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A4 Paper Size vs. Legal Paper Size: What's the Difference?

Edited by Harlon Moss || By Janet White || Published on January 15, 2024
A4 Paper Size is a standard paper size measuring 210mm x 297mm, widely used internationally. Legal Paper Size is a larger paper size measuring 8.5 inches x 14 inches, commonly used in the United States for legal documents.

Key Differences

A4 paper size, measuring 210mm x 297mm, is part of the international ISO 216 standard. In contrast, legal paper size, at 8.5 inches x 14 inches, is not an ISO standard but is widely used in the United States, particularly for legal documents.
A4 is commonly used in most countries worldwide for a variety of documents, including letters and forms. Legal paper size is typically used in the United States for legal documents, contracts, and where additional space is required.
The aspect ratio of A4 paper is 1:√2, which allows for maintaining the same proportions when scaling up or down. Legal paper, however, has a more elongated shape due to its unique dimensions, which do not conform to the ISO aspect ratio.
In printing and photocopying, A4 is the standard setting in most countries, simplifying international document exchange. Legal paper size requires printers and copiers in the U.S. to have an option to accommodate its longer size, which can be less common in other
A4 paper size's popularity is due to its dimensions being part of a standardized series that includes other sizes like A3 and A5, all maintaining the same proportions. Legal paper size, while standard in the U.S. legal system, is less commonly used outside of the U.S. and does not fit into an internationally standardized series.

Comparison Chart


210mm x 297mm (8.3" x 11.7")
8.5" x 14"


Part of ISO 216 standard
Not ISO standard, U.S. specific

Common Usage

General, international
Legal documents, U.S. specific

Aspect Ratio

Not fixed to ISO standard


Widely used in most printers and copiers globally
Requires specific setting in printers, more common in the U.S.

A4 Paper Size and Legal Paper Size Definitions

A4 Paper Size

A4 is a standard paper size in the ISO 216 series, measuring 210mm x 297mm.
Please print the report on A4 paper size for the meeting.

Legal Paper Size

Legal size paper is commonly used in the legal industry in the U.S.
The court documents are typically formatted for legal paper size.

A4 Paper Size

A4 paper has dimensions that maintain proportion when scaled.
The design looks good both in A4 and A3 paper sizes due to the scaling.

Legal Paper Size

Legal paper size is a U.S. standard measuring 8.5 inches by 14 inches.
The legal contract should be printed on legal paper size.

A4 Paper Size

A4 is the go-to paper size for international business and academic documents.
Our office uses A4 paper size for all official correspondence.

Legal Paper Size

Legal paper size requires printers and copiers with appropriate settings.
Check if the printer can handle legal paper size before printing the report.

A4 Paper Size

A4 size is commonly used for documents, letters, and forms worldwide.
The application form needs to be printed on A4 paper size.

Legal Paper Size

Legal size is often used for documents that require additional space.
Draft the agreement on legal paper size to include all terms.

A4 Paper Size

A4 size fits standard binders and filing systems.
Organize the invoices in A4 size for easy filing.

Legal Paper Size

Legal paper size is not part of the ISO 216 standard.
Remember, our international offices may not use legal paper size.


What is the legal paper size used for?

Legal paper size is often used for legal documents in the U.S.

Is A4 part of a standardized series?

Yes, A4 is part of the ISO 216 series.

Are U.S. printers typically set up for legal paper size?

Yes, most U.S. printers accommodate legal paper size.

What are the dimensions of A4 paper size?

A4 measures 210mm x 297mm (8.3" x 11.7").

Is A4 paper size used globally?

Yes, A4 is the standard in most countries outside the U.S.

Why is A4 popular in business and academia?

A4's standard size and compatibility make it ideal for international use.

Is legal paper size common outside the U.S.?

Legal paper size is less common outside the U.S.

Are legal size papers typically longer than A4?

Yes, legal papers are longer than A4.

Do legal size papers fit in standard binders?

Legal size papers may not fit standard binders designed for A4 or letter size.

Can A4 be easily scaled to other sizes?

Yes, A4 scales proportionally to other ISO sizes like A3 and A5.

Is A4 suitable for legal filings in the U.S.?

It can be used but legal size is the standard for U.S. legal filings.

Do international offices need to adapt for legal paper size?

Yes, if they deal with U.S. legal documents.

What is the aspect ratio of A4 paper?

The aspect ratio of A4 is 1:√2.

Is A4 compatible with most copiers worldwide?

Yes, A4 is a standard size for copiers globally.

Are there printers that don't support legal size?

Yes, especially in countries where legal size isn't standard.

Can legal paper size be used for everyday printing?

Yes, but it's more common for specific legal or official documents.

Is A4 the same as U.S. letter size?

No, U.S. letter size is slightly different at 8.5" x 11".

Can A4 paper be used in legal documents?

A4 can be used, but legal paper size is preferred for U.S. legal documents.

What makes legal paper size unique?

Its length of 14 inches makes it unique for specialized documents.

Why might someone choose A4 over legal size?

Due to its international standardization and compatibility.
About Author
Written by
Janet White
Janet White has been an esteemed writer and blogger for Difference Wiki. Holding a Master's degree in Science and Medical Journalism from the prestigious Boston University, she has consistently demonstrated her expertise and passion for her field. When she's not immersed in her work, Janet relishes her time exercising, delving into a good book, and cherishing moments with friends and family.
Edited by
Harlon Moss
Harlon is a seasoned quality moderator and accomplished content writer for Difference Wiki. An alumnus of the prestigious University of California, he earned his degree in Computer Science. Leveraging his academic background, Harlon brings a meticulous and informed perspective to his work, ensuring content accuracy and excellence.

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