Envelope Basics: Measuring, Part 1

How to Measure an Envelope
By Erin Moloney

"Envelope Basics: Measuring - Part 1" is part of an occasional series titled "Envelope Basics" that provides an in-depth look at all-things envelopes - elements, measurements, ordering tips and more*.

Measure an envelope. What seemed like an easy enough task when I started working at Tension turned out to be a bit more complicated. I quickly learned a few truths:

  • Envelopes can be referred to by their size (e.g., #9 envelope, #10 envelope), but for the customer envelopes that Tension produces, the precise measurements can vary.
  • There’s a right and many, many wrong ways to measure an envelope.
  • When envelope’s measurements are properly specified, it could reduce the processing time of an order.

Surely, I’m not alone in my envelope size naivety. This blog on how to properly measure an envelope is dedicated to all of you industry newcomers, and our seasoned colleagues looking for a refresher course.

Pre-measurement Checklist

  • Be sure the envelope is empty before you measure it.
  • Use a legitimate scale or ruler.
  • Place the envelope on a flat surface.
  • Capture the measurements to the nearest one-sixteenth of an inch.

Most importantly, save yourself a lot of time and confusion by stating the dimensions with the shortest dimension listed first.

Step 1. Orient the Flap

To determine the type of envelope you’re measuring (e.g. open side or open end), orient the flap at the top. If the flap is on the widest

envelope size 1 and 2 side of the envelope, it is an open side envelope. If the flap is on the narrowest side of the envelope, it is an open end envelope.

Step 2. Determine the Envelope Size

Important: measure and state shortest side first, then the longer side.

Step 3. Identify the Score

envelope size 3 and 4

Find the groove in the paper where the flap fold is made.

Step 4. Measure the Face

Measure from the bottom of the envelope to the top of the envelope at the score.

Step 5. Measure the Seal Flapenvelope size 5 and 6

Flap length is measured from the centermost part of the seal flap to the flap score.

Step 6. Measure the Side Seam Width

The side seam is the area that holds the back to the face of the envelope. The envelope must be fully unfolded and open to reveal the inner seam and properly measure it.

Step 7. Measure the Throat Depthenvelope size step 7

Throat depth is measured from the bottom of the envelope to the top of the back of the envelope at its centermost point.

Step 8. Measure the Back

envelope size step 8

The back is measured from the bottom of the envelope to the center of the top (the lowest point on the envelope).

Step 9. Take Window Measurements

Stay tuned for Part 2 of this blog to learn how to measure a window envelope.

As always, consult your Sales representative to ensure accurate measurements. Don’t have a Tension Sales Rep yet? Contact us today and we’ll put you in contact with an envelope expert in your area. 

*This blog is intended for informational purposes only. Exact envelope and/or print specifications should be discussed in detail with your Sales Representative.