Size and shape of documents and forms
The following factors particularly affect the size and shape of documents:
- There are advantages in restricting the forms used in one department to a comparatively few ‘standard’ sizes. Folders, binders, filing cabinets and other equipment in which form size is relevant can then be used more effectively and ‘stock’ items such as carbon paper and envelopes will be needed in fewer sizes.
- The size of the form should be convenient for use; sometimes it may be required to fit conveniently into a pocket of uniform clothing, or a lady’s handbag, e.g. when personal documents such as job cards or payable order books need to be carried about without being folded.
- The width of a form may be limited by the width of the typewriter or machine carriage actually available at the point where the form is completed.
- When sorting is involved, square forms should be avoided, as this shape makes it more difficult to face them up in the same direction. Large forms, especially if they are long and narrow, are awkward to sort unless they are folded.
- Whenever possible the form should fit one of the stock sizes of envelopes available to make for the utmost economy in envelope production. Small folds in the form should be avoided. Most folding machines fold one way at a time and all folds should therefore be arranged in the same direction as far as this is possible.
- The size selected for a form should be either a standard size stocked by H.M. Stationery Office or a size which H.M. Stationery Office agrees can be cut without waste from stocks of paper.
- Duplicating processes usually work with cut sheets which are not subsequently trimmed, but most reproduction machines require one or more unprinted edges. Within the various classes of paper there are a number of standard sizes of sheets. The sizes of the various papers most frequently used in departments are shown in the tables which follow.
There are both British standard paper sizes, and International paper sizes. The latter are now coming into greater use in the United Kingdom. The International ‘A’ series consists of a logically-planned range of trimmed sizes formed in such a manner that each size is obtained by dividing the one immediately above it into two equal parts, the division being parallel to the shorter side.
The ‘basic’ size has an area of one square metre. The most widely used sizes are A4, measuring 210 mm. × 297 mm. (approximately 81″ × 113″) which can replace the traditional British 8″ × 10″ and 8″ × 13″ sizes, and A5 which is exactly half the size of A4.
By halving or doubling these sizes one obtains an A size to meet virtually any requirements from a sizeable poster to a small visiting card. There is, in addition, a subsidiary B series for special requirements.
A4 and A5 sizes have now been standardised for official letter paper (see Letterheadings for the Public Service: H.M. Stationery Office: 1959) and so far as correspondence is concerned, the usual foolscap files will accommodate the A size of papers.
The common 9″ × 4″ envelope is quite suitable for several A sheets folded in four across their width. Most of the current office duplicating and other equipment can handle A4 without difficulty, but some A sizes do not suit current machines.
A general change to the A and B sizes for forms etc. may be expected only gradually. Meanwhile, A size paper can be specially obtained, and when these sizes provide an advantage over other sizes, H.M. Stationery Office should be consulted.
When designing forms which will be used mainly by business and commercial organisations (e.g. order forms, invoices, delivery notes, packing slips, advice notes and statements of account) the size and layout of these documents should conform to British Standard 1808:1951 Sizes and Recommended Layout of Commercial Forms, whenever official requirements permit this.
This Standard specifies the overall dimensions of this type of form, and the position for the main blocks of information, but does not attempt to lay down precise rulings or spacings. The Standard does not necessarily apply to continuous stationery.
British Standard sizes of paper and pages
Wherever possible the sizes of paper used in the Public Service are British Standard sizes approved by the British Standards Institution.
The sub-divisions of printing and writing papers most frequently used are as follows:
|Name of sheet||Size of sheet
|Imperial||22 × 30||21⅝ × 14¾||14⅝ × 10¾||10⅝ × 7¼|
|Royal||20 × 25||19⅝ × 12¼||12⅛ × 9¾||9⅝ × 6|
|Demy||17½ × 22½||17⅛ × 11||10⅞ × 8½||8⅜ × 5⅜|
|Crown||I5 × 20||14⅝ × 9¾||9⅝ × 7¼||7⅛ × 4¾|
|Foolscap||13½ × 17||13⅛ × 8¼||8⅛ × 6½||6½ × 4|
(generally used for printed forms etc. required to be completed in ink)
|Name of sheet||Size of sheet
|Imperial||22 × 30||21¾ × 14¾||14¾ × 10¾||10¾ × 7¼|
|Super royal||19 × 27||18¾ × 13¼||13¼ × 9¼||9¼ × 6½|
|Small royal||19 × 24||18¾ × 11¾||11¾ × 9¼||9¼ × 5¾|
|Demy||17½ × 22½||I7¼ × 11||11 × 8½||8½ × 5⅜|
|Small demy||15½ × 20||I5¼ × 9¾||9¾ × 7½||7½ × 4¾|
|Small post||14½ × 18||14¼ × 8¾||8¾ × 7||7 × 4¼|
|Small foolscap||13¼ × 16½||13⅛ × 8⅛||8⅛ × 6½||6½ × 4|
Minute sheets are trimmed to 13″ × 8″ and 8″ × 6½″. Letter/note paper is supplied in the sizes A5 (5⅞″ × 8¼″ approx.) and A4 (8¼″ × 11¾″ approx.)
H.M.S.O. stock paper sizes
Two grades of duplicating paper are supplied by H.M. Stationery Office—Semiabsorbent and Grade A. Five coloured papers are also stocked, blue, pink, green, yellow, and orange, all of which are semi-absorbent.
For statistical records and documents which are not to be written on, the semi-absorbent paper may be used generally, but if the work is to be signed afterwards or any writing to be added, the Grade A paper should be used.
Non-absorbent papers can be used for duplicating (e.g. writing papers) but this involves interleaving with ordinary blotting paper to dry the ink as each sheet is duplicated; some machines provide automatic interleaving or spraying of each sheet to avoid ‘set-off’.
Stencil duplicating papers
|Semi-absorbent, Blue wove||8 × 13||5–14|
|Semi-absorbent, Pink wove||8 × 13||5–15|
|Semi-absorbent, Green wove||7 × 8¾||5–18|
|Semi-absorbent, Yellow wove||7 × 8¾||5–19|
|Semi-absorbent, Green wove||8 × 13||5–21|
|Semi-absorbent, Yellow wove||8 × 13||5–22|
|Semi-absorbent, White wove||4¾ × 7||5–31|
|Semi-absorbent, White wove||7 × 8¾||5–32|
|Semi-absorbent, White wove||8 × 13||5–33|
|Semi-absorbent, White wove||7½ × 9½||5–35|
|Semi-absorbent, White wove, punched||8 × 13||5–36|
|Semi-absorbent, White wove||13 × 16||5–37|
|Semi-absorbent, White wove, punched||7 × 8¾||5–38|
|Semi-absorbent, White wove||6½ × 8||5–40|
|Semi-absorbent, Orange wove||8 × 13||5–41|
|White Wove Grade ‘A’||7 × 8¾||5–51|
|White Wove Grade ‘A’||8 × 13||5–52|
|White Wove Grade ‘A’||8½ × 11||5–53|
|White Wove Grade ‘A’||13 × 16||5–73|
All machines are built to take foolscap sizes and the most economical page sizes for duplicating are:
- Foolscap 13″ × 16″
- Foolscap Folio 8″ × 13″
- Foolscap Quarto 6½″ × 8″
- Foolscap Octavo 4″ × 6½″
Non-standard sizes have to be specially cut; stencils and labour are saved by keeping to the foolscap size, or sub-divisions thereof, rather than sizes 9½″ × 7½″, 8¾″ × 7″ etc. Two pages of 8″ × 6½″ can be typed on one stencil and used for duplicating both sides of an 8″ × 6½″ sheet.
Stock spirit duplicating papers
Master copy paper
|One-sided White Art||7 × 8¾||25–97|
|One-sided White Art||8 × 13||25–98|
|One-sided White Art||13 × 16||25–99|
Printing off paper (one-sided work)
|Writing Cream Laid E.S.||7 × 8¾||18–93|
|Writing Cream Laid E.S.||8 × 13||18–91|
|Writing Cream Laid E.S.||13 × 16||18–92|
Printing off paper (two-sided work)
|Litho||7 × 8¾||18–54|
|Litho||8 × 13||18–46|
|Litho||13 × 16||18–39|
|Thick T.S.||5⅞ × 8¼ (A5)||15–27|
|Thick T.S.||8¼ × 11¾ (A4)||15–28|
|Thin E.S.||5⅞ × 8¼ (A5)||15–81|
|Thin E.S.||8¼ × 11¾ (A4)||15–80|
|Extra Thin||5⅞ × 8¼ (A5)||15–77|
|Extra Thin||8¼ × 11¾ (A4)||15–76|
|Cream Wove E.S., R.A. (printed)||5⅞ × 8¼ (A5)||18–100|
|Cream Wove E.S., R.A. (printed)||8¼ × 11¾ (A4)||18–101|
|Bank Blue Wove T.S., R.A. (printed), A.M.||5⅞ × 8¼ (A5)||18–104|
|Bank Blue Wove T.S., R.A. (printed), A.M.||8¼ × 11¾ (A4)||18–105|
|Blue Laid, All Rag, R.A. (diestamped)||5⅞ × 8¼ (A5)||19–100|
|Blue Laid, All Rag, R.A. (diestamped)||8¼ × 11¾ (A4)||19–101|
|Cream Wove, All Rag, R.A. (diestamped)||5⅞ × 8¼ (A5)||19–108|
|Cream Wove, All Rag, R.A. (diestamped)||8¼ × 11¾ (A4)||19–109|
NOTE: E.S.=engine sized; T.S.=tub sized; R.A.=bearing Royal Arms; A.M.=Air Mail.