusing and frustrating for those who are used to printing on standard letter-size paper. However, with the right knowledge and technique, you can easily print on legal size paper without any issues. In this section, we will guide you through the steps of properly printing on legal size paper.

Step 1: Check Your Printer Settings

The first step in printing on legal size paper is to make sure your printer settings are correctly configured. Most printers have a default setting of letter-size paper (8.5 x 11 inches), so if you try to print on legal size paper (8.5 x 14 inches) without changing this setting, your document will not fit the page and may even get cut off or distorted. To avoid these issues, go into your printer’s settings and change the page size to legal before proceeding with printing.

Step 2: Adjust Your Document Layout

After changing your printer settings, it’s important to adjust your document layout accordingly. If you’re using a word-processing program like Microsoft Word or Google Docs, simply go into the Page Setup section and select “Legal” as the page size. This will automatically resize your document to fit the legal-sized paper.

In some cases, you may have images or tables that are not resizing automatically with the rest of your document. In this case, manually adjust their sizes by going into their properties and changing their dimensions to fit within a legal-sized page.

Step 3: Load Paper Correctly

Another crucial factor in successfully printing on legal size paper is loading it correctly into your printer tray. Some printers have adjustable trays that can accommodate different sizes of paper, while others require manual adjustments to be made before loading the paper.

It’s essential to align the edges of the paper neatly against each other when loading them into the tray to prevent any jams or misalignment during printing.

Step 4: Print A Test Page

Before printing your final document, it’s always a good idea to print a test page on regular paper first. This will allow you to see the formatting and layout of your document before using up precious legal size paper. If everything looks good, proceed with printing on the legal size paper.

Step 5: Be Mindful Of Margins And Bleeds

When designing or printing documents that require bleeds (printing to the edge of the paper), be sure to leave enough margin space around the edges of your document. This will prevent any important information from being cut off during the printing process.

Properly printing on legal size paper involves adjusting printer settings, adjusting document layout, loading paper correctly, and being mindful of margins and bleeds. By following these steps, you can ensure hassle-free printing on legal size paper every time.

When it comes to selecting the right legal size paper, there are a few important factors to consider. Legal size paper is one of the most commonly used paper sizes in the legal profession, but its versatility also makes it popular among other industries, including education and business. Whether you are using it for contracts, reports, or presentations, choosing the right legal size paper can make all the difference in the final outcome of your document. In this section, we will discuss some useful tips that can help you choose the perfect legal size paper for your needs.

1. Understand the Standard Size: The standard size for legal documents is 8.5 x 14 inches (21.6 cm x 35.6 cm). It is slightly longer than the more common letter-size paper (8.5 x 11 inches) and provides more space for text and graphics.

2. Consider Paper Weight: The weight of paper can vary greatly from one brand to another. The higher the weight, the thicker and sturdier the paper will be. For legal documents that need to withstand frequent handling or multiple attachments such as staples or post-it notes, opt for a heavier weight (around 24-28 lb).

3. Determine Your Document’s Purpose: Before deciding on a specific type of legal size paper, consider how you will use it. If you want crisp and professional-looking printouts with sharp images and graphs, look for papers specifically designed for printing high-resolution documents.

4. Choose Quality Paper: Cheap and thin papers tend to result in low-quality prints with poor contrast between black ink and white spaces, which can be particularly troublesome if your document includes important details in small fonts.

5. Challenge Your Printer’s Capabilities: Before buying large quantities of any particular brand or type of paper for your printer/copier/scanner/fax machine combo,…it is a good idea to test out different brands/types before committing To buy hundreds or thousands of sheets.

6. Consider Brightness: Brightness refers to how white the paper is. Most legal documents require a high brightness level (at least 92) to ensure clear and easy-to-read text. However, if you are planning on using color printing, a lower brightness level may be suitable.

7. Take Environmental Factors Into Account: If sustainability is important to you or your organization, look for papers that are made from recycled materials or are FSC certified.

By considering these tips, you can easily choose the right legal size paper for your specific needs and ensure that your documents look professional and presentable every time. Remember, investing in quality paper can go a long way in making a good impression on clients or colleagues and showcasing the importance of your documents.

When it comes to using legal size paper, it’s important to consider eco-friendly options. Legal size paper is larger than standard letter-size paper, so it uses more resources and has a bigger impact on the environment. In this section, we’ll explore some eco-friendly alternatives for legal size paper that you can incorporate into your work or home office.

One option is to switch to recycled legal size paper. This type of paper is made from post-consumer waste, meaning it has been used by consumers and then recycled rather than being discarded. It’s an excellent choice for reducing your carbon footprint because it reduces the need for new raw materials and decreases the amount of waste sent to landfills.

Another environmentally-friendly choice is tree-free legal size paper. This type of paper is made from alternative fibers such as bamboo, cotton, or hemp instead of traditional wood pulp. These fibers are sustainable and renewable resources, making them a more environmentally-conscious option for legal size paper. Additionally, tree-free papers often have a higher quality and smoother feel compared to traditional papers.

If possible, try using digital alternatives instead of printing on legal size paper altogether. With advances in technology, many documents can be shared and stored digitally without ever needing to be printed on physical paper. Not only does this save resources, but it also eliminates unnecessary waste.

For those who still prefer physical copies of their documents or need them for specific purposes like contracts or official documents that require a signature, there are options for greener printing methods as well. Look for printers that use energy-efficient technologies or opt for duplex printing (printing on both sides) whenever possible.

In addition to choosing eco-friendly options for legal size paper itself, don’t forget about how you handle your finished documents after use. Be sure to recycle any used legal-size sheets properly when they’re no longer needed.

One simple yet effective way to reduce your environmental impact when using legal size paper is by using it sparingly. Consider if you really need to use legal size paper for a document, or if a smaller size would suffice. This will not only save resources but also save money in the long run.

There are several eco-friendly options available for legal size paper that can help reduce your environmental impact. From using recycled or tree-free paper to digital alternatives and responsible printing practices, you can make a positive difference with these small changes. By incorporating these options into your daily routine, you can do your part in promoting sustainability and protecting the planet’s resources.

The future outlook on the use of legal size paper is a topic that has been widely discussed in recent years as digitalization and environmental concerns have become key factors in decision-making for businesses and individuals. While it may seem like traditional paper sizes, such as legal size, are becoming obsolete, there are many reasons why this may not be the case.

One factor to consider is the continued reliance on physical documents in certain industries. In sectors such as law, finance, and government, legal size paper is still the preferred format for official documents and contracts. The standard dimensions of 8.5 x 14 inches provide ample space for important information to be included without being cramped or cluttered. As these industries continue to thrive and grow, it is likely that legal size paper will remain relevant in their processes.

Additionally, technological advancements have actually increased the demand for legal size paper in some cases. For example, many printers now come with a “legal tray” option specifically designed for printing on larger paper sizes. This allows individuals to easily print professional-looking documents at home or in small offices without having to outsource printing services.

Moreover, legal size paper has also found its place in creative industries such as graphic design and architecture. With more artists using digital tablets and software for their work, they often print out their final designs on larger formats for presentation purposes. Legal size paper provides them with a convenient option that does not require custom printing or resizing.

Another aspect to consider is the versatility of legal size paper when compared to other common sizes like letter or A4. It can easily be cut down into different shapes and sizes without losing its original form or affecting image quality. This flexibility makes it an ideal choice for creating brochures, posters, or even business cards.

However, one cannot deny that environmental concerns have caused a shift towards electronic document management systems (DMS) over physical copies. While this trend may reduce overall consumption of legal size paper, it is unlikely to completely eliminate its use. Legal size paper will continue to serve as a tangible and reliable option for those who prefer physical records, especially in legally binding contracts.

While the future may bring changes in how we handle documents, legal size paper remains an important and relevant format for various industries and purposes. Its versatility, reliability and continued demand ensure that it will always have a place in the world of printing and documentation.


In conclusion, legal size paper may seem like a minor aspect of document formatting, but it plays an important role in various industries and professions. From law offices to architectural firms, this larger paper size provides ample space for detailed plans and contracts. It is also widely used in everyday business correspondence as it allows for more content on a single page. Whether you are working with legal documents or simply prefer the extra writing room, legal size paper is a useful option to consider for your printing needs.

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