Guide to Index Card Dimensions (with Drawing)

Index Card Dimensions

If you need something to write down notes, highlight key points of a presentation, or quickly jot down your contact information, index cards will certainly come in handy. Even though index cards have pretty much gone the way of the dinosaurs, we can still use them for non-business matters, including saving recipes and even creating tiny paper airplanes.

The original purpose of index cards was to help scientists record important details in the midst of information influx. As time went on, index cards became a staple in libraries before eventually becoming commonplace in the business world.

Today, you can find index cards of nearly any size, shape, color, and design. If you don’t have time to sit through this entire guide, allow me to sum up index card dimensions for you:

The most common index card size is 3 × 5 inches, but you can typically find 2.9 × 4.1, 4 × 6, and 5 × 8-inch index cards at office supplies stores.

Index Card Dimensions

Index card dimensions

Index cards come in several sizes, though office supplies stores will usually carry a handful of size options.

The most commonly used index card size in North America and the United Kingdom is 3 × 5 inches, which is what gave index cards their 3-by-5 card moniker. The smallest index card size available at many large stationery retailers is 2.9 × 4.1 inches. Large size options include 4 × 6 and 5 × 8-inch index cards.

Index card sizes play a minor role in its usefulness. In general, index cards are used to record tiny amounts of information, and writing shorter messages in tinier letters can help users make the most use out of such tiny writing spaces.

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Using Index Cards for Business Matters

Oftentimes, people think of index cards as tools for recording recipes and jotting notes. However, in the business context, index cards can play a pivotal role in organizing, networking, and relaying information.

Some of the most common uses of index cards for businesses include:

  • Flashcards for training new employees
  • Shopping lists for restocking important office supplies
  • Cue cards for highlighting important notes
  • To-do lists

Index Card Types

You can find several index card types or styles at office supplies stores. The types are determined by color, lining, size, and tabs.

  • A ruled index card will have college-ruling lines running horizontally. The lines will help users take neater notes and even organize information in a cleaner fashion.
  • Blank index cards offer the most flexibility since users can write in any orientation without worrying about lines “dirtying” the overall look.
  • Colored index cards are great for organization purposes. Color-coding index cards will help users find a specific type of index card for a specific purpose without having to scroll through an entire stack of cards.
  • Tabbed index cards are like color-coded index cards in how they help the user with organization. The difference is that the presence of a tab helps users write tiny notes to identify the contents of the card at a glance.
  • Grid index cards are specialized cards that help users record precise diagrams, mathematical equations, or simplistic designs.
  • Sticky index cards are not unlike sticky or post-it notes in how they have adhesive on the back that allows them to stick onto flat surfaces for easy access in the future.
  • Large index cards are classified as cards that are larger than 3 × 5 inches. 4 × 6 and 5 × 8-inch index cards fall into this category.
  • Small index cards are classified as cards that are smaller than 3 × 5 inches. ISO-7 index cards, which measure 2.9 × 4.1 inches wide, fall into this category.
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Designing Your Own Index Cards

Index cards are traditionally made of heavy paper, linen, or cotton fibers. However, that doesn’t mean you cannot make your own index cards using standard letter-size paper or A4 sheets of paper.

To create index cards on your own, you will first need to choose a size. You can stick to the standard 3 × 5-inch index card, or you can customize a card’s size to your exact specifications. For instance, you may want to rotate a 3 × 5 inches card vertically to write longer recipes, or you can cut out index cards measuring 3 × 7 inches. The important thing to take note of is whether or not you can fit all relevant information onto a single card.

After choosing a size, take a pencil/pen and ruler to mark out the index card’s borders. Then, using a pair of scissors, cut along the borderline of the index card to create individual cards from a single sheet of paper.

FAQ About Index Cards

FAQs about Index Card

1. Can I print on an index card?

It is possible to run an index card through a printer. However, formatting the sheet size in a Word Processor can be a bit tricky. You can check out this guide on how to properly print on index cards.

2. How do you preserve index cards?

Since index cards are made of paper, they are prone to deteriorating over time. So, you should think of ways to store and organize your index cards, especially if they contain valuable information—i.e., your grandmother’s chocolate chip recipe. You can use plastic containers, plastic folders, or even laminate to preserve index cards.

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3. Is a smaller index card better than larger cards?

Smaller index cards aren’t necessarily better than larger index cards and vice versa. It ultimately comes down to which size you are most comfortable with and whether or not you can record all useful information on one or both sides of an index card.


In today’s guide, I offered a quick rundown of index card dimensions. In case you’ve forgotten, the standard index card will measure 3 × 5 inches, but office supplies stores may also carry other sizes, such as 2.9 × 4.1-inch cards or even 5 × 8-inch cards.

Please share this information with your friends whom you think could benefit from using index cards. Also, feel free to comment down below on which type of index card you’re most accustomed to and why.


Baron Cooke has been writing and editing for 7 years. He grew up with an aptitude for geometry, statistics, and dimensions. He has a BA in construction management and also has studied civil infrastructure, engineering, and measurements. He is the head writer of

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