The size of your thesis

A4, A5, B5, what to choose?

Of course it is possible to produce your dissertations in every size you would like, however some sizes are more commonly used than others. In this article, we will tell you more about the possible choices you have considering your thesis size. Furthermore, we will tell you about the thesis ‘standard’ which actually is not that standard at all.

Paper sizes in general

The most commonly used paper size is A4, used by everyone who has a printer at home. The size A4 is part of the A-ratio. The figure below displays nicely how this ratio has been determined and what paper sizes are part of it. The basis is an A0, which is equal to exactly 1 squared metre. The next size in line is always half of the previous one.

Equal to the principle of the A-ratio, paper sizes also come in a B-ratio which has a different starting point. A B0 paper has a short side of exactly 1 metre. Subsequently, the same ratio of taking halves has been applied which leaves us with a number of sizes exactly in the middle of the A sizes.

Most common size for your dissertation

The paper size that is most commonly used for dissertations is 170 by 240 millimetres, which most printing companies refer to as B5. As could be seen in the overview, B5 is actually 176 by 250 millimetres. The reason the ‘thesis B5’ is different from a normal B5 finds its cause in the offset printing. Formerly, all dissertations were printed on printing plates which have standard sizes. To be able to use these as efficiently as possible, the size of a dissertation has been slightly changed. This decreased the prices of printing your thesis and resulted in less paper loss. In all the time that this standard has been practised, the business has never changed it.

Sizes during production

For most people, it is common practice to first choose the paper size and then print this paper. For a printing company, this is a little different. Your dissertation is printed on large sheets or rolls, which are only cut to the right size after everything has been printed. The advantage of ‘thesis B5’ is no longer applicable, but still this size has been promoted as standard by printing companies.

Different thesis sizes

In almost every case, the ‘thesis B5’ size is used when printing dissertations. The only two alternatives which have come across our designers are A5 or a squared book. An A5-sized thesis has the same ratio as a dissertation in B5 but is just a little bit smaller. A squared thesis will of course have sides of equal lengths.


If you would like to print statements together with your dissertation, we will print these for you on a separate paper. Often, the size A5 is chosen for this purpose. As can be concluded from the explanation above, this paper will fit into your dissertation neatly. If you will also choose for the ‘thesis B5’ size for your statements, this paper will stick out a little along the edge of your book as it is not possible to stick a loose paper completely into the binding of the book.

Make sure that you will consider the size of your dissertation in time as it is important to already apply this choice in the lay-out of your thesis. If you would like to differ from the ‘thesis B5’ size, please let us know in your application.


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