How to Calculate Column Inches

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To determine how much to charge a customer for an ad placed in a newspaper, the paper generally charges by the column inch. The column inch is a unit of measure that expresses how much of a page an ad will take up. The size of a column inch can vary from paper to paper, depending on the size of the paper used and the number of columns printed.

Count the number of columns the ads takes up across the page. The size of a column will vary from paper to paper.

Measure the length of the page that the column takes up in inches from top to bottom.


Multiply the number of columns across by the number of inches down to find the number of column inches. For example, if the ad measures 3 columns across and 4 inches down, you would multiply 3 by 4 to find the ad takes up 12 column inches.