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How To Choose The Right Envelope

Envelopes come in all manner of sizes, styles, thicknesses and colours. Please refer to our Search Category and Size to find all the current available stock sizes. The most common envelope sizes are; C4, C5, C6 and DL and these correspond with the most common stationery sizes which are A4, A5, A6 and DL (compliment slip size).

If you don't see the size that you require then please contact us for our Bespoke/Custom made service.

The most common Envelope and stationery sizes

DL envelopes hold an A4 sheet folded into 3 parts. Whilst this is one of the most popular sizes it does involve folding your stationery in three, whilst some people may prefer not to do this they may well be better off with the C4 which means you can place this in an envelope without folding or C5 which you fold in half.

C5 envelopes hold an A4 sheet folded once down the middle, or an unfolded A5 sheet. This is a more common envelope that the C4 and more common for sending letters and branded stationery.

C4 envelopes hold an A4 sheet unfolded. C4 envelopes are just slightly bigger than an A4 piece of paper or stationery, enabling them to carry a brochure or catalogue.

C6 envelopes hold an A4 sheet folded twice in quarters or an A5 sheet folded in half.

Envelope styles and how envelopes seal

There are three styles of envelope; Pocket, Wallet or Banker.

Wallet and Banker envelopes open along the longer side. The Banker envelope opening with a large 'V' shaped flap and often refered to as a Diamond Flap like the type of envelope you buy your birthday cards in. The wallet envelope has a shorter, squarer flap.

There are four main ways of sealing an envelope: peel and seal envelopes, press or self seal envelopes, gummed seal envelopes or twin gummed envelopes. With ACE Envelope's range of envelopes you are sure to be able to send out letters to give exactly the look you want for your company.

Envelopes are divided into two basic types:

  • Pockets - open on short side.
  • Wallets / Bankers - open on long side

Size is always stated as Depth x Width. The width is always the seal-flap side and stated second. For example, 110x220mm denotes a wallet, whereas 220x110 denotes a pocket.

Each type has certain common terminology even if the shapes differ, such as seal-flap, seam etc. The back or reverse of an envelope is the side on which the seams are made. The other side is called the face.

Seal Flap Types

Gummed flaps Gummed flap envelopes need to be moistened to seal down, and are used for hand sealing as well as on automatic inserting machines. This type of envelope usually has a shelf life of up to 1 year.

Self-seal flaps Self-seal envelopes have two lines of natural rubber latex, and seal on contact without the need for moistening. This type of envelope usually has a shelf life of up to 6 months.

Peel and Seal flaps. Peel and Seal envelopes have one strip of paper over the glue which once exposed enables the envelope to be sealed.

Window Envelopes The specifications for window envelopes can be confusing. Whilst there is no standard way of expressing window dimensions, we have adopted the following procedure:-

Measurements are taken with the envelope seal flap at the top.
The DEPTH of the window (A) is the dimension at a right angle to the seal flap.
The WIDTH of the window (B) is the dimension parallel to the seal flap.
Measurements are expressed as DEPTH (A) first and WIDTH (B) second.
The position is measured by the distance (D) up from the base of the envelope, and (C) in from the left hand side.

The most common sizes in metric measurement?

  • DL = 110x220mm 
  • C6 = 114x162mm 
  • C5 = 229x162mm 
  • C4 = 324x229mm 
Glossary and abbreviations
Wallet An envelope with the flap along the long edge
Pocket An envelope with the flap along the short edge
S/S self seal (press seal)
P&S Peel and Seal
H/W Heavy Weight (usually 115gsm)
M/W Medium/Standard weight (usually 90gsm)
Opaqued Printed with a pattern on the inside to make it more difficult to read the contents of the envelope through the paper
Diamond Flap Traditional style envelope for greeting card use

For further information please also refer to the Royal Mail website -

http://www2.royalmail.com/royal-mail-you/size-weight-formats-mail