Shrinking Paper Documents

Printed paper documents are not only fewer in number. They are getting smaller too.

A few years ago, printed documents lost their status as documents of record. It is no longer important to have a printed bank statement, for example. Even if you have the paper document, the “real” document is the electronic document that the printed document was created from. Many documents are not printed at all anymore, and for those that are, it is no longer so important for them to be complete. The details can be relegated to the electronic version of the document.

Reflecting this trend, you might see smaller printed documents replacing larger ones. Here are just a few examples:

With not so many documents large enough to take up one full page, it may be almost time to switch to smaller laser printers for most homes and offices. When we are ready to make that jump, the logical paper size to choose will be the standard A6 paper size, defined as 105 × 148 millimeters, roughly 4.1 × 5.8 inches. It is almost a familiar size for those who remember 4 × 6 inch index cards, and we have some experience with it as a printer size from the small-format photo printers of a decade ago.

An A6 sheet provides a large enough page to serve as a receipt, packing list, invoice, work order, invitation, flyer, driving directions, store coupon, ticket, or most of the other everyday documents that come out of printers. Folded at the right place, it is large enough to fit in a traditional window envelope. The savings on paper is an efficiency, but the larger advantage comes from not dedicating so much desk space to a machine that is no longer used all day long.

Fish Nation Information Station | Rick Aster’s World | Rick Aster