04 September 2010

Alternative refills for your Filofax - Update

If you also read Laurie's Plannerisms blog and you should be if you don't... you will no doubt have noticed some of the other formats available by other planner makers in other countries. Not all of these other formats are available in loose leaf format, so not all are adaptable to the Filofax.

However, looking around a local stationary store/newsagent here in Thouars, I noticed a few diary refills that looked as if they would fit the Filofax ring system. So I noted down the details and when I got home I started looking around on the internet and also emailed Laurie to see what she knew about these alternatives.

In the store where:
  • Oberthur
  • Exatime
  • Quo Vadis
Oberthur have quite a range of organisers and pens and other desk accessories. The best thing to do is to look at their webpages their binders look very swish. The refills page is here which is a pdf file.

Laurie tells me Exatime and Quo Vadis is part of the same group of companies, a bit like Letts Diaries being the main company that Filofax is in.

You will find details of Exatime here with their 'recharges et accessories' also.  I thought this was quite a comprehensive range of organisers and refills.

Finally Quo Vadis themselves, I was even more interested to see what they had on offer especially after such good reviews of their Tri Note by Laurie, who tells me that the range of organisers aren't available in the US? The UK side of Quo Vadis source from France and the US, and the European part of the business from the French parent company I believe.

So today I purchased a couple of Quo Vadis refills, one is pocket size and the other A5 size. Well almost... the pocket is in fact 2 mm narrower and 4 mm taller, but effectively the same size and importantly the ring positions are the same as a Filofax Pocket.

The A5 is also the same size within a mm or two but I was wrong about the hole spacing. The three holes are the correct spacing but the two groups of three are a different spacing between them... more in a moment a picture will explain it better... I need to go back to the shop with my personal slimline to check to see if the hole spacing is different on that size as well or not..

So the pocket refill I bought is their Timer 14 horizontal which is a week on two pages starting on Monday or to be correct Lundi and this is what it looks like (click on the picture to see it full size):

Yes it is in French, not a problem for me! And in some ways very handy because it has all the local bank holidays or Fete Nationales which are of course different to UK ones. It came in cream paper which is very smooth, not tried it with fountain pen yet, but it is ok with ballpoint and pencil.  The refills run from September 2010 through to December 2011 so I have already transferred across to this one for the remainder of the year.  The corners are perforated so you might be able to do away with a 'Today' marker.

Being a week on two pages compared to my previous refill being a week per page has obviously meant that there were more pages to accommodate in my Filofax pocket, but I was able to thin down some of the spare pages and pages I wasn't using out of my organiser and everything is back as it was. Already I'm loving the extra space that a week on two pages gives.

At the back of the refill is a year on two pages year planner for 2012 and other French information pages.

The A5 I went for is the Timer 21 "Planing" and this is what it looks like:

As you can see it's again a week on two pages, but with a smaller entry for Sunday, remembering not a lot happens in France on Sundays (shops are all shut!).

The right hand page has spaces for tasks spilt in to telephone calls, letters, Emails, To-Do with a Notes section for each day and each day has timed appointment slots from 7am through to 9pm There are also small monthly calendars at the top of the right hand page.  There is a week number tab that moves down the edge of the right hand page.

Again the refill runs from September 2010 through to December 2011, but before I can use it I have to re-punch the pages. Here is why:

On the left is an upside down Filofax page, on the right a Quo Vadis page, if you look closely you can see the holes are half a hole spacing different! Fail!  But with an A5 Filofax punch it's easily corrected:

Here's the fly sheet that I've punched and labelled which holes are which! It should be ok.

Again the refill comes with lots of useful 'French' information, like holidays, phone numbers etc. Also the same high quality as the pocket version, but in white with blue lettering.

The stockist in Thouars also stocked quite a selection of other additional pages from the Quo Vadis range too. It's nice to look at things in person and not have to pay postage.

Now I'm not expecting you to all be rushing out to buy these, but if you live in France like I do there are certain advantages to having a local product. I suspect the French Filofax refills also contain the French holidays, but there are limited in formats available.

The French refills are available on the UK site if you dig around a bit!

I went back to the stationary store today with a Personal size Filofax Organiser, my Slimline infact... and looked at the Quo Vadis Timer 17 planners.

They are the same 170 mm high, but they are 5 mm wider at 100 mm, but importantly the punched holes are exactly the same spacing as the ones for Filofax, so both Pocket and Personal size are compatible with QV inserts...  I don't think the extra 5 mm would cause too much of a problem.

I think the lady thought she had another sale, but I disappointed her! More research as what format I'm going to use in my Personal size first...although their Agenda format looks interesting:



  1. The Timer 21 insert is especially interesting to me, because it has the exact same layout as my Trinote that I love so much, but can fit (with some hole punching) into an A5 Filofax! Best of both worlds?

    Also, I'm assuming these refills are made with the legendary Clairefontaine paper that is such a joy to write on.

    Thanks for this post Steve! Always nice to know about alternative diary layouts for our Filofaxes.

  2. Thanks for these posts. I really appreciate these ones. I am just a baby when it comes to Filofaxes because I got my first one this year but I look forward to refilling it next year. :)

  3. I think in the US the Quo Vadis planners are all bound: no refills. Too bad.


    I really enjoyed the paper on my QuoVadis bound planner, and secretly wished for it to be compatible with Filofax...and now this post..
    "so both Pocket and Personal size are compatible with QV inserts..."
    is indeed a dream come true!!
    I'm glad I didn't buy my refills for next year yet, so I can try to score some from QV!!
    Thank you very much for this post, Steve!!!

  5. Oni I'm VERY happy to inform you that we can order these here in the Uk from the Quo Vadis UK site! You just click on the size, then find refills:


    Steve, is there a size that fits Personal size Filofaxes or do they only fit Pocket and A5?

  6. Ok after a little research I've answered my own question, more or less. The Timer 17 refills are the right size for the Personal size Filofax, but I don't know if the rings spacing is the same. Steve, do you know?

    Here is a page showing the Timer pages (with designated list boxes and Sunday at the bottom of the page), Prestige (with lined space at the left and a half column for each Saturday and Sunday), Horizontal (without notes space on the weekly spread) and one day per page.

    I may have to order these up to have the perfect combination of the Quo Vadis paper and format I love, with the convenience of my Filofax!! Too bad they don't come in English!!!!!

    Filofax UK, we would love Filofax refills with these formats!!!

  7. Upon further inspection, the Prestige version DOES have English and French!! I must get it!!

  8. Yes, the personal and pocket are punched correctly, only the A5 needs to be repunched, which is what I have done..

    OK here's a guide (I will add this to my article in a moment)

    Timer 21 is A5 21=210mm high
    Timer 17 is Personal 17=170mm high
    Timer 14 is Pocket 14=125mm high may be they should call this Timer12!

  9. That's it then. OMG I can't believe it, the paper and diary format I love, with the portability and convenience of my Personal size Filofax!! Could this be Filofax Nirvana?!?!?

  10. Gah, my link didn't paste in!! I'll try again.

    Here is the link to the French QV pages, showing the different types:


    Here is the link to the QV UK site for the Timer 17 refills (Ffx Personal size):


    Here's the UK site for all the sizes of French refills and organizers:


  11. Merci beaucoup.... the first one is in fact the page I linked to in the article!

    But well done for finding them on the UK site as well.

  12. Do U got the refill pages for Quo vadis style for any appointment book refill for a business binder rither then order from a store or them directly :