Business Envelope Dimensions: 10 Common Envelope Sizes Used at the Office

October 11, 2018

Business Envelope Dimensions: 10 Common Envelope Sizes Used at the Office

Are you unsure if a certain envelope is right for the job? 

Do you feel a little like Larry here - confused when it comes to choosing the right envelope for your mailings?

Larry is our Chief Happiness Officer who often helps us with “organizing things” around the office. She – yes, Larry’s a girl - is in charge of making sure everyone is content, focused, and well informed.

So, based on the number of questions we get about envelope dimensions and her confused look here, it’s time we inform you all.

This post is all about envelope dimensions, specifically those for your business needs. It’s divided into 3 sections: standard envelopes, large envelopes, and check and form envelopes.

Our goal? Take out the guesswork when ordering envelopes for your business needs!

 


 

Business Envelope Dimensions Size Chart

Click here to go straight to our full-size envelope size chart at the end of this post!

 


 

Standard Envelopes

The phrase “standard envelopes” usually refers to those wide, white envelopes used for regular business mail (and you probably used them in elementary school to learn how to address letters to your favorite aunt). Number 10 envelopes are the most frequently used standard business envelope size in the United States.

 

Choosing the Right Size

A good rule of thumb is to select an envelope that measures 1/4 inch wider along each edge of the document you’re mailing. This makes it easy for both you and the receiver to easily insert and remove the item, plus minimize any damage to the mailing that might occur in transit. 

 

Kinds of Seals

Believe it or not, we answer many questions about envelope seals, and what it means to use gummed vs. self-seal vs. flip and seal. Click here for a handy table that explains different types of envelope closures to help decide which one is right for you.

 

A Note about QuickBooks Checks

It’s worth noting that these three envelopes are NOT recommended for use with QuickBooks CHECKS QuickBooks invoices do just fine – but due to the extreme need for privacy, the windows of the envelopes used for QuickBooks checks must be exact so that the check amount doesn’t show through. We included these kinds of envelopes in the “Check and Forms Envelopes” section towards the end of this post.


Type of Envelope
Envelope Dimensions
Typical Usage

Number 10 Envelope

4-1/8 in. x 9–1/2 in.

  • For documents on standard 8-1/2 x 11 sheets of paper, folded into thirds (or smaller)
  • As the outer envelope for mail requiring a return envelope inside, which is often a #8 envelope
  • For invoices and billings
  • NOT recommended for QuickBooks checks
  • Number 9 Envelope

    3–7/8 in. x 8–7/8 in.

  • For mailings measuring about 3-1/2 in. by 8-3/4 in. (or smaller)
  • As a return envelope inside a #10 envelope
  • For some checks (but NOT QuickBooks checks)
  • Number 8 Envelope

    (also called an 8-5/8" envelope)

    3–5/8 in. x 8-5/8 in.

  • For items measuring around 3-1/4 in. x 8-1/4 in. (or smaller)
  • As a return envelope inside a #10 envelope
  • For some checks, (but NOT QuickBooks checks)
  • Larry Says

    While some envelope measurements correspond directly to the number used in their names, others are named by approximation for easy reference.

    For instance, the #10 envelope is actually 9-1/2" inches wide - close to the no. 10 that its named for, but not quite. Likewise, a #9 envelope is 8-7/8" wide – just shy of 9. I know it doesn't make much sense, but regardless, it's become commonplace industry terminology!

     


     

    Large Envelopes

    Do you mail items that shouldn’t be folded? Do you mail thick documents like magazines or reports? If so, the standard envelopes won’t do; you need something larger that will allow you to send your mail flat and unfolded.

    Below you’ll find a table outlining the three most popular large envelopes. Choose an envelope that is at least 1/4 inch more than the height and width of your mailing.

    Envelope Dimensions
    Typical Usage

    10 in. x 13 in.

  • For unfolded mailings about 9-3/4 in. x 12-3/4 in.
  • Large catalogs, photos, and reports
  • 9 in. x 12 in.

  • For unfolded mailings on 8-1/2 x 11 sheets of paper
  • Reports, catalogs, magazines, or journals
  • Promotional material, large cards, or brochures
  • Will hold up to 60 sheets of paper
  • 6 in. x 9 in.

  • For mailings around 5-3/4 in. x 8-3/4 in., or sheets of standard 8-1/2 in. x 11 in. folded in half
  • Promotional materials
  • Certain catalogs, small magazines, programs, journals or brochures
  • Booklet vs. Catalog Envelopes: What's the difference?

    In product descriptions of large envelopes, you'll see the terms “booklet” and “catalog envelopes.” To clarify, catalog envelopes open on the short side and have a seam running along the middle on the back of the envelope. Catalog envelopes are often used for inter-office communications as well as mailing.

    Alternatively, a booklet envelope has its opening flap on the long side of the envelope. Their use is preferred when it’s imperative that mailed items are not bent, folded, or “stuffed” into the envelope.

     

    Difference between Booklet versus Catalog Envelopes

     

    What kind of postage to use on large envelopes?

    It’s common to have questions about mailing large envelopes. We’ve summarized some of the basics here, and have linked to several informative articles below that are loaded with details if you need to know more.

    According to Bizfluent and our own personal experience, stamps should be your second choice. Instead, use metered mail or a service like Stamps.com as your first mailing option if you mail large volumes.

     

    Metered Mail

    Metered mail is mail that has postage printed directly onto it, the outer envelope, or an adhesive label by a postage meter. Postage meters have built-in scales that determine the exact postage needed for items – no more guessing or over-paying by using too many stamps.

    Metered mail also saves you time and fuel by eliminating trips back and forth to the post office. Furthermore, it offers businesses a simple way to track mail expenses by departments or campaigns, which offers analytics for determining ROI and for budget planning.

    An important fact, though: You cannot buy your own postage meter. The U.S. government controls postage much like currency, so these machines must be rented through companies who are authorized to do so. If you’re looking into renting a postage meter, there are a lot of factors to take into consideration, and this article by Expert Marketing gives lots of detailed info on these machines. Just like envelopes, there are lots of options to ponder.

    Stamps.com

    Stamps.com is a service that offers an alternative to metered mail while still offering more savings than traditional stamps – no expensive postage meter needed. You use these services to print postage directly onto envelopes or labels using your office printer or something like a DYMO thermal label printer.

    Stamps.com also integrates with fulfillment platforms like ShippingEasy, ShipStation, and more, so if you sell products online that need to be shipped to customers, this is a great solution. These FAQs by Stamps.com may give you insight to how these the service works.


    USPS

    Honestly, if you don’t mail large envelopes often, you can go old school with your local post office or USPS.com and avoid monthly fees or setup costs associated with the options above. This page gives the dimensions for “flats,” or large envelopes, and links to other basic USPS mailing info.

     


     

    QuickBooks Checks, Business Forms, and Taxes: Not Your Common Envelope Sizes!

    Up to this point, we’ve talked about common envelopes, sizes that everyone from professional settings to home offices use from time to time.

    This section, however, is about a few non-standard sizes – custom sized envelopes that are specific to certain types of businesses or intercompany departments.

    The table below outlines envelopes sized for use with QuickBooks checks, CMS-1500 forms, 1099-MISC Tax forms, and W2 Tax forms.

    Remember, a standard #8 envelope (AKA 8-5/8 envelope) with windows is not the best choice for QuickBooks checks. Often times, the windows do not align correctly, leaving the check amount or memo line in view. See our table below for the specs needed for the perfect fit for QuickBooks checks.

    Type of Envelope
    Envelope Dimensions
    Window Placement

    QuickBooks Checks

    3-5/8 in. x 8-11/16 in.

  • The bottom window is positioned 3/4 in. from the bottom edge with a height of 7/8 in. These specifics keep the amount of a QuickBooks printed check from showing.
  • The bottom window is located 7/8 in. from the left edge and has a width of 3-1/2 in. With these measurements, you are able to print QuickBooks checks as a trifold or as 3 per page without needing to reformat the software.
  • CMS-1500 Forms

    4-1/2 in. x width 9-1/2 in.

  • The window is located 1-1/2 in. from the bottom edge of the envelope, and it has a height of 1-1/8 in.
  • The window is positioned 3-7/8 in. from the left edge with a width of 4-3/4 in.
  • 1099-MISC Tax Forms

    5-5/8 in. x 9 in.

  • The bottom window is located 1-1/2 in. from the bottom edge of the envelope, and this window has a height of 1-7/16 in. These measurements keep the personal tax ID number from showing in the bottom window.
  • The bottom window is positioned 1/2 in. from the left edge with a width of 3-3/8 in. This placement allows the receiver’s address to show, and you don’t need to reformat Quickbooks to print and send tax forms!
  • The top window is also 1/2 in. from the left edge with a width of 3-3/8 in. It’s 3-3/4 in. from the bottom edge.
  • W2 Tax Forms

    5-5/8 in. x 9 in.

  • The bottom window is placed 1-9/16 in. from the bottom edge, and the window has a height of 1-3/8 in. This prevents the SSN from showing through the window.
  • The bottom window is located 1/2 in. from the left edge and is 4-1/8 in. wide. These measurements allow your receiver’s address to show without needing to reformat QuickBooks or similar software before printing.
  • The top window is located 1/2 from the left edge with a height of 15/16 in. It is placed 3-3/8 in. from the bottom edge of the envelope. 
  •  


     

    Envelope Dimensions Size Chart

    When you field as many questions about envelopes as we do, we knew we needed to set out to help clarify things. There are many, many sizes of envelopes, and this post only highlighted some of the most common ones specifically for business needs. We've created a simple chart below to consolidate all of the above information into one handy chart. However, if you’re looking for information regarding envelopes for things like wedding or party invitations, you may find this site helpful.

     

    Envelope Dimensions: Common Business Envelopes Size Chart

     

    What questions do you have? Do you want to learn more about the origins of envelopes? Let us know below and Larry or one of our other Happiness Agents will gladly help get them answered!

     

    ABOUT THE AUTHOR

    Rachel Eubanks is a lifelong educator in Huntsville, Alabama who helps other mompreneurs tell their stories online through digital and social media. As a homeschooling momma of two, Rachel loves reading, hiking with her boys, and writing. You can find her online at Inspire to Engage.


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