16 September 2015

To A6 or not A6 that is the question....

The A6 I'm talking about is the paper size, not the trunk road that runs from Luton to Carlisle!!  I've been differing around between Personal and A6 now for nearly 6 months.

Since April I've been using a Van der Spek Standard and a Van der Spek Senior, both of them black 'Touch Me' models which I detailed in a previous post.

This last weekend I thought to myself 'Come on make a decision, stop flitting from one to the other'!!!


Van der Spek Senior size Touch Me

Van der Spek Senior size Touch Me

I love them both, the leather is very soft and supple and smells delightful. Plenty of pockets and slots. There are obvious differences between them.

My particular Senior has 20mm rings (they will be available with 25mm soon) Whilst this early model of Senior isn't officially the right size for A6 paper (slightly too narrow) I've not had any issues  and I got around the width problem by using top tabs. Sorted!

The Standard (personal) on the other hand has big 30mm rings, and given the extra pages I've been lugging around on my North American trip this year it proved it self very well. But it is like lugging a brick around when full.

Now I could have just lightened the Standard by changing to a week on one page and slimming down the contents overall.

However, I love the A6 page size and proportions and to me they feel a much more natural height and width. A6 is shorter than personal (148mm v 171mm) but wider (105mm v 95mm). Given that A6 is half the size of A5 pages, it is extremely easy to create and print pages for A6, not that printing personal size pages is difficult.

Having been a Filofax personal size user for nearly 30 years, breaking rank and using a new size is not a decision that is an easy one!

So I sat down and went through the Standard size organiser page by page or section by section. And listed the information I actually needed to carry in the Senior that I didn't have at the moment, or the pages I would need to create to make the switch complete.

I ended up with a list of pages/sections that looks something like this:
Now some of the pages already exist, the diary inserts specifically. Some are peculiar to me which I doubt if other people will need.

The remainder of the pages I would need to create for A6 although that wouldn't be too difficult and I'm going to share them with you as well.

I created the missing pages as A5 pages, because I already had some of them as A5, but with a few tweaks to allow for them being resized in the printing process they would be reduced by 70% so I reduced the number of entries and increased the font sizes on some.

And here are my stack of pages.


The London Tube Map was easy to do. You can pick up London Tube maps from underground stations in London free of charge. They are A6 height already, but they fold out. So I pinched a tip from Ray Blake and put some clear plastic on the back of the folded map and punched some holes in the plastic with my hole punch. They bring out new maps each year so that one will be easy to keep up to date.

I was also able to find a Paris Metro map on line in pdf format so that was easy to download and print on to A5 paper then 'Z fold' down to A6 so it is easy to ready and not too small or hard on the eyes.

Because I don't have any A-Z tabs for the address pages I came up with a simple and elegant solution of including the A-Z index in to the page itself. All I do is circle the letter in the list and that will be fine. I'm going to consider only having essential addresses anyway rather than the full list I have in my A5 at home as I also have the full list on my iPhone as well... (dangerous I know!)

I'm really pleased with the end result and as you can see there is quite a reduction in the bulk of the organiser I will be carrying around and using more and more I think.


You might like to consider joining a new Facebook group about 'Using A6 planners:Info and Resources'

The middle setting between 'Pocket' and 'Personal' on the Rapseco Punch is the setting for A6 organisers.

19 comments:

  1. I've long thought that A6 is the optimum size. Ideal for portability and that extra width is great for left handers. An A6 binder could hold a smart phone and give a great digital/analogue combination. 13mm or 15mm rings and I would convert!

    It'll never replace the traditional Filofax size ("Personal") as that is too established. Also, companies like Filofax have been reducing their range of sizes (Deskfax, M2, Slimline, Mini - all gone) so are unlikely to ever introduce A6. I do think they missed a trick when making Flex Slim 150mmx85mm as that could have been A6 instead.

    (BTW - the A6 road in the UK originally ran from London (not Luton) to Carlisle. It's a TRUNK road - not a truck road!)

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    1. It currently runs from Luton as detailed in the Wikipedia Page. And there are lots of trucks on the A6

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  3. I'm intrigued by the size and would like to try it without investing in a VDS straight away (oh, that Janet leather is calling my name...) - any ideas on where I might find a cheaper A6-binder in Europe?

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    1. You can get one for around $30 including shipping on aliexpress.com, just do a search for A5 planner binder. I got one in A6 to try out the manager size before deciding on my custom VdS!

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    2. Thank you so much! I managed to find even cheaper binders on Aliexpress. I will try the page size before actually ordering, but being able to find paper for this in the bookshop that I just need to hole punch is already a reason why I should order straight away...

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    3. If you have a Rapsesco punch the middle setting is the one for A6 organisers. I've just added the to the post

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  4. If you are interested in joining a group that is specifically aimed at those of us considering a switch to the A6 Planner, I would like to invite you to join our Facebook group:
    "Using an A6 Planner: Info & Resources"

    Often A6 inserts, etc.can be a bit more difficult to find. To that end, we are now building a master list of useful resources, that will make using an A6 simpler and easier.
    Reading Steve's blog post (above) is a great way to begin considering the A6 size for your own planner needs.
    Great post, as always, Steve!
    Please consider joining us!

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    1. Thank you so much, I will join the group immediately! I loved Steve's post as well, and being able to downsize A5-files certainly makes this an attractive alternative to personal- und pocket-sized inserts.

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  5. Thanks for a great post, Steve. I think it's funny timing as I recently got my Mulberry Agenda that also takes A6 paper size & I'm been wondering about permanently moving over to the size.

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  6. One of my readers suggested I try A6 but I couldn't find one I could afford. I think I would like the size though.

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    1. If you look at aliexpress, you'll find several for under $30!

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  7. Great post, and I was really impressed by your VdS senior when you came to Denver. I, am like Tim, every part of my planning is geared to the FILO personal size. I think the only thing that is holding me back is a proper binder to archive my pages. Question? Anybody know of a good binder to serve this purpose?

    Thank you.

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    1. Franklin Covey have some cheaper binders on eBay which have 1 1/4 inch rings and are very useful for archiving until the year has ended. Lots of space!

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    2. p.s. you want their 'compact' size.

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    3. Thank you Amanda, I'll check them out.

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  8. I love to download the A6 address lists but the Pdf and word links are broken only the preview appears.

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    1. Please try refreshing the page, they are there.

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