Paper Folding MachinesPeople always need to deliver printed correspondence, such as letters, invoices, statements, pamphlets, announcements, or flyers through the mail. To do this they need to fit the paper documents into an envelope. While some larger envelopes can hold a sheet of paper without modification, most paper needs to be folded to fit in the envelope in which it will be delivered. Since there are multiple sizes and types of envelopes there are several different ways that paper can be folded. One of the most common ways to create a fold is by using a paper folding machine.

The most common types of paper folds are the Single Fold, the Letter Fold, the Z Fold, the Double Parallel Fold, the Double Parallel Fold, the Cross Fold, the Half Accordion Fold and the Gate Fold. Most paper folding machines are designed to accommodate these paper folds.

Single FoldThe Single Fold, also known as the Half Fold or the V Fold, is the most common type of paper fold. It is easy to make either manually or with a paper folding machine.  The Single Fold places a horizontal crease in the center of the paper, making a 50/50 area on each side of the fold. It gets its name, obviously, from the single crease, or the V-shape it makes as it unfolds.  This fold is generally used for cardstock correspondents, such as announcements, invitations, greeting cards or Thank You cards, which are sent in larger envelopes, such as Pocket, Wallet, or Banker envelopes.

Letter FoldThe Letter Fold, also known as the C Fold, is widely used by people and businesses when folding their stationary or correspondence. The Letter Fold places two creases in the sheet of paper, usually around the top 1/3rd and the bottom 1/3rd. The two end flaps close overlapping each other. The letter fold gets is name because it is the most used by people when sending letters, and it is reminiscent of a C-shape when open.  The Letter Fold accommodates most standard types of regular style envelopes.

Z FoldThe Z Fold, also known as the Accordion Fold, is another tri-fold style of paper fold. The Z Fold is also done by places two creases in the sheet of paper around the top 1/3rd and the bottom 1/3rd of the paper. However, instead of folding the two flaps in on each other, the folded flaps point and collapse in opposite directions forming a Z-shape. The folded paper can be pulled open and pushed closed on itself, reminiscent of an accordion. The Z Fold can also be used for most standard types of regular style envelopes.

Double Parallel FoldThe Double Parallel Fold is a type of paper fold that is used to fold oversized sheets of paper, such as 8½” x 14″ legal sized paper.  The Double Parallel Fold places three creases in the sheet, creating four parallel panels. The middle crease is folded so that the top crease sets into the bottom crease, creating a double V. The Double Parallel Fold is used to make oversized paper fit into regular style envelopes, open end envelopes and booklet envelopes.

Cross Fold (French Fold)The Cross Fold is sometimes also called the French Fold or the Right Fold. The Cross Fold is a unique paper fold, used to fit sheets of paper into smaller envelopes. The Cross Fold is made by making two creases through the middle of the sheet, one horizontal fold and the other a vertical fold so the creases make a cross shape. The paper is then folded so it resembles two tents combing at a central point.

Half Accordian FoldThe Half Accordion Fold, also known as the Fold-out or colloquially as the Engineering Fold, is very similar to the he Z Fold.  The Half Accordion Fold involves placing two creases in the sheet of paper, but instead of making three equal panels, one of the folds is placed either closer to the top or lower to the bottom, so one panel is much smaller than the other two.  The Half Accordion Fold is often used to make sure mailing information lines up with the panes in a windowed envelope.

Gate FoldThe Gate Fold is similar to the Letter Fold. Two folds are made toward the top and the bottom of the sheet, and both panels are folded toward each other. But instead of overlapping the panels as the Letter Fold does, the Gate Fold brings both the edges together, so that it opens and closes like a gate. This a common fold used for announcements, invitations, ads and other cardstock products sent in Pocket, Wallet, or Banker envelopes.

Quickly creating a fold is best done on a paper folding machine. Office Zone offers a great selection of paper folding machines here.