Paper format in printing

Hello! Today I will tell you what paper format is used in professional printing. Paper used in printing is always produced in rolls (rolls), but is often cut into large format sheets directly at the manufacturing factory.

Traditionally, paper formats supplied to the retail chain for subsequent sale to printing houses are considered “whole”. Fractional derivatives from them are called “halves,” “quarters,” and “eighths,” respectively. Whole formats include 72×104, 70×100, 62×94 and 60×90 cm.

Paper sheet size A2

A “half” will be considered a sheet cut in half parallel to the narrow side: 52×72, 50×70, 47×62 and 45×60 cm. Sometimes these formats can be found on sale. People traditionally call “halves” in “A2” format. In fact, the exact A2 format is 420×594 cm.

A4 paper sheet size

The familiar A4 format (210×297 mm) was invented for use in copying technology. In such things, “those who don’t have time are late,” so we owe this, which has become an international, format to the developers of the first Xerox copier.

размеры формата бумаги А4

It was logical to assume that quantities that are multiples of this format will also receive the index “A”, and their numerical characteristics will be different.

Paper format in printing

Paper sheet format A3, A5, A6

This is how the A3 format appeared, twice as large as A4 (420×297 mm), A2 (420×594 mm) and A1 (594×840 mm). The size of the latest, largest, A0 format is 841×1189 mm. It is unknown where the extra millimeter on each side came from. There are no A5 and A6 paper formats, but these formats are also derived from the “copier” A4 format, representing half and quarter of an A4 sheet, respectively.

A4 paper format is slightly less than one-eighth of a “whole” 60×90 sheet, so in printing it would be more correct to say “eighth” rather than “A-four”. If we want to avoid unnecessary paper consumption and give a more accurate description of the format, we need to indicate what the eighth part is from. So we’ll say “sixty times ninety to the eighth.” Or, let’s say, in the sixteenth. Then what will happen? That’s right, A5 format.

Paper designations in printing

Many printing houses are equipped with special machines for unwinding or dissolving rolled paper and cutting it into sheets, or, as printers say, into flats (from English flat). Such machines are capable of unwinding from 1 to 8 rolls simultaneously and cutting them into formats corresponding to the gear ratios of the used gears, or “sprockets”: 60, 62, 70, 72, 90, 92, 94, 100, 102, 104 cm and etc.

станок для полиграфического производства

The second number in the format value will be the width of the original role (60, 62, 70, 72, 84 cm, etc.). By the way, for roll paper, the format is always only one value, indicating the width of the role.

Calculation of paper roll length

The length of the paper tape enclosed in the roll usually remains unknown, but it is easy to calculate based on the weight of the roll (this value is always known and is placed directly on the roll’s embalm), its width and the density of the paper.

Here is a formula by which you can always estimate the length of the paper web in your role:

L (meters) = M/P/S x 100,000,


  • M – role mass,
  • P – density in grams per square meter,
  • S – width in centimeters.

However, it should be taken into account that the actual useful length of the web will be less, since it is necessary to take into account the breakdown and end of the roll (where the paper can no longer be used). Therefore, I would add a factor of 0.97 to the M (mass) value to take into account the mandatory waste percentage.

формат рулонной бумаги

Calculation of paper requirements

And now – one of the most important and most frequently used formulas in printing. It is used to calculate paper requirements for circulation.

Today, as I write these lines, the cost of offset paper from various domestic manufacturers ranges from $0.6 to $0.8 per kilogram. By the way, I don’t recommend using imported offset paper: ours is no worse. Take, for example, flat offset paper Ballet or Printa Premium – the only thing in which these types of offset paper are inferior to their imported counterparts is price.

Coated paper in Moscow and St. Petersburg costs in the range from 1.4 to 1.6 dollars per kilogram. It depends to a certain extent on the seller and your relationship with him, and also directly depends on the volume of your purchases.

So, we need to calculate how much coated paper with a density of 135 g/m2 will cost for a circulation of 9,500 A4 leaflets. Note that for the calculations we need four quantities:

  • 1. Format
  • 2. Circulation
  • 3. Density
  • 4. Price per kilogram

We divide a total of 9500 A4 leaflets into 8 pieces. on a “whole” sheet and we get the amount of paper required for the circulation: 1188 sheets of 60×90 format or (since this format is quite rare) 62×94. But that is not all.

What is the color of the print? 4+4? As we already know, usually 50 sheets are taken for makeready for each printed color. So we need 400 sheets? But wait.

What format machine will we use to print the edition? I doubt that on the full-length “Planet”. Most likely, for this purpose we will use a half-format press, for example, the Dominant or Heidelberg GTO-52, which are very common in our printing houses.

This means that the paper will have to be cut in half. This means that the number of sheets will be twice as large. We need exactly four hundred of these sheets for adjustment! That is, twice as many sheets of the “whole” format.

Total we need: 1188+200=1388 sheets of format, say 62×94.

But low-density paper (which includes our density of 135 g/m2) is packaged in packs of 500 sheets and the pack is unlikely to be printed. Therefore, we boldly take three whole packs of 500 each, i.e. 1500 sheets. A lot is not a little. The customer will be happy when, instead of 9,500, we give him more than ten thousand leaflets.

How to order paper

But time is money, and we call the Bereg company, or Komus, or Alexander Brown, or somewhere else, and find out if they have coated paper in the format and density we require the required quantity.

пачка формата бумаги а4

Yes, come, they answer us. Or deliver it to you?

Typically, wholesale companies that sell paper deliver paper the next day if you made an order before lunch, or every other day if you “ripe” in the late afternoon.

– Price? One and seven?

– What do you mean, I always take one and four from… In another company.

– But they don’t have that format now. So how much will you give it?

– Come on, let’s agree on a price – I’ll always buy only from you.

– Well? One and five? Okay, but the delivery is yours.

– And preferably right in the morning, otherwise my car is parked, waiting for your paper.

Let’s count. 62×94 cm is 0.62×0.94 meters. Or 0.5828 m2. We multiply this number by the density of 135 g/m2, and we get the weight of one sheet of this format = 78.678 g. We multiply the weight by the number of thousands (note, thousands of sheets!) sheets: 1.5, and we get 118.017 kg. It remains to multiply the resulting weight by the price per kilogram and we get the finished cost: 177 dollars 22 cents.

So, remember this formula:



  • Q – cost of the required amount of paper,
  • L – sheet length,
  • S – width,
  • P – density,
  • Z – number of sheets, thousand,
  • $ – price per kilogram.

At this point, the analysis and calculation of paper formats in printing can be considered complete. Here are general calculations. In your case they may differ, but I hope the logic is clear.