You might wonder is it hole spacing or ring spacing? Well in a way it is both, but you either have an organiser with rings of a certain spacing... or paper inserts pre-punched with a particular hole spacing. The fun starts when you start to try and mix and match these things.
Doing research into hole/ring spacing I never imagined how difficult it was or how many varieties of the two there were.
I've decided to concentrate on the most popular ones in our community, but there are many many more, how many more? Well take a quick look at this web page and you will see what I mean! Hans and I have exchanged a few emails on the topic! You always knew I was a Dull Man, you now have confirmation!
The focus of this post will of course be Filofax organisers and what hole spacing they use. As well as hole spacing I will include notes on paper size, so you will at least have the information for Filofax if you come across another brand of insert and you can ask them the right questions with regards to size and hole spacing.
Before we get in to this too deeply, here is an explanation of what I mean by 'hole/ring spacing' and a picture might save a few words!
This is the dimensions for a European 'Two Ring' binder, in this case the hole spacing is 80mm the drawing also shows the tolerance of ±0.5 mm on that dimension allowed for in the ISO standard for hole punches.... yes such a thing exists!
The Mini size uses 5 rings each spaced by 19mm or ¾ inch. The paper size is 67 mm x 105 mm.
Filofax M2 uses only 3 rings spaced by 19mm or ¾ inch. The paper size is 103 mm x 64 mm, which is similar to Mini, but it is used in landscape layout rather than portrait
Van der Spek Mini/Succes
The VdS Mini uses 5 ring spaced in 19mm or ¾ inch, 25.4mm(1 inch), 25.4mm(1 inch) and then 19mm(¾ inch) spacing, with a paper size of 68mm x 108mm.
Filofax Pocket/Gillio Pocket/Van der Spek Junior
The Pocket size uses 6 rings each each spaced by 19mm or ¾ inch. The paper size is 81mm x 120 mm. A number of other brands use this size and spacing. Older Filofax Pockets used only 4 rings, details of those are in this post.
Gillio A6/Van der Spek Senior/Mulberry Agenda
These three use a common ISO A6 (148x105mm) paper size with 6 rings are spaced in to two groups of 3 rings. The two groups are spaced by 38 mm(1.5 inches) and the three rings having the common 19 mm(¾ inch) spacing between them.
Franklin Covey Pocket
Franklin Covey Pocket size also uses the same ring spacing as A6, but their inserts are not A6 size, instead they use 3.5 inch by 6 inches (89x152 mm) so narrower than true A6 inserts and factionally taller
Again the same ring spacing as A6 but their inserts are 95x152mm (same width as Personal) which is yet another combination.
Filofax Personal size is a very common size, it uses 6 rings split in to two groups of 3 rings. The two groups are spaced by 50 mm or 2 inches with the three rings having the common 19 mm or ¾ inch spacing between them. The paper size is 95mm by 171 mm.
Whilst the hole spacing is a common feature of other brands, be aware that some brands use paper wider than 95mm, this can cause problems especially in the compact and slimline Filofax organisers, which with their smaller ring sizes have narrower covers. Try before you buy... is the best advice... or if you are buying on line, establish the exact size of the paper or the tabs and make a mock up of your chosen size.
Franklin Covey Compact/Day Timer Portable
The Compact and Portable models both use the same ring spacing as Filofax Personal. However Franklin Covey inserts are 12mm wider than Filofax ones at 108mm wide. Day Timer use the same size inserts as Filofax Personal.
Filofax A5 uses paper that is 148 mm by 210 mm, exactly the size of European ISO standard A5 paper. However the company chose for what ever reason to use 6 rings, again like the personal size split in to two groups of three rings. The two groups are spaced by 70 mm or 2¾ inch with the three rings having the common 19 mm or ¾ inch spacing between them.
One little oddity or 'did you know' fact about the spacing that Filofax chose for A5, is that you can fit two Mini Pages on to the rings and the pages don't overlap... I can cure any insomniac with these bits of trivia!
Now looking at other brands, it all gets very different to Filofax, so much so that re-punching some of these other sizes can turn your diary insert in to something resembling a Swiss cheese.
Mulberry Planner and Quo Vadis Time 21 size organisers use A5 paper (148x210mm), but with 6 rings are spaced in to two groups of 3 rings which have the same spacing as Filofax Personal size. As we have previously mentioned Mulberry sizes on all of their binders are different to Filofax, a previous Philofaxy post gives all of the details for this brand.
So QV Timer 21 pages need to be re-punched but the Filofax holes fall neatly between the original QV holes.
Time Manager International TMI like Quo Vadis use Filofax Personal hole spacing in their A5 products, but only 4 rings not six, they miss out the middle ring of each 3 ring group. So they have 38mm and 50mm spacing Again re-punching their inserts results in having 12 evenly spaced holes.
Franklin Covey Classic and Day Timer Desksize in the USA use a page size of 140mm x 216 mm (5.5 x 8.5 inches) which is close to A5 in size (slightly narrower, but slightly taller), but the hole spacing is very different to Filofax. Firstly they use a 7 ring binder, the rings are spaced at 1 inch 1 inch, ¾ inch, ¾ inch, 1 inch, 1 inch. This combination does not line up with Filofax A5 spacing
Punching one of these to fit a Filofax A5 will result in pages that look something like this:
As you might be able to see, the top and bottom holes of the row of 7 holes are very close to the top and bottom holes of A5 Filofax, in fact when punched those holes become oval in shape.
Be aware that some companies sell inserts as 'A5' but they are in-fact 'Half Letter' size (140mm x 216 mm) but they are punched for Filofax A5 spacing. I've also seen another company selling 'A5 inserts' that were 146x210mm in size. Clearly some peoples ideas of standards and tolerances varies!
Filofax Deskfax comes in two varieties, the first one uses the same 6 ring personal ring spacing but with pages approximately twice the width of personal size. And more recently using a 9 ring mechanism with ISO B5 size paper (176x250mm). The rings are spaced as three groups of three in ¾ inch (19mm) spacing with the groups spaced 2 inches (51mm) apart, which gives you the opportunity to put Filofax Personal pages on to either the top two groups of rings or the bottom two groups of rings.
As previously discussed the A4 size is 297 mm by 210 mm a standard European ISO paper size, the four holes are each spaced by 80 mm, again which is an extension to the ISO standard spacing (ISO 838) Nearly all binders in Europe that use A4 paper use this four hole spacing so finding alternatives shouldn't be an issue.
In the USA, Franklin Covey Monarch and the Day Timer 'Folio' size which is 216mm x 280mm (11 inches by 8.5 inches) which is a fraction wider than A4 but shorter. These also uses 7 rings spaced 1 inch, 1 inch, 2¼ inches, 2¼ inches, 1 inch, 1 inch. None of these 7 holes aligns with the Filofax 4 holes.
After attempting to create a suitable image on my computer and failing I resorted to pen and paper! I hope this picture puts the text above in to some sort of context.
I have concentrated on the main brands and sizes that we come across on a regular basis in the phILOFAXY community, it is no where near complete in its coverage of all brands/sizes/formats.
I hope things are a little clearer now... if not... please ask questions in the comments and I will try and respond.