What is the difference between a "leaf" and a "page?"

Answered by Suzanne Morgan, founder, Print Buyers Online.com

One of your recent Tips of the Day mentioned that one sheet of paper is called a leaf and that one leaf has two pages; one on the front and one on the back. I understand a leaf is one sheet of paper, but if it prints on only one side is it still considered two pages? A printer once told me that the number of pages refers to how many pages actually get ink. Is this correct?


Think of "leafs" as being synonymous with "sheets" and "pages" being synonymous with "sides."

For example, when thinking of a single sheet of 8 1/2" x 11" paper, things are fairly simple; it prints either one sided or two sided. The need for more clarification comes when dealing with booklets or catalogs with higher page counts. If you have a 12 page, 8 1/2" x 11" (finished size) booklet, it is really 3 sheets (or leafs) of 11" x 17" sized paper. There are 3 SHEETS or LEAFS and 12 PAGES or SIDES in the finished book (even if you don’t print on each page/side - you still have that many pages/sides).

Each side of paper in the folded, finished book is considered a page. Each sheet of paper is considered a leaf.
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