09 January 2013

Guest Post - Getting ready to spruce up your Filofax! - Lime Tree

Thank you to Lime Tree for sending in this very useful guest post. 

Hello, hello!
I am very honored to be here today sharing my musings in Filofax-Land. Thanks Steve & the Philofaxy team for hosting me and the always warm and welcoming Philofaxy community for reading it!

As a brand new year started (already!), Filofax inserts need to be sorted out and calendars need to be set, right?
 After all, one of the best (if not THE best) feature of Filofax and any loose leaf binder is all the customization possible to suit our needs.
 Thankfully to help us find the “perfect” set-up, there are TONS of wonderful Filofax inserts being produced out there. TONS, TONS, TONS and some TONS more! (I am pretty sure I am missing some other TONS, because really, there are a lot of inserts available right now.)

When I started my Filofax journey that was NO WAY I would print stuff myself. I would be drooling all over the inserts Ray & Steve were providing week after week but I “knew” it was too much of a hassle for me. Too much paper and time wasted. Stressed increased as well.

I tried! Don’t get me wrong, I did try…. but excessive failed attempts got me all frustrated and annoyed with the computer and printer’s dysfunctional relationship. One asks for one thing the other one responds with another thing! 

But then I decided that, really, for my planner to be effective I needed to feel motivated to look at it everyday. And not having a layout that suited me was making things hard and not fun at all.  I love reading and “doing” Filofax stuff because helps me put my life together, but foremost, makes me HAPPY! And there is no reason to deny all the fun possibilities of customizing a planner just because the computer and printer don’t get along well.

So, clear on that, I decided to make things work.
 I experimented a lot to “get” the computer/printer relationship in better shape. 

And flashing news: It is all doable, peeps!!!!

So I thought that a guide showing how I got to finally print my inserts would be helpful for some of you out there. I really hope it will help!

That is a very simple rule I realized that I needed to follow:

I needed to be prepared!

It SURE takes a bit of prep work, but all that prep work to create a system is done once. After I figured out a system and it was up and rolling, I just needed to maintain it.

Now, let me break down that simple rule in three steps.


Here we go, the very “complex” step process, that I am pretty sure you have never heard of:
  1. Set your printer
  2. Get Ink
  3. Get Paper
Intriguing no? Flashing news?

Well, yeah, it is all very obvious but plenty of times I have looked at those bulletin points and decided that “it is too complicated”.

Truth is, following the bulletin points is a bit of WORK, but it is far from complicated.

OK, so let’s get the “fun” rolling! – yeah, it’s not that fun, but it is totally worth it. My Filofaxes are sure glad I did it 

1. Set your printer
Meaning the printer needs to be ready BEFORE you see that “jaw-dropping-solve-all-your-time-management-problems” insert. You will be way too excited to get it out of the computer and may miss little steps that will mess up your dreamy customization.

How to get ready ahead of time?

Create and save every size page template you think you may use.

You will then have from a drop down menu all your options ready (mini, pocket, personal or A5 size).
That way in the rush of excitement, you can tell the printer  exactly what are you trying to do and what kind of paper you will be feeding it, without much hassle.

I wrote a tutorial on how to create and save each one of the sizes for Mac users and Philofaxy has an excellent one (also full of pictures for those visual peeps out there) for Windows users.

My home printer only do double sized on US letter size sheets. So I have to manually flip and feed it again when I need double sized.

To not stress out every time and waste paper experimenting, I wrote a cheat sheet for myself that I keep on my Filofax.

It tells me how my printer behave for each file type (yes, pdf and word doc behave differently) and how to feed the paper for each of them.
 It took me some experimenting, but once it is done, it is done! Months from now, when I decide to print some more inserts, (and had totally forgotten how to do it) the cheat sheet will avoid all the “figuring-out” hassle again.

2. Get Ink

It totally drove me nuts when I was ready to print and all of sudden the printer would complain that was missing ink.

“Well, now, I have to leave the house. It is too late. It is cold. I am tired. I don’t even remember what cartridge fits my printer. Ah, what a pain, I give up!”

Yes, all that would go thru my mind.

And it all can be solved easily if you are prepared before hand.

Check your printer model/cartridge number and write it down – on your Filofax I assume  
 Leave that note or post-it there at all times so if you are passing by an office supply store and decide to get cartridge you know how to ask for it.

Set a reminder from your printer software when the ink is getting low. Or write it down yourself.

Wherever works for you.

The point is to always have a cartridge replacement ready when your printer is low on ink.
**I am currently low on black ink. Not totally out just low. However the replacement is safely kept on my drawer. I know the ink will run out right in the middle of some fun printing at 11pm 

See what is more affordable. Is the generic safe for your printer, or does it need its own brand to operate? 
Get the higher capacity cartridge to save you headaches and trips to the office supply store later.

Ah, Remember that you are getting ready to really spruce up your organizer the way you want, meaning you will feel much more motivated to print from now on. It will not be “pricier” on a long-term planning. You will end up using it all! Low capacity or high capacity cartridge.

3. Get Paper

Seems obvious, just like “set your printer” but the point (again) is to get ready for the sizes you will be printing ahead of time. Really, I can’t stress enough how easier (and happier) life gets when you already have all the blank sheets you need to print the yumminess of those amazing inserts you find in the blogsphere.

Get a ream of paper and go to a store to trim them down!

A4 paper chopped in the middle becomes A5, YAY!

For personal, pocket or mini, bring a sheet with you to the store and tell them to make that size.

Although it is best to get there knowing how many you can fit in a sheet to help the clerk in case he is confused (the guy by my local shop is always confused).

Below are some pictures to help out with the size fitting.

First a comparison of the A4 and US Letter size on their own:

Now with some Filofax paper.
 The US letter size fits only 1 sheet of the A5 sized one. The A4….well….you know…. fits 2, because the A5 is exactly half of the A4

Then personal size, we have 3 sheets out of A4 and only two out of the US Letter size:

{**Note – On the US sized one, you can use that narrower sheet to make sub-tabs like Nancy did on her Filofax.}


You can then fit 5 sheets of pocket size ones on both of them:

And get 8 mini sheets out of each one:

After you come back from the store with an entire ream trimmed down plus some extras because the clerk messed up the first tries, you will have your pretty pile awaiting to print like that:

A lot of sheets, huh?  

You will NOT use the whole thing at once, obviously not.
 But when you need it, it will be there, hassle free, ready for your customizations. It will last you months! Probably the entire year!

Ah, and remember that although the prep-work is, well…. WORK, it is done only once. You will just need to maintain it – mostly ink - and you are ready to experiment with every single exciting insert you see out there, any time throughout the year.

Ok, are you still there? 

Great! You read it all!

Now really, go make that dreamy-fun-personal Filofax happen. And share your thoughts! 


{PS***US folks, if you need the A4 size, I just got a ream from Staples. It was $9.79 and free shipping! I ordered it on Monday and got it Tuesday (!!) which was actually the reason to write this post, hehe. I got very excited with my new paper!   ***}

Thank you for this post, I hope it has de-bunked this conspiracy theory about US vs European paper sizes! So don't try to adapt stuff to your US letter size... just use A4!

If you have a Guest Post you would like to send us please contact us at philofaxy at gmail dot com before you start writing it....


  1. Just to mention... I've not had any trouble printing the Ray & Steve inserts on US Letter size, everything is centered anyway. But yes, for A5 it's easier to just buy some A4 paper.

    1. Sorry, I meant to mention that Personal size works fine. The 2 pages per sheet works just fine.

    2. I've tried to print a few sheets from ray and Steve's templates but maybe my printer is too smart. I figured I would print personal size on US letter and just cut it down to size. But my printer knows exactly what size paper the template is looking for and won't print on anything other than the correct size, which I don't have. Is there anyway around that, do you know?

    3. I don't know. I usually print from the PDF and the settings in Adobe are fairly straight forward if you DON'T want the program to scale to paper size. I think I needed to uncheck something... Sorry I can't be more helpful!

    4. @Kanalt, I think if you change the paper size on the document BEFORE opening up the printer screen that may help. Or like Josh said, PDF may be a safer bet? After customizing the word doc the way you want, you can save as PDF and print from there.

    5. Thanks for the replies. I'll try the above suggestions. The other issue I've had is that the word file makes my computer crash upon opening. It takes forever to load and then I can't do anything. That may be my own issue though since the computer is getting on in years. And of course, by using the PDF, I can't make any changes. I'll look into it again though, thanks!

  2. It never occurred to me to take paper to a printer and have it all cut to the proper size and then store it like this. Great idea. Then I can have nice fountain pen friendly paper all ready to go.

    1. Yes! That's the beauty of it! :D You can have any kind of paper sized down to be Filofax friendly. Even colored ones ;)

    2. This comment has been removed by the author.

  3. I've been wondering about this for a very long time. Thank you for posting this valuable information. I've pinned this just to always have this information handy.

    Thanks again,

    1. Hi Jackie, I am glad it was useful :)

    2. Hi Jackie, please see in the sidebar images from Philofaxy must not be pinned on Pinterest. Please remove the image from Pinterest.

      Thank you,


    3. DMCA Copywrite infringement report filed with Pinterest for the removal of the image and for them to deal with the issue. Clearly having notices saying 'Do Not Pin on PInterest' are not being read or just being ignored.


    4. Mr. Steve Morton and anyone else concerned,
      I would like to apologize, I just got a message from Pinterest of the copyright infringement. I have absolutely no excuse for my mistake. The only thing I can say is I had not had any sleep for 3 days straight. I did not notice it. I don't know how that happened. It's very clear, in big red letters. But like I said, no excuse, just what happened.

      I am so very, very sorry. I meant no harm

    5. Jackie
      Your apology is accepted. I had to file the report because of the risk of people repining the image all over the site, by reporting it we could get it removed completely.

      In some ways I blame Pinterest for making it too easy for you to pin things without asking you the question 'Are you the copywrite holder' or 'Do you have the Copywrite Holders Permission' to pin this image. But of course that is not in the interest of Pinterest because it slows you down.

      Every day this week I have had to request the removal of images from the site: http://steve-morton.com/2013/01/09/why-im-still-against-pinterest-the-continuing-saga/


  4. This is exactly the kind of post I needed. Now if I could just figure out where to buy A4 paper in America without paying shipping...

    1. Hey Cody, if you see right below the post signature I added a link to the A4 ream I found at Staples. ;)

  5. What kind of paper was used? Just simple printer paper? Or something sturdier? Sorry kinda new to this all and also what do you do to reinforce

  6. My printer can't print small/pocket size, it's just too small :( while what I have now is small Kikki-K :(

  7. Ok, I just cut my own pages down, and tried this, and IT IS AWESOME! Thanks :)