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Pushing the Envelope Beyond Ordinary

Envelope Terms – What’s a Vertical Window?

Posted by Jerry Velona on May 14, 2012 12:19:00 PM

Like many products, envelopes have a list of special terms to describe various parts and aspects of the manufacturing process.  In previous posts, I’ve explained the difference between open-end and open -side envelopes (the former has the flap on the shorter dimension, the latter on the longer dimension) and other descriptive terms which can cause some head-scratching.

One of the concepts that many buyers find confusing is how to properly measure a window in general and a vertical window in particular.

In order to provide window specs in a way that your envelope vendor will understand, the first thing to keep in mind is the proper orientation of the envelope to be measured.  Much of the confusion in establishing proper specifications for quoting have to do with the fact that certain descriptions like, “the flap is on the side” are relative. It depends on how you’re holding and looking at the envelope. 

So, the first step in measuring a window is to hold the envelope so that the flap is facing toward the sky. When measuring the length and width of the window itself, always state the “north/south” dimension first.  So, for instance on a standard #10 window envelope, the window specs measure and should be described, “1-1/8” x 4-1/2”.

This gets a little tricky when you’re dealing with what we call a “vertical window”. A vertical window is where the longer dimension runs in that “north/south” direction. Remember, you have to be looking at the envelope with the flap pointing north or straight up.  The best example of this is a standard 9 x 12 window envelope. This is a common, stock item for most envelope companies. These envelopes are booklet-style or open-side (different ways to describe the same thing).  The size of the window is 1-3/4” x 4-1/2”.  However when you hold the envelope with flap up top, you’ll notice that the longer dimension of the window actually runs in a vertical direction from the bottom toward the top; hence, it’s name.

So, when you are providing specs for a quote, you would state the window specs with the longer, vertical dimension first; i.e.  “4-1/2” x 1-3/4”.

The second step in specifying a window for quote is to provide the position on the envelope. That is done by measuring in from the left side of the envelope to where the window begins. Then, you do the same thing from the bottom of the envelope to where the window begins.  Once again, this needs to be done by holding the envelope with the flap pointing up toward the sky.  On the standard 9 x 12 window envelope, the window is positioned  2-1/2” from the left side and 7/8” from the bottom.

When this envelope is actually used, the 8 ½ x 11 sheet of paper that contains the mailing address that shows through the window will be oriented in a portrait manner rather than landscape.  That means that when you read the address, the flap will actually be on your right.  However, the manner of measuring and stating the window size and position should be consistent so that everyone is speaking the language at the quoting stage. That makes it easier and prevents possible problems when the envelope is produced.

Topics: elite envelope, measuring window envelopes, Booklet Envelopes, Open Side, Open End, Envelope terms, 9 x 12 window envelopes, vertical window envelopes

How to Measure an Envelope

Posted by Jerry Velona on Jun 2, 2011 2:18:00 PM

Aside from the fact that many otherwise intelligent adults these days seem to have a problem using a ruler (don’t get me started on this one!), there are some rules for measuring and identifying dimensions on regular, expansion and window envelopes which can make things a little tricky. Here are a few tips to keep in mind:

Generally, envelopes will never be identified by a unit of measure smaller than one-eighth of an inch. The reason for that is there is a tolerance of plus or minus one-sixteenth of an inch in all manufactured envelopes. So, if you’re measuring an envelope and the width seems to measure close to say, 4-1/16 of an inch, the envelope will actually either measure 4 inches or 4-1/8 of an inch. In other words, it was manufactured to either one of those sizes and because of the tolerance, it folded slightly larger or smaller. You would most likely go with whichever one happens to be closer; i.e. you’d round up or down. If you’re unsure which way to go, you could check on the size of the insert and use that as a guide.

Measuring a window envelope has a certain protocol. On a regular horizontal window (where the longer dimension of the window runs in the same direction as the longer dimension of the envelope), you’d measure and state the smaller dimension (width) first: e.g. 1 x 3 ½ . To measure the position of the window, measure the distance from the LEFT side of the envelope to where the window begins and then do the same thing from the BOTTOM of the envelope up to the closest edge of the window. So, you might say that 1 x 3 ½ window measures 7/8 of an inch from the left and ½ of an inch from the bottom. Sometimes if the window is placed closer to the top of the envelope than the bottom or closer to the right side of the envelope rather than the left, it is assumed that the measurement should be taken from the top or from the right. However, that is not correct from the envelope company’s point of view so even in those cases, it’s always best to measure the window positions from the left side and bottom side of the envelope.

Measuring an expansion envelope can be tricky because of the expansion panel (also known as a “gusset”). On these types of envelopes there are three dimensions; width (the shorter dimension), length (the longer dimension) and thickness (measured when the envelope is fully expanded on all sides).

expansion envelope diagram Elite Envelope & Graphics

The easiest way to correctly measure an expansion envelope is to fully extend the side (expansion) panels all around. By doing that you create a small, three-dimensional “box” which shows you where the true edges are on all sides including the top where the flap is located. Before the envelope is fully expanded, there are multiple score lines especially at the top of the envelope. It’s very common for these types of envelopes to be measured incorrectly by selecting the wrong score as the true edge. Puffing out or expanding the envelope solves this problem. You can now see where the actual edges are and can measure the length and width accurately. Remember that the expansion is always the same on all sides. A typical expansion envelope measurement might be expressed as 9 x 12 x 2.

V Bottom diagram Elite Envelope & GraphicsBox bottom diagram Elite Envelope & Graphics

The only other curveball on this is whether the bottom of the envelope is a “V-Bottom” or a “box-bottom”. V bottoms are shaped like a V and don’t lay flat unlike a box bottom. If you are measuring an expansion envelope with a V bottom, you can get the true expansion dimension from the sides and the top.

On my next post I’ll get into some of the unique terminology used in the envelope world and what it all means. In the meantime, let me know if you found this explanation to be useful.

Topics: Measuring Envelopes, How to meaure and envelope, measuring window envelopes, expansion envelopes, measuring expansion envelopes

Yet Another Blog Post

From Jerry Velona - co-owner,

Elite Envelope & Graphics, Inc.

Jerry offers pertinent, often useful information on envelope converting and printing, web printing, direct mail, the post office, songs that have to do with mail and letters, digital overload and much more!

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