July 13, 2024


The world of printing and reprographics has a large number of concepts and terms used to facilitate work in the sector. One of them is the sheet and the ream, two concepts that are linked to each other and that are part of the day to day in this trade, especially in the preparation of books, magazines and brochures.

In this article we are going to explain in great detail what a sheet and a ream of paper, as well as how many sheets a ream of paper has. Continue reading for more information.


What is a sheet?

Preparing a book, as well as a magazine, a brochure or a newspaper implies teamwork in which the intellectual ideas for the content of the product are aligned on the one hand, on the other hand, the design and layout work, and finally, the impression. To answer what a sheet is, it must be taken into account that this concept is linked to both layout and printing, since it consists of the paper used to print in graphic arts . Now, sheet paper is not just any type of printing paper, it is paper that is folded —as its name suggests— to format books, catalogues, magazines…

Sheet paper can be of various types, as long as it is suitable for printing. This concept has nothing to do with the material, but with its dimensions or formats to be printed. We can find several standard measures, which are the most used —as we will see below—. Now, in any case, it is important to know that sheet paper always has a rectangular format .

What is a ream of paper and how many sheets does it have?

As we mentioned in the introduction, the sheet and the ream are concepts that are closely linked to each other. The reason for this is that the ream of paper is a unit of measure for sheets . This means that the ream is used to measure the number of sheets to be used. In addition, this has some standard measures regulated in the printing sector, they are: 1 ream = 500 sheets .

However, based on this standard measure, the quantities may vary depending on the orders. For example, it is possible to request 1/2 ream, which is equivalent to 250 sheets; as well as 1/4 ream, which in this case is equivalent to 125 sheets; and even 1/5 ream, which is equivalent to 100 sheets. Thus, answering the initial question of how many sheets a ream of paper has, the units can vary depending on the order that is requested in question, although all are calculated based on the standard of 500 sheets per ream.

What are the most common sheet formats?

The format, or dimensions of the sheet, will depend on each printer —since not all of them have the capacity to work with the same dimensions—. Although this does not mean that there is no standard format, in fact, there are several. The most powerful printers are those capable of working with larger sheet paper, these printers also have the ability to print in other smaller formats, adapting the printer configuration for the occasion. The most common formats of the sheet are:

  • Sheet of 45×64 cm.
  • Sheet of 52×70 cm.
  • Sheet of 63×88 cm.
  • Sheet of 65×90 cm.
  • Sheet of 70×100 cm.
  • Sheet of 72×102 cm.

The last of the sheets, the 72×102 cm, is currently the largest standard sheet —currently, reams of paper larger than 72×102 cm are not usually in demand, because these dimensions are already very high—. You must bear in mind that all the sheets have a rectangular format, so that they can be folded and keep the proportions. And it is that all the sheets —regardless of the dimensions they have— are multiples of 4. This allows, when folding the sheets, to generate 4 spaces with the size that the printed publication is going to have, be it a book, a magazine, a brochure… Now, many printers and copy shops offer the possibility of printing irregular sheets in order to optimize the paper format as much as possible. There are a lot of possibilities.

In any case, it is important to know that the measure —or size— of the final page is defined by the sheet of paper, that is, where it is folded. The more folds there are, the smaller the size of the product – that is, if we use a sheet to fold it 2 times, instead of 1, we will have a total of 8 pages, but the format of the book, brochure or whatever, will be much more reduced. Always keep in mind that a sheet —a fold— results in a total of 4 pages.

What is page imposition on a spread?

The imposition of pages on a spread has to do with the location in which they should be ordered . That is, when imposing the pages, an order is established in which they must be folded to match the binding and the numbering. An example of imposition would be: 4 pages / ¼ sheet / 1 fold. Also: 8 pages / 1/8 sheet / 2 folds.

Of course, depending on the folds that are applied to the same sheet to save paper and make the most of the space, a different order and numbering will be generated in the binding, as well as in the final dimensions of the product. There are many impositions, depending on the dimensions of the sheet and the number of folds to be made. The higher the impositions, the smaller the sheets of the final product. In general, the most common and easiest imposition to work with is one fold, although depending on the quality of the printers and the formats requested by the client, the folds may increase.


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