17 March 2014

Deskfax

You might not have heard of the Deskfax size of Filofax organiser before. Filofax stopped making organisers in this size some years ago, but they can still supply inserts in this size.

So what is different about the Deskfax? Well it has 9 rings and uses paper that is between A5 and A4 in size. The paper is B5 size at 176x250 mm (6.9 × 9.8 inches) B5 size have been around a few years.... since the French revolution in the late 1700's in fact!

Here is how the page sizes compare:


The blue sheet is A4 (297x210mm), the green sheet is A5 (210x148mm) and the white ruled page is the Deskfax(B5) page (250x176) and as you can see the layout of the nine holes in the page.

Now you know how much I love the topic of 'hole spacing' yes I need to get out more! But here is how holes are spaced on a Deskfax page.


As you can see the holes are spaced in same spacing as a Filofax Personal page spacing. This is good news because a Filofax Personal punch can be used to punch the holes by first punching one end of the page, then flipping it over and doing the other holes with the central sent of three being used to line up the second page punching.

Also as you can see you can add personal pages with Deskfax pages in a Deskfax organiser without folding up corners. So it is quite versatile.

If you don't want to buy inserts, but you would like to print your own. Well that is fairly easy... being an ISO page size the proportions of the pages is close to that of A4 and A5, therefore you can take any of the Philofaxy inserts and scale them down by 84% and it will fit perfect on Deskfax size paper.

B5 paper is not very common in shops or stationery suppliers, but given that it is smaller than both A4 and US Letter size, which are easy to purchase where ever you are in the world. Both can be cut to Deskfax size fairly cheaply.

Setting up your computer to print on to Deskfax size is the same as printing on to Filofax Personal size except for the different page size obviously.

So in some ways using a Deskfax size organiser might be easier for some people to use than an A5, slightly bigger pages too, but without the huge size of A4.

Deskfax size organisers were introduced by Filofax in about 1992, earlier versions of the Deskfax used just 6 rings in the same format as Personal size, but with paper twice the width (171x190mm)

Although Deskfax organisers started to be phased out after only a few years in production, they do come up for sale on Ebay and on Philofaxy Adspot from time to time.

The following photos show the size of typical organisers compared to a Deskfax organiser.

Malden A5,  Richmond DeskFax, Classic A4

Malden A5,  Richmond DeskFax, Classic A4

Malden A5,  Richmond DeskFax, Classic A4
The Malden and Richmond both have 30mm rings
It was via a recent Adspot advert I managed to get this Richmond Deskfax organiser. It's similar to a modern day Finsbury. I will do a more detailed post at some point in the future to show off the pocket and internal layout in more detail. I wanted to concentrate on the Deskfax format with this post.


13 comments:

  1. Interesting post, Steve. I'd always ruled them out as simply too large, but the advantages you point out are considerable. Being able to add personal pages would make it easier to use both a Deskfax AND a personal together. And I have noticed B6 spiral-bound notebooks more and more in the UK in the last couple of years. Not sure if this is an influence from the vast number of Japanese students who come to UK, as I see them using B5 and B6 a lot, but I think they are much more widely available now. Do you find it a hassle having to do two punches, instead of one?

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    1. Hi Paul
      The two punch thing concerned me at first, but because of the layout and configuration of the rings, ring 5 is exactly in the middle of the page. So a simple mark in the middle makes it easy to align the punch to make the two punches through the paper and get it right every time.

      I believe B5 is also a common form factor for printed books rather than A4 or A5.

      I don't know why I always find the facts behind these sort things fascinating, the enquiring mind I suppose... Why? What made them decide to make it that size or like that!

      Steve

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  2. I would love to trackd down an original Deskfax in the double-wide personal format. Personal is just a bit too small for me - I do like the Franklin Covey Compact with the additional width, but can't help feeling a little more width would be great.

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    1. I've been using some old stock double leaves for notes this week, and found them rather good. You could easily make some if you have a guillotine and punch - they are regular height but 180mm wide and fold in half just leaving the holes exposed so you can open them out. That approach would do nearly the same job as the original Deskfax.

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  3. Steve - I love when you relate the history of different Filofax binders and include pictures to show size and dimension. This is an excellent post (as usual.) Thanks for sharing.

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  4. Thank you Steve for another brilliantly enquiring post. As a big "hater" of all things "DIN A" I really appreciate it. The proportions of the B size is so much more pleasing and natural (and yes, it's a common form factor for books and magazines, because it's not as extraordinary as some special formats, thereby cheaper).
    So now I really think of the possibility I might "need" another Filofax in the (near) future...

    Thomas

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  5. Great post! I learn something from you everyday. :-) Where can we get those cute Philofaxy cards?

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  6. There was another binder I thought was a very useful size. Laurie, at Plannerisms, had a Mulberry that was quarter A4. That seems another good size for printing and self punching

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    1. Do you mean A6 size? I have a notebook in that size and I find it very practical.

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    2. Yes, that's the one. I read that review with interest, as it seemed to give a more useful width, without compromising on the overall size of the binder. How did you find it in day to day use? I also thought that cutting and punching A4 wouldn't be too much of a chore as things would/should scale down easily. Did it work in practice?

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  7. Great post, Steve. I love knowing that the Richmond is similar to the modern Finsbury!

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  8. I have just got one of the Richmond Deskfax's and am looking forward to using it. Thanks for the post Steve, it was very helpful.

    Clare

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  9. Hi, I get the A4 at 84% = B5, but what's the maths for scaling A5 up? I can't get it right. Help
    Thanks

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