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I've got drawings and other art on 18x24 inch and larger format papers.

How can I inexpensively crop these papers so that the edges are straight and the corners perfectly right angled? Professionally so?

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  • How much do you need to crop off the edges? A couple centimeters, a couple inches, etc.?
    – Erica
    Oct 13 '19 at 23:07
  • How frequent a requirement would this be? For example there are large format paper cutters, but if it is a one-time need for a few sheets, you might not want to invest in something big that you also need a place to store.
    – fixer1234
    Oct 13 '19 at 23:59
  • I need to crop about 60 sheets. Amount cropped up to 12 inches.
    – kevin
    Oct 14 '19 at 3:38
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The simple DIY way

Use a ruler along the line to be cut. Use a cutter.


The more professional way

Use a paper guillotine.

paper guillotine.


The advantage of the ruler + cutter is that you can cut lines anywhere, anyhow, even holes. The guillotine will help you get cuts perpendicular to one edge, and the cuts must start at one edge of the sheet.

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  • Some of these have a clamp to prevent the paper from curling or otherwise moving as you cut. I've seen one of these that can cut as many as 50 sheets at once, but it also had a very heavy duty clamp and cutting arm. Oct 17 '19 at 20:31
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That's not too big. You may be able to do it with an A3 rotary trimmer, if you cut the ends off first (A3 is 420×297 mm or 11.7×16.5 inches). These are normally slightly oversized (as is the example I linked), and may be sold under other names in places that don't use A-series paper, possibly with a different printed scale but the same overall dimensions. These aren't expensive, and have edges to square up against.

For the finest work I'd trim one sheet at a time, but you can do 5-10 sheets at a time. Mine is only A4, and I mostly use it on photos. With practice you can get the cut in exactly the right place - no photo on the bit trimmed off, no border on the photo.

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  • Generically, these are called "mat cutters". There's a wide variety, size, and quality to be found. I've seen them get as big as 3-4 ft (900-1300 mm) wide, and I'm sure there are larger ones around, not that many people need them that large. Oct 17 '19 at 20:29
  • @computercarguy all the "mat cutters" I can see are bigger, more versatile (e.g. bevels) and much more expensive than the rotary trimmers I can find (Rotatrim is a genericized trademark)
    – Chris H
    Oct 17 '19 at 20:38
  • Googling "mat cutter", I see at least one from OfficeMax/Depot that is less than $20 and cuts vertically. Going to that listing shows 2 others than are also less than $20. Granted, if you get one that is specifically for mat cutting, it'll likely have that bevel cut you mention. Oct 17 '19 at 20:54
  • @computercarguy, I think I see the issue. "Mat cutter" as a term extends to cheap models your side of the Atlantic but not mine, where our cheap option tends to be called some variant on Rotatrim (the brand we all used in school etc. in the 80s). Another slight difference - all the mat cutters I've seen online cut in a groove, but rotary trimmers cut on an edge.
    – Chris H
    Oct 18 '19 at 5:36
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    Ah, I see now this is a case of different countries calling the same things by different names. I don't doubt your terminology is at least as correct there are mine is here. I think we all sometimes forget to think globally on sites like this. Oct 18 '19 at 16:01

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