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New Zealand Stationery Codes

Each letter and number has its own meaning, as set out in NZS 8132:1984 – Specification for school stationery:

Specifies the basic requirements for stationery for use in primary and post-primary schools. Covers a comprehensive range of stationery which provides a selection considered to be sufficiently wide for all classroom purposes. The range of sizes and number of leaves was based upon the results of discussions held between the Department of Education and teachers` organizations.

Update December 2019: There is now an undated warning on the standard's page.

This document has been withdrawn without replacement. You may wish to search for a more up to date equivalent.

Each code has three parts:

    • First code: Style ("product group") – notebook, exercise book, pad, etc.
    • Second code: Lines ("inner format") – what sort of lines are drawn on the pages.
    • Third code: Size ("finished size") – how big the item is.

Sometimes these codes don't describe a stationery item perfectly and variations of particular items are available. Some of these are listed under Notes.

BTW, "stationary" means not moving; exercise books are "stationery". Stationery is bought from a stationer.

When buying stationery at a start-of-year sale, be aware that more specialised items are unlikely to be part of the sale, and thus will not be reduced in price.

First Code: Style

The first number indicates what style the stationery is, such as a notebook, exercise book, pad, etc.

  1. Soft cover exercise book
  2. Hard cover exercise book
  3. Soft cover notebook
  4. Hard cover notebook
  5. Soft cover index notebook
  6. Hard cover indexed notebook
  7. Lecture pad, left bound with cover(?), punched, (75 leaves?)
  8. Spiral bound
  9. Top opening pad, unpunched
  10. Top opening pad, unpunched, newsprint
  11. Top opening pad, unpunched, typing, (75 leaves?)
  12. Loose leaf binder
  13. Unused?
  14. Loose leaf refill, left bound with no front cover, punched
  15. Subject dividers, punched
  16. Journal covers
  17. Drawing block, punched
  18. Drawing wallet
  19. Drawing folio
  20. Unused?
  21. Loose leaf refill, reinforced punched

Second Code: Lines

The middle letter indicates what sort of lines the pages have – whether the book or pad is ruled (lined), squared, blank, or a mixture of ruled and blank, and what spacing the lines are.

  1. Blank
  2. Ruled 7 mm
  3. Blank, cartridge paper (110 gsm)
  4. Double ledger
  5. Quad 7 mm
  6. Ruled 12 mm
  7. Ruled 25 mm
  8. Quad 10 mm
  9. Ruled 9 mm
  10. Quad 5 mm
  11. Quad 2 mm + 10 mm
  12. Science – one page ruled 7 mm (ruled 9 mm versions exist), one page blank
  13. Music staves
  14. Natural manila (eg, drawing wallets)
  15. Unused
  16. Accounting – ledger, ruled 7 mm
  17. Accounting – journal, 2 column analysis, ruled 7 mm
  18. Accounting – treble cash, 3 column analysis, ruled 7 mm
  19. Accounting – 8 column analysis, ruled 7 mm
  20. Accounting – 14 column analysis, ruled 7 mm
  21. Top 1/3 blank, bottom 2/3 ruled 12 mm
  22. Unruled bank paper (light weight)
  23. Unruled bond paper (80 gsm)
  24. Trunkboard
  25. Coverboard
  26. Coloured manila (eg, subject dividers)

Third Code: Size

The last number indicates the size of the item.

  1. Notebook bound at left
         90 mm x 155 mm (soft cover)
         100 mm x 165 mm (soft cover indexed)
         105 mm x 170 mm (indexed – soft cover or hard cover)
  2. 125 mm x 202 mm
  3. Notebook bound at top, 100 mm x 165-170 mm
  4. Small exercise book, 180 mm x 230 mm
  5. Standard exercise book, 205 mm x 255 mm
  6. F4, 210 mm x 330 mm (approximately foolscap folio size)
  7. A5, 148.5 mm x 210 mm
  8. A4, 210 mm x 297 mm
  9. A3, 420 mm x 297 mm
  10. A2, 594 mm x 420 mm


  • The only difference I've found between 7B8 and 14B8 appears to be the cover and the number of leaves.
  • A version of 1E5 (quad 7 mm exercise book) is available with pale pink margins at the left and middle of each page.
  • With paper weights, the abbreviation gsm is normally used for "grams per square metre" instead of the more technically correct g/m2 (or even g·m-2).
  • More information is available in the Wikipedia article New Zealand standard for school stationery.