Many standards regarding paper sizes have been used in different countries at various times. However, there are two systems that have become widespread in the latter years. One of the popular sizes is the A4, which is 210 mm x 297 mm. We’ll look into A4 paper dimensions to see what advantages can be garnered from it.
ISO 216 is the standard for international paper size where the A4 size belongs. This standard is based on the German DIN 476. This system is purely based on the aspect ratio, which is 1:1.4142 or simply the square root of two. This system or format is based simply on a sheet of paper the size of one square meter, which is the A0 paper size.
Determining the A4 Paper Dimensions
Determining the succeeding paper sizes in the ISO 216 standard is relatively easy. All you have to do to determine the next size is to divide the larger size by half. So, in order to get the A1 size all you have to do is to divide the A0 size in half. You keep on halving the preceding sizes to arrive at the next paper size in this standard.
So, the A4 paper dimensions are basically just the half of the A3 size. The A4 size has become very popular among many countries. Many other countries caught on to the popularity of the A4 size due to its advantages.
Origin of the A4 Paper Dimensions
It was Georg Christoph Lichtenberg, a German scientist, who first recognized the advantages of using the square root of two aspect ratio, which is the one used by ISO 216 that includes the A4 size. He mentioned them in a letter to Johann Beckmann in 1786. However, Lichtenberg’s observations were only systematized in 1922 by Dr. Walter Porstmann.
Dr. Portsmann’s devised system was introduced in Germany as DIN 476. His standard eventually replaced a lot of paper formats that were current at the time. Today, the A4 size is often referred to as DIN A4 in Germany.
Advantages of the A4 Paper Dimensions
The advantages of the A4 paper dimensions are the key for its current popularity. Its main advantage is that of scaling. If you divide the paper into a pair of equal halves that are parallel to the shorter sides then you will still get the aspect ratio of square root of two. This allows one to scale without any compromise to the aspect ratio.
This makes enlarging from A3 to A2 or A4 to A3 quite easy, which is good news for photocopying and any other similar tasks. Another advantage of the A4 paper dimensions along with its siblings is that it is equally just as easy to determine weights.