17 April 2013

Filofax 4 Ring Pocket Organisers

The Filofax Pocket organisers we see today are all 6 ring organisers, but at one time they used to be only 4 rings. The change over happened sometime in the 1990's, there was a bit of a consumer outcry at the time, which included the Filofax MD at the time being asked to appear a consumer programme to be interviewed by Anne Robinson, pity the thought... But a compromise was reached and Filofax produce inserts that fit both 4 and 6 ring pockets still to this day.

So how are they different? Read on..

So first here is the current 6 ring page with the rings shown in red.

Note that the holes in the paper are slotted for holes 1, 2, 5 and 6. Each ring is spaced 19mm or three quarters of an inch from the adjacent one.

Now look at the same sheet of paper when used in a 4 hole Pocket.

Notice how the rings have shifted to the bottom of the slots. The rings are still 19 mm from their immediate adjacent neighbours, but rings 2 and 3 are 51 mm or 2 inches apart...

Now the clever ones amongst you will say ah... that sounds familiar. Yes it is, because it is the same as Personal ring spacing.

So the slotted Pocket paper will slot directly in to Personal 6 ring binders in the middle.

If it's not slotted a modern 6 hole pocket page will not fit in 4 ring Pocket without punching new holes or 6 ring Personal or A5 without folding or adding another hole. Where as the 4 hole paper or slotted 6 holes will fit in to personal or A5 organisers.

So if you buy a 4 ring Pocket, you also need a Personal size punch because the hole spacing will be correct when the paper is put in the centre of the punch and just the middle punches are used to make the holes.

NOTE: As from January 2015 Filofax no longer sell slotted inserts that will fit the 4 ring organisers. Although you might still find stocks of slotted inserts in local shops.


  1. AH! I wondered why the FF Pocket inserts were slotted!

  2. Good compromise. How do the 4-ring versions look like?

    When did FF start producing sizes other than Personal? I think I read somewhere that for a long time, Personal was the only size available at the time.

    1. The four ring organisers I think were available in the late 1980's I'm not sure when the change over occurred to 6 rings.

      The paper size is the same, just the ring spacing and number of rings changed.

    2. Occasionally one of the 4-ring pockets comes up on eBay. I've seen two in the past 3 month

    3. I dont recall these being around in the 80s. All models at that time took the standard size paper. The only variations to what we now call "Personal" size was a double-width version marketed as "Deskfax". (Not the same thing as the later Deskfax models that were halfway between A5 and A4 and originally known as "The Desk Professional") and "Duplex" which was a two ring system, holding standard size paper.

      I remember A5 being introduced in 1992 as was "The Genie", which is what we now call "Mini" size and still has 5 holes. I'm fairly confident that 4-hole "Pocket" dates from the same period, but we need someone with some old catalogues to confirm this!

    4. As far as I can determine, the 4 ring pocket was in the range from 1989 to 1993.

  3. I bought my first pocket size which had 4 rings in 1991/92. The ring size was the smaller 15mm. My next pocket size purchase was around 10 years later and had six rings in the more common size we all know today of 19mm.

    Was an explanation given as to why they increased the number of rings? I don't see any benefit and imagine it would increase their costs. Unless of course it was to be in line with any standard sizes already established at the time?

    1. No it didn't seem to make much sense.
      As it stood, each smaller size insert also fitted into binders of the larger sizes. Pocket inserts fitted into personal, and both sizes also fitted into the larger 9 ring deskfax. I guess with the elongated holes this was still true, but there seems no obvious benefit of having 6 rings for such a small paper size.

    2. 6 rings evenly spaced (19mm apart) has been a standard size available in North America since before I went to university in the 1970s. I use a pocket Filofax, but use standard North American 6 hole paper, which is 127x76mm, compared to Filofax Pocket which is 120x81mm.

    3. Thanks Alan. That would explain the change from 4 to 6 and the hole positioning.

  4. I use one of these vintage, four ring pocket filofaxes, as part of my GTD system. The absence of a pen loop or strap means that it can slide more easily into my pocket. There are none of the flatability problems associated with many more modern binders, so it is easy to use with just one hand.

    I use personal sized paper, trimmed at the top and bottom, to completely match the height and width of the binder (I don't use tabs). I would find "pocket size" paper too small, so this is a good compromise, allowing me to "download or upload" from my personal sized filofaxes, such that I always have the next few days' worth of diary and projects in a pocketable format.