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When you think about printing on paper, it’s probably A4 size that comes to your mind. That is what most people use in their offices and homes after all. But have you heard about other dimensions and sizes? There is an international paper standard, that is associated with ISO 216 standard for paper sizes.

paper size A4 vs A3, A2 (ISO 216 Standard)

paper size A4 vs A3, A2 (ISO 216 Standard)

The ISO 216 standard is an international system used for defining paper sizes, and it is widely adopted in many countries around the world. According to this standard, the paper sheet must adhere to a certain dimensions in centimeters or inches.

You have probably seen printing paper blocks marked with A4 label, as these are the most common for regular usage. But have you ever worked with A3, A2 or A5 paper? Can you even tell which one of these is smaller or bigger than your standard A4? Keep on reading and you will learn much more about these paper sizes and how do they compare against each other.

As I already mentioned, the A4 is most widely used, probably because it’s so convenient and universal. The universality of this paper size comes in multiple ways: for example, you can fold and cut it in half to get two A5 sheets. And yes, this rule applies to all of the individual sizes within this standard, meaning that two A4 paper sheets adds up to one A3 sheet, where two A3 sheets makes one A2 and so forth.

I bet this makes paper sizing less confusing already, but you should stick around to learn more about these dimensions and how they add up. Comparing A3 to A4 will provide you with better insights into the relationship between different paper sizes and their practical applications. A3 and A4 are both part of the ISO 216 standard paper sizes. A3 is twice the size of A4, with dimensions of 297mm × 420mm. By halving the longer side of A3, we obtain A4, which measures 210mm × 297mm. This consistent ratio ensures that when you fold an A3 sheet in half, you get two A4 sheets of the same proportions.

a6 and a5 and a4 and a3 and a2 and a1 and a0 paper sizes

The A3 size is often used for posters, architectural drawings, and presentations, where a larger format is required to showcase information or visuals. On the other hand, A4 is the most commonly used size for general office documents, letters, forms, and everyday printing tasks.

Understanding the relationship between A3 and A4 sizes can be helpful in various situations. For example, if you design a poster in A3 format but need handouts or smaller copies, you can easily scale it down to A4 size without losing the original proportions.

By delving deeper into these dimensions and their practical applications, you’ll gain a clearer understanding of the versatility and convenience that the ISO 216 standard brings to paper sizing. Here is a little cheat sheet that will help you to understand the relations and sequencing of ISO 216 standardized paper:

Paper mm cm inches
A0 841 x 1189 mm 84.1 x 118.9 cm 33.1 x 46.8 inches
A1 594 x 841 mm 59.4 x 84.1 cm 23.4 x 33.1 inches
A2 420 x 594 mm 42 x 59.4 cm 16.5 x 23.4 inches
A3 297 x 420 mm 29.7 x 42 cm 11.7 x 16.5 inches
A4 210 x 297 mm 21 x 29.7 cm 8.3 x 11.7 inches
A5 148.5 x 210 mm 14.85 x 210cm 5.8 x 8.3 inches
A6 105 x 148.5 mm 10.5 x 14.85 cm 4.1 x 5.8 inches
A7 74 x 105 mm 7.4 x 10.5 cm 2.9 x 4.1 inches
A8 52 x 74 mm 5.2 x 7.4 cm 2.0 x 2.9 inches
A9 37 x 52 mm 3.7 x 5.2 cm 1.5 x 2.0 inches
A10 26 x 37 mm 2.6 x 3.7 cm 1.0 x 1.5 inches


A2 Paper size: Standard, Dimensions and Usage

While A2 may not be the largest paper size, it is undoubtedly one of the more commonly available larger formats. Although it may not be widely stocked in every stationery store around the world, you can likely find it in select specialty shops or corner stationery suppliers in your local area. A2 paper size is larger than A3. To be precise, it takes two A3 paper sheets to form a single A2 paper sheet. This unique size is specifically designed to cater to the requirements of large-scale architectural drawings and other related purposes. A2 paper, measuring 420mm × 594mm, offers a significant increase in surface area compared to A3. Architects, engineers, and designers often rely on A2 size for their intricate and expansive drawings, allowing them to showcase detailed plans, layouts, and technical specifications with greater clarity and precision.

The larger canvas of A2 paper facilitates the presentation of comprehensive architectural designs, floor plans, construction blueprints, and other visual representations that demand a generous display area. Its generous dimensions provide ample room for capturing intricate details, scaling, and annotations. By employing the A2 size, professionals in the architectural and design fields can effectively communicate their ideas, concepts, and specifications. The convenience of this size allows for the seamless continuation and expansion of projects across multiple sheets, ensuring cohesive and comprehensive documentation.

The A2 paper size’s intentional adaptation to the demands of architectural and technical drawings highlights its significance and relevance within the field. It serves as a valuable tool for professionals working on large-scale projects, where every detail matters and meticulous documentation is essential.

Other area’s of application includes posters, diagrams and other drawings. You are unlikely to come across a printer that could handle such paper size very easily. They tend to be quite expensive and bulky. When it comes to printing on A2 paper size, there are several printer models available to meet your needs:

One popular choice is the Epson SureColor P800. This professional-grade printer is known for its exceptional color accuracy and high-quality output, making it ideal for A2-size prints. If you prefer Canon printers, the imagePROGRAF PRO-1000 is a reliable option. It offers excellent image quality and color precision, making it a preferred choice for professionals who require A2 printing capabilities.For architects, engineers,  and construction professionals, the HP DesignJet T730 is a compact and versatile printer that can handle A2-size prints with ease. It’s designed to meet the specific requirements of technical drawings and large-format prints. If you’re looking for an all-in-one solution, the Brother MFC-J6930DW is worth considering. Along with A2 printing capabilities, it provides scanning, copying, and faxing features, making it a versatile choice for a range of printing tasks. The Epson Expression Photo HD XP-15000 is another option to consider. This affordable inkjet printer offers vibrant color output and high-resolution photo printing, making it suitable for A2-size prints at an accessible price point. Finally, the Canon imagePROGRAF PRO-300 is a professional-grade photo printer that excels in color reproduction for fine art and photography prints. It supports A2-size paper, allowing you to create stunning prints with impressive color accuracy.

To properly display an image in A2 size, a minimum resolution is necessary. For print materials such as books, blueprints, magazines, brochures, menus, and calendars, a resolution of 300 PPI (pixels per inch) is recommended. This translates to an image size of 4960×7016 pixels.

For general images, a resolution of around 200 to 220 DPI (dots per inch) is sufficient to ensure good picture quality. It’s important to note that AZ paper prints are typically done on a single side only.

When it comes to posters, newspapers, or visuals that will be viewed from a short distance, a minimum resolution of 150 pixels per inch is suitable. This corresponds to an image size of 2480 x 3508 pixels.

To print A2-size images with excellent quality, it is advisable to use a digital camera with a resolution of 16 megapixels or higher. This ensures optimal results, particularly when the images will be viewed from a greater distance.

By adhering to these recommended resolutions and utilizing appropriate equipment, you can achieve the desired image quality for different printing applications.

A3 Paper size: Standard, Dimensions and Usage

The A3 Standard is a little bit more widespread amongst household users. It has a dimensions of two A4 pushed side by side and finds frequent usage among students and artists.

A3 Paper size

A3 Paper size

It offers a larger canvas for various creative and academic endeavors. The A3 format, measuring 297mm × 420mm, provides ample space for activities such as sketching, drawing, and brainstorming ideas. Its generous proportions cater to the need for expanded surface area, allowing for detailed illustrations, diagrams, and visual representations.

Students often turn to A3 paper for presenting projects, creating mind maps, or organizing study materials. Artists, too, appreciate the larger format as it enables them to work on more extensive pieces, unleash their creativity, and incorporate intricate details. Thanks to its compatibility with A4 dimensions, the A3 size conveniently allows users to scale down their creations or create complementary handouts. This adaptability ensures that work produced on A3 can easily transition to a more portable and widely distributed A4 format.

When printing, in order to get a decent image quality, there is also a requirement of minimum resolution source file. To ensure optimal printing quality at 300 PPI (pixels per inch), the image dimensions should be 3508 x 4961 pixels. This high resolution is ideal for printing materials such as books, blueprints, magazines, brochures, menus, calendars, and more, where fine details and crisp clarity are important.

For applications like posters, newspapers, or items viewed from a shorter distance, a minimum resolution of 150 PPI is sufficient. In this case, the image dimensions should be 1754 x 2480 pixels. While it may not offer the same level of intricate detail as higher resolutions, it ensures adequate quality for such viewing scenarios. To capture and print A3 size pictures with superior quality, it is advisable to use a decent digital camera with a resolution of 12 megapixels or higher. Such cameras provide the necessary level of detail and sharpness, especially when the images are meant to be viewed from a larger distance. However, an 8-megapixel camera can also deliver satisfactory results, albeit with slightly reduced quality.

For A3-size prints, the Epson SureColor P700 is a popular choice. This professional printer offers exceptional color accuracy and print quality, making it an ideal option for professionals in need of precise A3 prints. If you prefer Canon printers, the Canon imagePROGRAF PRO-2000 is a reliable choice for A3 printing. It delivers excellent image quality and color precision, making it a preferred option for professionals who require A3 printing capabilities. Architects, engineers, and construction professionals may find the HP DesignJet T830 to be a versatile printer for A3-size prints. This compact all-in-one printer is designed to handle technical drawings and large-format prints with ease.

For those seeking an all-in-one solution, the Brother MFC-J6945DW is worth considering. This printer supports A3 printing, along with scanning, copying, and faxing features, providing convenience and versatility for various printing tasks. If you’re specifically looking for a photo printer for A3 prints, the Canon PIXMA PRO-10 is an excellent choice. This professional-grade printer excels in color reproduction and offers stunning A3-size photo prints with impressive detail and vibrancy. These printers offer reliable performance and cater to the diverse needs of professionals seeking high-quality A3 prints. Consider the features and capabilities of each printer to determine the best fit for your specific requirements.

A4 Standard Size Paper: Dimensions and Size

This is truly the most universal and most widespread format of paper that comes in our lives through various mediums, including magazines, catalogs, and much more.

A4 Paper size

A4 Paper size

The A4 paper size, with dimensions of 210mm × 297mm, holds a prominent position as the standard for everyday documentation, printing, and communication. It has become deeply ingrained in our daily routines, seamlessly accommodating a multitude of applications. Magazines and catalogs often adopt the A4 size for their pages due to its practicality and balance between content space and readability. Its proportions allow for effective layouts, making it an ideal choice for presenting articles, images, and advertisements in a clear and visually appealing manner.

Beyond the publishing realm, A4 finds extensive use in offices, schools, and various professional settings. It provides ample space for reports, memos, presentations, and educational materials. Its widespread adoption and familiarity make it a reliable and versatile choice for a broad range of document-related tasks. The convenience of the A4 paper size lies not only in its physical attributes but also in its compatibility with printers, copiers, and standard filing systems. This compatibility ensures seamless handling and distribution of documents across different platforms and institutions.

Considering its ubiquity and practicality, the A4 paper size has become an integral part of our interconnected world, facilitating effective communication and information sharing. Whether in print or digital form, it continues to play a vital role in our day-to-day lives, contributing to the smooth flow of information and ideas.

At a resolution of 300 PPI (pixels per inch), the image needs to be 2480×3508 pixels. This resolution is suitable for high-quality printing that will be viewed in books, blueprints, magazines, brochures, menus, calendars, and similar materials. For a resolution of 150 PPI, the image should be 1240×1754 pixels. This is the minimum resolution required for posters, newspapers, or any visuals that will be seen from a short distance.

To print good quality A4 size images, an 8-megapixel digital camera can be used effectively.

A3 and A4 are widely used paper sizes around the world, and their main difference lies in their dimensions. A3 size is equal to two A4 paper sheets. A4 paper is commonly used for official computer printouts, letters, and documents. It follows the ISO standard, making it universally recognized and eliminating confusion regardless of your location. On the other hand, A3 size sheets are often preferred for presentations, brochures, and advertising materials. The larger size provides ample space for clear and visually appealing printouts of pictures and graphics. Understanding the distinctions between A3 and A4 sizes allows you to choose the appropriate paper size based on your specific printing needs. Whether you require standard documentation or materials with more visual impact, selecting the right paper size ensures optimal results.

When it comes to producing A4 sized prints HP OfficeJet Pro 9015 is an all-in-one inkjet printer renowned for its versatility and efficiency. It excels in providing fast printing speeds, automatic two-sided printing, and seamless wireless connectivity. With its high-quality print output, this printer is suitable for both text documents and color graphics.

Another popular choice is the Epson EcoTank ET-2720 from the EcoTank series, known for its cost-effective printing solution. This inkjet printer stands out with its refillable ink tanks that significantly reduce printing costs. It offers wireless printing, scanning, and copying capabilities, making it a reliable option for home and small office use. For excellent print quality and versatility, the Canon PIXMA TS9120 is highly regarded. It supports wireless printing, features a user-friendly interface, and offers convenient features such as mobile printing and automatic duplex printing. With its sleek design and compact size, it seamlessly blends into any household or office setup.

These printers have gained positive feedback from customers and are frequently recommended for A4 printing requirements. However, it’s always wise to conduct thorough research and compare different models based on your specific needs, budget, and regional availability before making a purchase decision.

This is our brief review of all things to know about A2, A3 and A4 paper formats. I do hope that this will help you to understand and remember how they compare against each other. Also, you can save this table for future reference of dimensions in centimeters and inches for each ISO 216 paper format.