What is a Legal Size Envelope?

Legal size envelopes are an important office supply that is commonly used for various purposes. Whether you are sending legal documents, contracts, or business correspondence, understanding legal size envelopes is essential. In this comprehensive guide, we will explore what legal size envelopes are, the different types available, key considerations when choosing them, where to buy them, how to properly seal them, and additional tips and considerations. So let's dive in!

What are Legal Size Envelopes?

Legal size envelopes are envelopes that are designed to hold legal-size documents, which measure 8.5 x 14 inches in the United States. These envelopes are larger than standard letter-size envelopes and provide enough space to securely hold legal documents without folding or bending them.

Legal size envelopes are typically made from durable paper or cardstock and come in various styles. They have a rectangular shape and usually feature an open end that can be sealed to protect the contents inside.

Types of Legal Size Envelopes

There are several types of legal size envelopes available to cater to different needs. Some common types include:

  • Window envelopes: These envelopes have a transparent window that allows the address on the enclosed document to show through, eliminating the need for addressing the envelope separately.
  • Booklet envelopes: These envelopes open on the longer side and are commonly used for mailing catalogs, booklets, and other marketing materials.
  • Expansion envelopes: These envelopes have expandable sides or gussets, allowing them to accommodate thicker documents or multiple pages.

These are just a few examples, and there are many other types of legal size envelopes available to meet specific needs.

Materials and Paper Weight

Legal size envelopes are typically made from various materials, including paper, cardstock, and recycled materials. The choice of material depends on factors such as budget, desired durability, and environmental considerations.

When it comes to paper weight, legal size envelopes are available in different options, usually measured in pounds or grams per square meter (gsm). The higher the paper weight, the thicker and sturdier the envelope will be.

Key Considerations When Choosing Legal Size Envelopes

Purpose of Use

One of the primary considerations when choosing legal size envelopes is the purpose for which you will be using them. Different purposes may require different features or specifications.

For example, if you are using legal size envelopes for business correspondence, you may want to consider options that offer a professional look and allow for easy customization. On the other hand, if you are mailing legal documents, you may prioritize security features such as tamper-evident seals or security tinting.

Printing Requirements

If you plan to print on your legal size envelopes, it's essential to consider compatibility with different printing methods, such as inkjet or laser printers. Some envelopes may be better suited for specific printing methods, ensuring optimal print quality and preventing ink smudging or smearing.

Additionally, if you require customization, such as printing your company logo or specific designs on the envelopes, you may want to explore the options for single-color or full-color printing.

Seal Type

The seal type of legal size envelopes can play a significant role in convenience and security. Common seal types include gummed seals, self-seals, and peel-and-seal.

Gummed seals require moistening before sealing and provide a secure and tamper-evident closure. Self-seals have a pre-applied adhesive that eliminates the need for licking or moistening. Peel-and-seal envelopes have a strip that can be peeled off to reveal an adhesive surface, making sealing quick and easy.

Security Features

Depending on the sensitivity of the documents you are mailing, you may want to consider legal size envelopes with additional security features.

Security tinting is a common feature that prevents the contents of the envelope from being read through the paper. Tamper-evident seals leave a visible mark if the envelope has been opened, providing an extra layer of security. Watermarking is another security feature that adds a subtle pattern or logo on the paper, making it difficult to counterfeit.

Where to Buy Legal Size Envelopes

Office Supply Stores

If you prefer to shop in person, popular office supply stores like Staples, Office Depot, and others offer legal size envelopes in various styles and quantities. You can visit their physical stores to browse through the options and make your purchase.

Online Retailers

If convenience and a wider range of options are more important to you, online retailers like Amazon and Uline offer legal size envelopes for purchase. You can easily compare prices, read customer reviews, and have the envelopes delivered to your doorstep.

How to Properly Seal Legal Size Envelopes

Step-by-step guide to sealing legal size envelopes

Sealing legal size envelopes properly ensures that the contents are secure during transit. Here is a step-by-step guide to sealing legal size envelopes:

  1. Moisten the gummed seal: If you're using gummed seal envelopes, dampen the adhesive strip on the envelope flap using a damp sponge or lick it gently.
  2. Apply pressure evenly: Fold the envelope flap over the opening and press down firmly to ensure a secure seal. Make sure to apply pressure evenly to avoid wrinkles or uneven sealing.

Tips for avoiding common sealing mistakes

To ensure a successful seal and avoid any issues, consider the following tips:

  • Check for proper alignment before sealing: Make sure that the flaps are properly aligned with the envelope opening before sealing. This will prevent any misalignment or improper sealing.
  • Ensure the envelope is free from excess moisture: If you're using gummed seal envelopes, make sure to remove any excess moisture from the adhesive strip before sealing. Excess moisture can cause the seal to weaken or come undone.

Additional Tips and Considerations

USPS Guidelines and Regulations

If you plan to mail legal size envelopes, it's important to familiarize yourself with the guidelines and regulations set by the United States Postal Service (USPS). These guidelines include proper addressing techniques, use of barcodes, and postage requirements. Adhering to these guidelines ensures smooth delivery and avoids any unnecessary delays or issues.

Storage and Organization

Storing legal size envelopes properly can help maintain their quality and make them easily accessible when needed. Consider these tips for storage and organization:

  • Store legal size envelopes in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight to prevent discoloration or damage.
  • Consider using dividers or storage boxes to separate different types of legal size envelopes and keep them organized.

By following these storage and organization tips, you can maximize the lifespan of your legal size envelopes and easily locate them when needed.

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