Questions? Call Us!

(781) 961-1800

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

Booklet envelopes, Catalog envelopes and other curious terms

Posted by Jerry Velona on Jun 8, 2011 11:59:00 AM

Envelopes come in all shapes and sizes but like many specialty items, they have their own descriptive language. I’ve always been interested in how these phrases came about. I’m in the process of researching the etymology of envelope lingo and hopefully can report back on a future post when I get some hard information. In the meantime, here’s a quick primer on some of the most common envelope terms and what they mean.

Commercial envelope sizes – Probably the most common envelope size is the standard number 10. This envelope measures 4 1/8 inches in width and 9 ½ inches in length. So of course it’s called a #10! This is the envelope that is used when you are mailing a standard letter-size sheet of paper because when you fold that in thirds, it fits perfectly in a #10 envelope. The next most popular size would be the standard number 9. Care to guess what those measurements are? Yes, that’s right: 3-7/8 x 8-7/8. I guess whoever came up with these designations decided that using whole numbers that are close to the dimensions was easier all around.

This type of rounding is consistent but eccentric throughout all other sizes that are referred to by a number sign. A #6 ¾ envelope measures 3 5/8 x 6 ½. A #7 ¾ envelope measures 3 7/8 x 7 ½. Why not call them respectively a #7 or #8 envelope? Well there’s already a #7 which measures 3 ¾ x 6 ¾ so that one is taken. A #12 envelope measures 4 ¾ x 11. I hear you all saying, “but Jerry, that should be a #11 right?” Wrong, amigo! There’s already a #11 envelope and that one measures 4 ½ x 10 3/8. Oh yeah, the #14 envelope measures 5 x 11 ½. Go figure.

Large envelopes – Envelopes measuring 6 x 9 or over are usually broken down into two types based on the location of the flap. When the flap is on the shorter dimension side, the envelope is referred to as an Open End or Catalog style. (1st diagram below) When the flap is on the longer dimension side, it’s called an Open Side or Booklet style envelope. (2nd diagram below). Those terms are interchangeable by style. Again this is somewhat arbitrary. Someone, somewhere (I’m going to try to track them down!) apparently decided that the long dimension is a “side” and the short dimension is the “end”; not to mention the curious distinction between booklet and catalog. I mean, is it OK to put a catalog into a booklet style envelope and vice versa? I say it is although some more law-abiding than me may disagree.

Open End or Catalog Envelope, Elite Envelope & GraphicsOpen Side or Booklet Style Envelopes, Elite Envelope & Graphics

Seriously, I guess that it’s necessary to have some type of agreed-upon standard as a basis for discussion which is how these came about. Anyone who has spoken to a customer trying to describe their envelope saying, “well, the flap is on the top” can understand the need for that. “Top” and “bottom” are relative terms. Open Side and Open End are not.

If you find all of this confusing and hard to remember, you’re not alone. That's why Elite Envelope has put together a handy Envelope Buying Guide which lists all the standard sizes and all sorts of other useful reference information for those that buy and sell envelopes. It’s compact and can fit right in your desk blotter so you can take it out and sound like an expert when you’re talking to a customer or prospect.

Comment on this article and give me your address and I’ll send you one.

Topics: elite envelope, Booklet Envelopes, Open Side, Open End, Catalog Envelopes, Booklet style envelopes, Commercial size envelopes, #10 envelope measurements, #9 envelope measurements

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!

(Non-spam) Comments always appreciated.  Spread it around!


Subscribe to Email Updates

Recent Posts

Posts by Topic

see all