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Paper Folding Guide

Paper Folding Guide


Paper can be folded about as many ways as you can imagine. Because it can seem overwhelming, so we’ve set up this helpful guide for designing your material for print.

Please know that folding is seldom very precise; most machines work within a tolerance of about 1/32 of an inch per fold. It is important, therefore, that a designer keeps that in mind when developing pieces with elements that end at folds. Allow for tiny variations in folds, just as you would for variations in trimming.

On sheets that need to fold several times, the accuracy of the first fold will affect all subsequent folds. The thickness of the paper will also cause variations in additional folds, as thicker paper will cause the folds to shift more than a thin paper. When submitting a job, it is highly recommended that you include a folding dummy with your submission.

The following diagrams illustrate the most typical folding options used in the commercial printing industry:

  • Half Fold
    A Half Fold has two panels. Both panels are at full size.
  • Tri Fold, Letter Fold or 3-Panel Fold
    A Tri-Fold has three panels. The two outside panels are at full size. The inside panel should be 1/16-inch narrower.
  • Parallel Fold or Half-and-Half Fold
    A Parallel Fold or Half-and-Half Fold has four panels. The two outside panels are at full size. The two inside panels should be 1/16-inch narrower.
  • Z-Fold, Accordian Fold
    A Z-Fold, also known as an Accordion Fold, has all panels at full size.
  • Right-Angle Fold or French Fold
    A Right-Angle Fold, also known as a French Fold, has all panels at full size.
  • Roll Fold
    A Roll Fold has four panels or more. The two outside panels are at full size. The panels on the inside are 1/16-inch narrower than each panel before it, with the inside panel being the smallest.
  • Gate Fold
    A Gate Fold has four panels. The two outside panels are at full size. The two inside panels should be 1/32-inch narrower.
  • Closed Gate Fold
    A Closed Gate Fold has four panels. The two outside panels are at full size. The two inside panels should be 1/16-inch narrower.

Download Our Paper Folding Guide Here!

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