A3 paper is a common choice amongst various industry professionals for commercial use. It is rarely used for home printing, as it requires a dedicated printer that can accommodate this size (normal printers are limited to A4 size). However, in recent years more and more individuals and small businesses have started using this size as the cost of printers is going down as well as the cost of printing consumables such as ink due to aggressive competition between ink manufactures.
The size of a standard A3 sheet is 297mm x 420mm, which is precisely twice the size of the most popular A4 size. However, it is worth noting that A3 is also available in an oversized version, which is often referred to as A3+ (or Plus). This version exceeds the normal size slightly as it is designed to allow insertion of notes, comments and feedback around an A3 print without undermining the original A3 printing surface, therefore it is commonly used by graphic designers and printers in order to have a proof print with a full A3 printed size and extra borders to allow signs and marks. The oversized version comes in varying sizes most commonly 330mm x 483mm or 13×19″. In the case of domestic use, you need to ensure that your printer can accept this size prior to buying either.
A3 Standards Size – 297mm x 420mm
A3+ Oversized Size – 330mm x 483mm
There are plenty of applications, which make this option one of the most popular in the printing world. The precise use will often depend on the quality of the paper and weight in GSM. Traditionally, the higher quality photo papers are used for photo reproduction and high quality proof before print, while the lower budget options are used for proofing, brochure making, architect drawings, designer graphics etc. The non-coated i.e. ‘copier paper’ are merely used for text printing.
70gsm to 100gsm Non-Coated – These are normal printer papers commonly referred to as copy paper. They are used to print documents in which there is no or little use of graphics. They certainly do not support high res image printing.
120gsm to 150gsm Inkjet Matt Coated – A3 papers of this size are often used for brochures as when folded they equal two A4 sheets. However, the lighter weight options are also used for proofing an image or a design by allowing the insertion of comments around the print (in A3+) and for presentation in the business world, these are also uses for printing graphics and charts when basic graphics are required.
150gsm to 200gsm Inkjet Matt, Satin and Gloss – These are used for basic photography printing and higher quality brochure papers.
200gsm and up Inkjet Matt, Satin, Luster and Gloss– Photographs that have some sort of keepsake element are almost always printed on heavier paper. Together with a suitable premium coating (coating is unrelated to the weight of the paper), they feel luxurious and special. A4 size invitation cards can be created to support high quality image when the A3 photo paper is folded.
You can also get version of double-sided A3 in which as the name implies you can print on either the coated or non-coated side for the creation of calendars.