When it comes to office organization, there are few tools as handy as hanging file folders. This type of folder comes in a wide range of sizes to store similarly shaped sheets of paper. So, a legal-size hanging file folder’s dimensions will be similar to the dimensions of a legal-size sheet of paper.
Legal-size hanging file folders will typically measure 9-3/8 × 15-3/4 inches (23.8 × 40 centimeters).
While both legal and letter-size paper are used for business and official purposes, they are not the same size. Thus, they should be stored in folders of different sizes for safekeeping.
Legal vs. Letter Paper Sizes
At first glance, legal and letter-sized sheets of paper may look similar. However, it’s only after you bring the two sheets together that you realize how much longer one is compared to the other.
Legal paper measures 8.5 × 14 inches (21.6 × 35.6 centimeters). This type of paper is generally used to print official contracts and manuals.
On the other than, letter paper, which is mainly used for printing documents for offices and schools, measures 8.5 × 11 inches (21.6 × 28 centimeters). This is the type that pops into mind when people think of sheets of paper.
In many ways, the two can be used interchangeably. It’s possible to print contracts on letter-size paper and school reports on legal paper. However, most companies or educational facilities have a standardized paper they stick to for certain purposes.
Hanging File Folder Sizes
Due to the 27% size difference in terms of the total printing area, legal and letter paper require separate hanging file folder dimensions.
The typical legal-size hanging file folder will measure 9-3/8 × 15-3/4 inches (23.8 × 40 centimeters), giving roughly 1-7/8 inches of horizontal clearance and 1-3/4 inches of vertical clearance relative to the size of the paper.
Hanging file folders made to store letter-size paper will usually measure 8-5/8 × 14-3/4 inches (21.9 × 37.5 centimeters) in size. This provides about an eighth of an inch of horizontal clearance and 3-3/4 inches of vertical clearance when storing letter paper.
While it’s true that you could use legal-size hanging file folders to store both legal- and letter-size sheets of paper, offices typically use hanging file folders that correspond to the size of the paper. This is because different sheets are used for different purposes, and using the correctly sized file hanging folder will reduce confusion.
ISO 216 Equivalent to Legal-Size Paper
Unlike A4 and letter-size paper, there is no equivalent to legal-size paper in the ISO 216 system.
However, the closest you can get to the 8.5 × 14-inch (21.6 × 35.6-centimeter) dimensions of legal paper is ISO B4, which measures 10.12 × 14.33 inches (25.7 × 36.4 centimeters). Even then, you may need a specialized printer to print documents on ISO B4 sheets of paper if you live in the United States or Canada.
Also, the dimensions of an ISO B4 sheet of paper exceed the 9-3/8 × 15-3/4-inch (23.8 × 40-centimeter) dimensions of a legal-size file hanging folder, so you would need to find a hanging file folder specifically made to hold sheets of B4 paper.