31 October 2012

Printing Your Own Diary Inserts - Hints and Tips

Since Ray and I created our own diary inserts it has been great to see the number of people that have downloaded them and who are using them is increasing each month. People mention them in blogs, we see them in pictures on blogs, we get links back to the pages as well, which is all great.

But occasionally we do get some messages from frustrated downloaders who for what ever reason just can't get the inserts to print out correctly. It is not easy via an email or message to be able to know exactly what the issue is, with millions of combinations of printers and PC set ups it would be impossible to say what the issue was instantly. But I hope to give you some of the main issues you might encounter. 
  • The files we provide will work on a Windows PC or a Mac or a Linux PC for the pdf files Or any type of machine that can read and print a PDF file.
  • The Word files we provide will work on a Windows PC or a Mac. In fact, Ray uses a Windows PC and I use a Mac and we have never encountered any issues when we have been sending the files back and forth between us, or rather accessing them in our shared Dropbox folder.
  • The diary insert Word files will not work in Pages on the Mac, there are far too many formatting codes and mail merge codes for Pages to make sense of. The static files which are ordinary templates in the files area should work ok, but no guarantees. I use Office 2011 for Mac to create all the templates these days.
  • To print any of the pages you need a printer that can handle a variety of paper sizes with a manual feed tray if you are printing on to personal size paper.  This post will help you set up your pc/printer to be able to print the files on personal size paper
  • If you are printing A5 pages on A4 paper, this post will help you with the set up of your PC/Printer
  • If your printer does not have a 'Duplex' printing facility. You will need to print first one side and then the other. The easiest way is to print all 'Odd pages' first, then put the paper stack back in the feed tray and then print all 'Even pages'  You might need to experiment to make sure there are no issues with the page order, some printers print from the last page to the first page, others the other way around.
  • If you are printing the PDF files do not scale the pages otherwise they will be smaller than Filofax page sizes. The notes on printing here will assist you in checking and altering this setting.
  • All of our designs are created to use European A4 size paper or Filofax Personal size paper. This isn't a common size in the USA/Canada, but it is available from Amazon.com and we would recommend using the right size paper rather than trying to alter the designs to use US size paper.  A4 is 297 mm x 210 mm (11.69 inches x 8.27 inches) A5 is 210 mm x 148 mm. You can of course cut down 11 x 8.5 inch paper to A5 size. 
  • Our designs use a light grey for most of the lines, we personally found this more pleasing on the eye and matches the the sort of design detail that Filofax and other diary makers use on their designs. However, the printed page will depend on your own printer in terms of how light or dark these lines come out. If the end result isn't to your liking you might be able to vary the density of the colour from within your printer settings, but we can't give you details on how to do this.... please consult the manual or the help files that came with your printer.  Alternatively you can go in to the source files and change the format of the lines and re-merge the files.
  • Our designs are all created for a week starting on a Monday, we can't change this to Sunday, Saturday or any other day of the week without a major redesign of the files.
  • Our Personal on A4 pages are printed at 2 pages per side because to get the right page to print on the front and rear of the page is complicated enough without the added complication of the the moving of the pages as you progress through the file. Also it doesn't save that many sheets of paper going from from 4 pages per sheet to 6 pages per sheet.

    Additionally not all printers will let you have margins as small as 6 mm which is what is required to be able to print 3 personal pages side by side on A4 paper.
I hope these notes help more of you use our diary inserts.


  1. Did you just read my mind? I've been trying to figure this out all night. Is there a blank template for - Personal Pages using Pre-punched A4 Filofax Computer Paper? Unfortunately my printer won't take personal sized paper, so I am trying this. Thank you.

    1. Hi Jennifer
      I will have a go at producing a blank template, but I think I will need to also do some instructions because of the format of the sheets and the way different printers can print close to margins of the paper etc.

      Give me a day or two to think about it and produce something.


  2. Thanks for this Steve. I've just got into printing my own and really appreciate all the hard work you and Ray have put into this. All this info goes to making it an easier and pleasant experience.

  3. second time lucky just done a post and it wouldn't let me...moving on
    Amazing post will be taking notes for next years printing . It may be useful for people to know how to cancel their printing so for whatever reason it goes wrong at least they aren't losing so much paper

  4. Thank you so much.. I want to do this and have tried unsuccessfully in the past. A lot of great info!

  5. Just wanted to say.... I think you and Ray are utter stars for all the work you've put into these and how much I am enjoying using my TM a5 5 line diary,perfect format for me here. I am just so thankful to have found a wonderful new stationery and PC based hobby and such a lovely community, based here @Philofaxy!!

  6. Thanks so much to you both for all your hard work and amazing ideas - you've creating amazing things, and I'm loving using them. I owe you an apology as one of those who asked for a different start day, without having any notion of what that would entail, and I want to say how grateful I am for all that you've provided. Amazing!

  7. Thanks for this. Is there an easy way to change the layout to a horizontal view, the same as you have for the personal size? Also I don't seem to be able to change the font in one hit. I have to select a 'page' at a time. New to all this so any help gratefully received.

    1. Hi Donna
      To make major changes like that, you need to edit the source files and then reemerge the files to create a new insert covering 12 months.

      To learn how to do this take a look at the videos on the Diary inserts page above.


  8. thanks a lot its very power full daily


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