14 June 2009

Creating Top Tabs

One of the original Day Runner features I've been wanting to add to my Filofax is the top tab; namely, used for the monthly Calendar and the Memo-ry to do/maybe do record.

Filofax's tab dividers only come with side tabs (6 tabs for the A5 size). But when I thought about creating my own, I first had to think about materials. What to make the divider page out of...and the top tab?

I realized that an American manila file folder was made of very similar material to the Filofax tab divider. Because the file folder is larger, one can trace any size and shape tab divider on it, and then cut it out.

And so, I've traced and cut Calendar and Memo-ry top tab dividers from Pendaflex file folders, as illustrated here. The lettering comes from a Brother labelmaker. The equipment requried is a manila file folder, a pencil, a Filofax tab divider, scissors, and a labelmaker.

Edited: Clicking the image now takes you to the entire set of pictures.


  1. This is a great idea! I also created top tabs for my Personal Filofax by trimming a set of colored top tabs for a compact Franklin (not sure they offer them any more though), since the compact FC forms fit in a Personal Filo, but are wider.

  2. Biang Kerok (formerly anonymous)15 June, 2009 14:12

    That's the kind of post I like to read on this blog. Please keep it that way. It gives me ideas because I don't have enough tabs. I even experimented with a second "today" lineal. No good.

    Tomorrow I'll try to cut A5 tabs into Personal size.

  3. Another way of course would be to use some plain A4 tabbed indexs, but cut in half and repunched. The tabs would be then top or bottom even...

    You would of course still have the original punch holes, but not a big problem...


  4. Thanks for putting up the pictures. I love these hacks, because I like to have something to renew my interest in my planner and keep me happy with it and using it more consistently.

    Now I'm going to try to figure out how to get some top tabs into my binders.

    Re the Flickr comment about straight cuts--I also like to have straight cuts; otherwise I get distracted and think too much about the imperfection of my cut. I also can't cut a straight line with scissors. Thankfully Office Depot and Staples etc usually have a guillotine sitting out at their copy centers. I've walked in and used them with no hassle from the employees.

    Also, to reinforce the holes, I've used 2-inch wide packing tape--just wrap it around the edge before you punch the holes, and it makes a nice plasticized look (horrors!). I guess sometimes I like plastic.

    Also, I think maybe a tab could be taped to a page protector and you could put a nice sheet of decorative scrapbooking paper or something else, like useful information, in there. Maybe two sheets, to reinforce it and keep the tab sticking up like it should. Or the tab could be attached to the paper in the page protector. I've just gotta try this.

    Thanks, Inky--for bringing some fun to the planner.

  5. Hi Everyone.

    I have made some decorated dividers. You can see them on flickr on my photostream.

    I use a personal Filofax and I am thinking of using some A4 tabs, turned with the tabs on the top and cut down as my top tabs. I have tried cutting around a traced tab but can never get it neat enough for my liking.
    I also just came across a site called Parenting Weekly. Under the topic of articles and tools is a link called The Organized Mom. If you click on this it leads to a whole lot of pages that can be opened up with lots of organizing pages that could be adapted from Filofax use.

  6. Claudia, Biang, please share some photos if you have a chance. I love the Franklin idea. It's true their Compact size has the same height and same holes as Filofax Personal, it's just wider. I bet a number of their forms could be adapted by cutting off the extra width and then repunching.

    GG, I've used that nice heavy packing tape as a reinforcement, too. It works great, even on pages that are already punched. You just repunch the tape.

  7. GG, thanks for the suggestion on the packing tape - I've been using standard hole reinforcers on the printed info sheets I made for my A5, but using a tape of some kind would look MUCH more stylish!

    I can so see a whole evening of tinkering about with that idea... (grins happily)

    ...Oh dear, the word verification for this comment is "imentl" (I mental) - is da interwebz trying to tell me something?!

  8. Hello everyone
    Regarding tabs, I usually use a sticky pagemakarker on my Notes section in order to quickly find where I left off.
    But last week for my trip to London i decided to do something prettier and faster to access that Notes section, and also to give it more importance(it was going to be the London Notes section, where I planned on recording all sorts of stuff about my trip). I didn't have much time, but lots of paper to be recycled. So I simply traced one normal tab on a nice, sturdy cardboard from a brochure, cut and hole-punched it.
    It served its purpose really well, I was able to swiftly open my notes section while walking the streets of London and write down directions, tips, thoughts, etc. I also used some of that same cardboard to quickly make a 'disposable' pen loop, so I could carry both my Pilot v5 and my mechanical pencil.
    I think I'm going to do more with this idea, I don't have a printer and reusing already printed paper is a fast, fun and nice solution. Sorry for the long post ;)

  9. Inky - this is great! I'm trying to come up with an idea to use the top tab just because this is such a wonderful idea.

  10. OMG yes! I have a label maker in the cupboard completely forgot about it! Have made my own nice tabs but couldn't work out how to label them. Cheers for the idea!