Legal Size Paper | Complete Guide

posted by: Celeste O’ Connor

Letter vs Legal Size Paper

What is the difference between letter size (also called US letter size or standard size) and legal size paper?

Simply put, the legal-size paper is just 3 inches longer than letter-size paper. Legal size paper is 8.5 x 14 inches, whereas letter-size paper is 8.5 x 11 inches.

Letter vs Legal Size Paper

Examples of Letter Size Paper

Letter size paper is likely the size you’ve come into contact with most. It is the most common paper size that you will find in a printer, at an office supply company, or receive in the mail.

PDF files, Powerpoint presentations, and Microsoft Word documents are all sized to this, making them easy to print out.

Examples of Legal Size Paper

Why is it called legal size paper? Because legal documents need the extra 3 inches in order to fit the extra language involved in contracts and other legal documents.

Legal-size also has extra-wide margins compared to standard paper – 1.5 inches compared to 1 inch – to allow for notes and corrections.

Which to use – Legal vs Letter Size?

When deciding on whether to use legal vs letter, consider the type of document you are wanting to produce because the paper size will vary depending on that.

Letter size paper works best for:

  • Direct mail
  • School papers and essays
  • Work memos
  • Scholarly research papers
  • Magazines
  • Flyers
  • Handwritten letters

Legal size paper works best for:

  • Legal documents
  • Wills
  • Licenses
  • Contracts
  • Brochures
  • Accounting documents
  • Real estate documents

How to Store Legal Size Paper

Letter vs Legal Size Paper

Because of the extended dimensions on legal size paper, it can be difficult to find tools to store and organize it. 3-ring binders and page protectors are ordinarily sized to fit standard letter size (8.5 x 11) paper.

Here are some binders that can store legal size paper:


Page protectors for legal paper aren’t common and you likely won’t find them at your local Walmart or Staples, but you can shop online for them here:


To save more space, try out some legal-size document folders:

Letter vs Legal Size Paper

Looking for Other Paper Sizes?

Check out this post, Binder Size Chart, for a more in-depth guide on binder sizes/capacities as well as a full chart of all the different paper dimensions.

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