11 December 2010

Big can sometimes be beautiful as well....

We have seen and reviewed many A5 Filofax Organisers over the years, they come in a variety of styles and colours. I'm sure most enthusiastic Philofaxers own one organiser in A5 size.  But you can go bigger than A5, well in Europe at least. Sadly the A4 isn't sold in the US and you really are missing out folks.

I proudly present to you my latest Filofax acquisition, (roll of drums) the Filofax Classic A4 Organiser..... in black Italian Leather.

Yes it's the big one... paper size is 297 mm by 210 mm or put another way twice the size of an A5 (210 x 148 mm). And to show you the difference here is the A4 alongside my Finsbury A5.

The A5 looks almost Personal size and the A4 like A5 in the above picture... but to show even more of a comparison. Here's the three together.

There is a sutle difference with the A4 compared to other Filofax organisers, it doesn't use the 3 + 3 ring combination. Instead it is just a standard 4 ring organiser with the rings spaced at 80mm apart. So stationary and punches are cheap as chips. I bought a 4 hole punch in my local supermarket for €10, it is of metal construction and should serve me for a few years. Paper is also available off the shelf in most stores.

The inside cover has 6 card slots, a 3.5 diskette slot (how quaint!) and a CD slot, as well as a full height pocket behind the slots. There are two pen loops, one on the front cover and one on the back.

As you will see in the pictures below, the standard fill it comes with size is just like any other size... but everything is just bigger and has lots of space to write things in. They haven't attempted to add more lines in just give you more space to write in instead. And the rings don't get in the way at all.

A two page per week in vertical format came with the organiser, as you can see plenty of room for appointments and notes/to-dos each weekday. It's in multi-language format but that doesn't waste too much space on this size of page!

The address pages give you plenty of space for 4 or 5 phone numbers in addition to Name, Contact, Address and Email Address. The inclusion of contact I suppose shows that it's intended for business use.

The To-do page is a slightly different format to others I have seen, two lines per item, so plenty of room to write quite detailed descriptions, I often struggle to work out some of my slightly cryptic notes in my other to-do lists!

Very detailed expenses pages, something I'm not a frequent user of at present.

Some ordinary ruled note pages. 

Inside the back cover there is a A4 writing pad.

I will adding some plain paper for sketches and drawings, as well as some reference information I have in my A5 but it will be printed full size rather than reduced size. 

So you must be wondering....why??? Well I have my reasons for buying this organiser.. please note the word 'excuse' was not used...!!

When I wrote a post about the A4 size back in September, I wasn't trying to justify purchasing one myself at the time, I was just exploring how that size would work for me and others. After that was posted I heard of at least one Philofaxer trying out the A4 for her work organiser and she loved the fact that she could print things off without fiddling around with booklet printing and cutting pages, it was print, punch, place in organiser.. job done. So my post had convinced one person.

In our what size do you own poll in November last year, the A4 only got two votes out of the 164 cast!

When I saw an A4 at the Neal Street Store the other week, I suspect it was a reminder and it got me thinking again.

Another reason for buying the A4 was to own one to try it out and to share the experience with you the readers, I think to add credibility to any post about this size you have had to had owned one and used it, and the same goes for any size I suppose. So I guess it was a fore (pun intended!) gone conclusion that I would buy one this size eventually.

Am I actually going to use this one? I think so, it fits the space on my desk to my left normally occupied by my A5 so I will be giving it a try that's for sure in the New Year. Since ordering it I've found some very nice diary templates on line too!

One amusing idea that I've not tried with the A4 yet. You might recall my lesson in origami on how to fold an A3 printed map in to an A5 organiser. Well A3 will fold in to A4 very easily in the same way that A4 folds in to an A5 organiser... but how about A2 in to A4... truly huge!! A2 is 594 x 420 mm, the size often used for building plans! Not something I will have a need for, or a printer to print that size.

So far I've not said anything negative, which you might find a little false. Yes the A4 is big but not that bulky, it has 25 mm rings, where as my A5 Finsbury is fitted with 30 mm, I will get the scales out to compare the weight once I've added a few more of my own pages, the comparison wouldn't be valid at the moment.  The number of pages available for the A4 from Filofax is a little limited which for some people might be a downside. But given the ease of being able to print off your own pages for this size then this limitation isn't so much of a problem.  I will give an honest up date on the A4 once I've had a chance to use it for a few weeks.

Yes the Classic is quite expensive to buy, but there are cheaper A4's in the range. I love the detail in the finish of the Classic and I would love this model in smaller sizes too!

I look forward to reading your comments, good or bad.. !!


  1. Am so glad you did this post! I think the A4 sometimes gets forgotten, purely because of it's shear size in comparison to the A5 and Personal.

    I wouldn't carry my A4 around, but saying that when I do need to travel to the Office, it does come with me as it has my current work in it!

    I love the flexibility of the A4 it is awesome, but I think that is because in day to day life we use A4 paper, if we used A5 as standard we would think the same for that!

    I love my A4 Filofax. Will I buy another one, simply No! Only because I can't carry it around with me, and the A5 and Personal suit my Personal needs fine!

    A4 is for Work!

    Thanks again for the great post!

  2. I've only ever seen one in actual use, and that was a district nurse I was on placement with for the day - she used the massive day per page calendar to put in not only each appointment but where it was and what she had to do there. I didn't see what else was in the binder though. It was absolutely MASSIVE and I can't see many other people carrying one around - it doesn't fit in a lot of bags - so I guess it's mostly useful for people who work at the same desk all the time though.

  3. This looks great! Yes I'm sure Filofax doesn't bother to try to sell these in the US since we don't use A4 size paper, our letter size paper is a slightly different size. US brands like Franklin Covey etc. do sell organizers in the full (8 1/2 by 11 inch) size, and they are wonderful for people to pop in full size pages. I saw one of these in action once, the binder zipped closed and had handles to carry like a briefcase! It looked great and was certainly very useful.

  4. Another great post Steve! I didn't even know these things existed until you mentioned it, but WOW, what a Filo!

    Very interesting review : )

  5. I know what you mean with booklet printing and cutting in order to fit the pages into an A5, but the size of an A5 is much more manageable for me than the A4, although I have an A4 too, a zipped Graphic portfolio. On the other hand, the A4 is ideal for carrying official work documents (that I can't booklet print and cut) and I find the zip feature really handy, my papers stay intact rain or shine!

  6. I have one of these in red which I bought planning to use it for work. I have found it a bit large for regular use - it's big and heavy to carry and of course takes up quite a bit of room on the desk. I suspect it is brilliant for some work situations. Although I don't use it much, I am reluctant to get rid of it as it is a thing of beauty! I sometimes take it when I go to presentations or seminars (using it as a sort of conference folder). I'd love some more ideas on what I can use it for!

  7. Great post, Steve! IS that the cover of the pad of paper in the back of the planner or did you create the black and white Filofax design? I really liked that!

  8. Hi Erin
    The cover on the writing pad is how it came, I'm not that creative!! I will scan it in on it's own when I'm back in France. In UK this weekend.

    And thank you everyone else for your comments.

    One thing I didn't mention but the page size on the A4 is over 8 times the size of the Mini!!! A mini page size is 67x105 A4 is 210 wide.. by 297 so it equates to 8.8 times. So for an A4 sheet you can create 8 Mini pages. A mini template based on A4 would be quite easy to create...Crazy really I know!!

  9. Steve:

    Thanks for posting this!

    I have not posted in a while as I gave up on using the Personal Classic because I simply needed much more room for my crazy life. I was in Staples one day and looked at the 8.5 X 11" GTD Coordinator my wife uses and thought, "Maybe this will finally house the amount of material I need to get the job done. I bought it and and now getting ready to use it in January.

    I'll be eager to see how this works out for you and the rest of us who are going to use what seems like a GIGANTIC planner cover!

  10. It's too bad that Filofax discontinued the Deskfax binder size.

    It is a beautiful piece of leatherwork. I have a York Director Deskfax in golden brown, like this:


    The page size is 9-3/4" by 6-6/78"

    According to the Filofaxusa.com website:

    "The Deskfax size has been discontinued and is unavailable. The largest size Filofax organizer would be our A5 Size. We will continue to stock Deskfax Calendars and Refills."

  11. I have just ordered a beautiful looking Finsbury personal in aqua as my first ever Filofax, for use at home and when I'm out and about. However, for work I totally rely on my A4 day to a page diary, but am seriously considering getting an A4 Filofax to replace it. I can't wait for my aqua baby to arrive and can't believe that I'm already thinking of getting another one before I've even got the first one. Thankyou Philofaxy for all the great posts and advice :o)

  12. Hi there

    Thanks for the great blog. I have just bookmarked it.

    I recently became the owner of an A5 brown Kendal and I am truly smitten.

    The craftsmanship and attention to detail is so impressive. The look, feel and presence of the thing inspires serious (and neat!) writing.

    Seeing as I use it mainly for writing I am beginning to want a little more space - hence my interest in an A4 version. Though the A5 is excellent for notes and ideas, I could do with more room when I get into higher writing gears.

    It's a shame there isn't such a big selection in the A4 format. I would be over the moon if they had an A4 version of my Kendal, with the oiled matt leather with which I am so enamored.

    As it stands I'm looking at either the A4 Classic in brown, which can be bought new from ebay for just over £100, or the Finsbury in black (no other colours), which can be found for around £70.

    I'm not too keen on black, though there's not much else in A4.

    I phoned filofax the other day and a man said their new catalogue will be coming out in about 2 months and with it probably a couple of new models in the A4 size. As I told him I was after a less shiny leather finish, which all of their current models have, he suggested I wait and see what turns up. He doesn't know what the new models will be like.

    I'm not sure whether to go for one of the two I mentioned, or hang on to check out the new catalogue...

    I'm pretty keen to get one asap. I guess I could start writing on the A4 filofax pages now and then just put them in to my new A4 filo whenever I get it.

    Sorry to ramble - it would never happen in my Kendal... ;)

  13. I use my A4 Finsbury (raspberry) everyday for work and love it. Here in Germany almost every official document comes in A4. And I've always done my notes and so on in A4 too.

  14. I would LOVE to have an A4, but I live in the U.S. Any suggestions for a nice substitute?

    1. Look on Adspot they occasionally come up for sale on there. It's the page at the top of this site.. Our readers advertising their items for sale and wanted.

    2. Erin you'll probably be better off with a Franklin Covey Monarch size binder, which fits standard letter size 8 1/2 by 11 inch pages. A4 pages have slightly different dimensions so your US letter size pages would need a specialized hole punch and will be wider than A4 pages. With the Monarch size binder, all your standard pages and hole punches will work.


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