A clipboard is a thin wooden board that is used to keep paper in place. It provides a solid back, which allows people to write on a sheet of paper while standing still or moving around. Clipboards come in a range of shapes, but there is a standard size that people use regularly.
The standard clipboard will measure 9 × 12.5 inches for keeping letter-size paper (8.5 × 11 inches) in place. However, there are also clipboards for legal-size paper, which measure 10.75 × 15.5 inches. You can also find clipboard sizes for holding onto A4 and A3 sheets of paper.
And that’s pretty much there is to it. However, if you’d like to learn more about clipboards, such as the differences between clipboard materials, the various types of clipboards available, and what sort of things you can use a clipboard for, you’ll find all the answers down below.
Standard Clipboard Size
Clipboards come in a variety of sizes. The reason for this is that sheets of paper also come in different dimensions. Depending on where you live, you might be used to using letter- and legal-size paper, or you might be more familiar with ISO 216:2007 sizes—e.g., A3, A4, A6, etc.
These everyday writing-assisting tools are designed to accommodate specific paper sizes. For instance, a single clipboard can be used to keep letter-size paper in place but not legal paper. Legal-sized clipboards are used for legal paper, but anything smaller or larger wouldn’t be a good fit.
In addition, clipboards must be slightly larger than the sheets of paper they’re made to keep in place. There should be a slight margin on the sides and the bottom of the sheet of paper, either to provide a good grip for walking and writing at the same time or to give space to various features.
Below, you’ll find standard clipboard sizes and the types of paper they’re designed to clip.
|Clipboard Description||Clipboard Dimensions (inches)||Paper Size (inches)|
|Mini||7.3 × 4.7||6.8 × 4.7|
|Memo||6 × 9||5 × 8|
|Server||4.5 × 11||4 × 8|
|Letter||9 × 12.5||8.5 × 11|
|Legal||10.75 × 15.5||8.5 × 14|
|Ledger||17.5 × 12||16.5 × 10.5|
|A3||12.5 × 17||11.75 × 16.5|
|A4||9.4 × 13.4||8.25 × 11.75|
|A5||6.4 × 9.1||5.4 × 8.25|
Wooden vs. Plastic vs. Aluminum Clipboards
Clipboards are typically made of wood, plastic, or aluminum. While you might not have given much thought to the type of material that goes into a clipboard, there’s actually a pretty good reason for choosing one over the other.
If you work in a humid environment, you’ll want a clipboard that is resistant to moisture. In this case, your best bet would be to choose a plastic clipboard. Wood would end up absorbing some of the moisture, which could cause the wooden back to warp in shape and eventually break. Aluminum, though rustproof, can corrode and end up with holes all over it after excessive exposure to humidity.
Most wooden clipboards are made of particleboard, which is durable enough to withstand the pressure you apply when using it as a writing surface. They’re also relatively lightweight compared to aluminum clipboards, but they are susceptible to more than just water damage.
While veneer strips can make the clipboard sturdier, they won’t do much in helping it withstand bumps and falls.
Aluminum clipboards are used in a number of different places, including in hospitals and at construction sites. The rigidity of the aluminum makes for a great place to write things down, but it can also withstand bumps and bruises as you carry the tool from place to place.
The durability of aluminum will come in handy if you plan on using the clipboard to store more than just sheets of paper.
Types of Clipboards
There are two main clipboard types—single and folding.
A single clipboard is a type we’re more familiar with—it’s a flat board with rounded corners and has a metal or plastic clip at the top. It’s great for carrying in one hand while you write with the other due to its lightweight build and sturdy panel, but other than a single pen you can clip down, it doesn’t offer much in terms of storage.
If you want more compartments to keep your calculators and stationery in, you should look for a folding clipboard.
This type of clipboard comes with two wooden, plastic, or aluminum panels that latch together to create a binder-like construction for housing more than just sheets of paper. You will find single clipboards used by nurses to keep their patient’s documents in order while briskly moving from room to room.
There is also a third, lesser-known clipboard known as the whiteboard clipboard. In design, it looks exactly like a single clipboard, but what separates it from the other types is that you can write directly on the whiteboard-like surface with an erasable marker. This type of clipboard will come in handy if you have a marker on hand but no sheets of paper. However, you can lose all of your recorded data if you accidentally rub the surface of the clipboard against your shirt or pants.
What Are Clipboards Used for?
Clipboards might seem like ordinary, not-very-spectacular writing-assistant tools, but you can use them for a lot more than just keeping your sheets of paper in place. A clipboard will come in handy whether you’re a parent, a DIY hobbyist, a nurse, a construction worker, or anything in between.
One thing I’ve particularly fond of is clipboard galleries, which are like bulletin boards you hang up on walls, but instead of a large cork board, you can hang multiple clipboards on your wall, each containing a different sheet of home or office reminders.
Because the clip-on clipboards stick just slightly beyond the top of the board, you can easily fasten them on a wall with nails.
In addition, because they are so easy to hang up, you can leave a clipboard in the kitchen and hang it up at eye level. That way, you won’t have to look down at a recipe book while you’re also busy stirring pots or blending ingredients together.