What Are Your Measurements?
Estimating Paper Volumes
By Bob Sweat


This is meant as helpful information for attorneys, paralegals and anyone who needs to estimate paper volumes. Yes folks, there’s still paper out there that needs to be scanned. Someone is always guessing at it and usually underestimating. Here's a quick and easy way to get a better guesstimate. While it may result in more pages estimated than actual, it will at least will keep you from having to make the dreaded call to your client for more money as a result of underestimating.

Here's the methodology. A ream of paper is 2 inches thick and contains 500 pages. Do the math and you get 250 pages per inch. If you have a standard letter/legal sized box it measures 12 inches wide x 15 inches long. If the box is full end to end, take 15 inches times 250 pages per inch and you get 3,750 pages. If the box is not full, then place your hand in behind the documents and gently squeeze them toward one end and measure the number of inches of paper. For example, if you have 9.5 inches you have approx 2,375, and so on.

This applies to pages that are ”straight run” without any binding elements. If you have folders and lots of binding elements (staples, clips, etc), use a lesser number like 230 pages per inch to allow for the extra thickness of the folders and binding elements.

If the binding elements are heavy, drop to 220 pages per inch. While it isn’t an exact science, it will give you a decent estimate of the volume. You can use this formula to measure the amount of paper in file cabinets, file drawers, stacks of papr, etc.  Don't foregt that if some or all of the pages are " duplex " printed it can dramatically increase the volume.

Bob Sweat, Project Manager,
Open Door Solutions, LLP, Dallas, TX

Post Script:
A client of mine, a lawyer,  recently said he had 10 boxes with approx 1,800 pages each. When I got them, I applied the above formula and estimated 27,000 pages, a great deal more than he had thought. The project ended up with 24,464 pages scanned. Using my numbers we came in well under budget and the client is never angry when you do that.

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