Foolscap paper is larger than A4 paper with a total area of 114.75 inches as opposed to A4's 96.94 inches, notes the Business Dictionary and Innovate Us websites. Foolscap paper has dimensions of 8 1/2 inches by 13 1/2 inches, while A4 paper is only 8 1/4 inches by 11 3/4 inches.
Foolscap paper was the paper size that was traditionally used throughout Europe, and especially Britain, from the 15th century on until A4 became the internationally standardized size of paper. Its exact measurements are 216 millimeters by 343 millimeters. A full foolscap sheet of paper is actually 17 inches by 13 1/2 inches, but the foolscap folio, which is more common and typically just called foolscap, is a foolscap sheet of paper cut in half. Foolscap got its name from a watermark of fools caps and bells that traditionally appeared on the paper, and the paper is often lined to aid in legible writing.
A4 paper is officially defined as paper measuring 210 millimeters by 297 millimeters, notes the Business Dictionary. The paper is an internationally recognized standard size of paper, as adopted by the International Standards Organization. While this size of paper is the most common size used throughout the world, the United States more commonly uses letter-sized paper, which measured 8 1/2 by 11 inches.