Wide ruled (or Legal ruled) paper has 11⁄32 in (8.7 mm) spacing between horizontal lines, with a vertical margin drawn about 1 1⁄4inches (32 mm) from the left-hand edge of the page. It is commonly used by American children in grade school, as well as by those with larger handwriting.
There are many diverse types of lined notebook paper, and each one goes by a different name—college ruled among them. To help tell them apart, you might have to break out a ruler.
Previous to we proceed any further, some historical background is in order. Paper that’s printed with evenly-spaced horizontal lines across its surface is called “ruled” paper. For centuries, these lines had to be drawn by hand. But in 1770, the game changed. In June of that year, inventor John Tetlow patented a device that the British government described as a “machine for ruling paper for music and other purposes.”
Henceforth, ruled paper has evolved quite a bit. Here in North America, manufacturers distinguish three main varieties:
The first of these is called wide ruled paper, which comes with large gaps between the individual lines. In general, these blank divides are 11/32nds of an inch (approximately 8.7 millimeters) across or wider.
The second, medium ruled—or “college ruled”—paper. Sheets of this type have slightly smaller interlined gaps of only 9/32nds of an inch .
And the last, there are the aptly called narrow ruled sheets. If you have a hard time reading tiny letters, this sort of stationery isn’t for you. A meager 8/32nds of an inch (.25 inches or 6.35 millimeters) or fewer separate the lines on narrow-ruled paper.
By and large, wide ruled paper is the preferred choice of college professors. It’s also common sight in kindergarten, first, second, and third grade classrooms and at school. The reason for this is easy enough: petite kids who are just learning how to spell their names usually scrawl it in very huge letters, so they require paper that has a lot of space between the lines.