How to Divide a Sheet of Paper Evenly—No Matter the Number!

As a student (and sort-of-control-freak), I’ve come across SEVERAL situations where I need to divide a sheet of paper evenly, whether it be to draw lines…cut into slices…fold, etc.

When you take a crap load of STEM classes, and draw graph after graph, this is a very useful skill to have. Here’s how to master it. It’s a simple method…but I’ve never seen any colleague use it. Maybe it’s a hidden method….I’m not sure where I learned it. But nonetheless, I will be happy to share; making the world a little bit organized is always a win for me!

As I said before, I’ve never seen anyone do this in person (but I’m also kind of socially awkward). If you have used it, I’d love to know if there are any other ways to perfect the method. If you haven’t, I’ve created a step by step tutorial with pictures!

IMG_1638

You will need…

  • A straight edge (to draw lines)
  • Measuring tape OR a ruler (a ruler would knock out 2 uses)
  • A pen
  • Sheet of paper (obviously)
IMG_1627
For some reason, I couldn’t find my ruler. So…I had to get a little creative and use a hole puncher as a straight edge. But you get the point.

Step One: Decide on how many columns or rows you’ll need to divide the sheet into. This method will work for virtually any number. To prove that point, I chose to divide my example paper into 11 sections (on the 8″ side…so no, I’m not cheating!).

Unfortunately, there is a little math involved. But it shouldn’t be hard to do with a ruler infant of you.

Look at a number on your ruler that can be easily divided by the number of sections you need.

For example, I needed 11 sections…so, the 11″ mark is perfect for me.

I set my tape measure to the 11" mark! *11/11=1
I set my tape measure to the 11″ mark!
*11/11=1

You might need to get a little bit fancier with the math if you need less than 8 sections or greater than 14 sections on an 8×11″ sheet (math is one of my strong suits—if you want to know why that is, ask me! For now, I will not get into that.)

Here are more examples to help with that:

  • If you need 3 sections…you might use the 12″ marker (hash every 4 inches). *12/3=4
  • If you need 5 sections…you might use the 10″ marker (hash every 2 inches). *10/5=2
  • If you need 15 sections…you might use 11.25″ marker (hash every 3/4″). *11.25/15=0.75
  • If you need 20 sections…you could also use the 10″ marker (hash every 1/2″). *10/20=0.50

It’s actually not as hard as it seems. You can virtually choose any number between 8 and 14, divide it by however many sections you need, and then make hashes at every point. This is the hardest part, I promise.

Step Two Screen Shot 2015-07-11 at 12.48.05 AM

Take your ruler/tape measure and put “0” at the top left corner of your sheet.

Now, you want the end (the marker you picked on the ruler) of your ruler/tape measure land perfectly along the right end border of the sheet. NOT the bottom off the sheet!

It may not look exactly like mine, but as long as it’s on the right hand edge, you’re good! (Even the corner is acceptable, just NOT the bottom!)

Step Three

Make hash marks at every point that you divided the ruler into.  IMG_1634

In my case, because my marker was the 11″ mark and I needed 11 sections, I was able to hash every inch easily. I’m hoping that step one may be able to clear up any confusion. If not, please let me know. It’s harder to explain than it really is.

Step Four

The hardest part is over. You just have to do it again!

Flip the page upside down and repeat steps 1-3. This will make sure that you have 2 points to guide your line drawing. You don’t necessarily have to do this if you think you can make perfectly straight lines at a perfect 90-degree angle!

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Step Five

Now all you have to do is draw your lines by connecting these hashes with a straight edge and a pen/pencil. Simple as that.

Viola, I have 11 evenly divided sections. What about you?

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While this seemed to have taken a lot of explanation, it is truly a method that takes just a TEENY bit of practice and then you will never have uneven sections again. It’s incredibly easy to pick up one, and takes only 2-3 minutes to complete once you’ve gotten used to it.

Also, once you master this technique, you’ll be able to manipulate it in your favor—using any size sheet of paper or box you draw on a sheet for a graph. I guess now I’ve let all my HS friends in on my little secret.

I hope that you’ve learned a great tip that becomes useful to you in the future!

**Please ignore the left/right mix-up written on the pages…they may even be too blurry to see. I totally get those mixed up too often (silly me!).

Thanks for reading,

Yin

Do you have a better method? Do I have any more explaining to do? Did you try this method? How did it work out for you? Let me know!

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