25 February 2015

Plunging Back into Page Formats by Nan

As long-time readers of this blog may remember, I cured my chaotic planner experimentation 8 years ago by making a commitment: Filofax as a brand and A5 as a size. After experimenting with Pocket as a satellite/wallet format, I settled on Personal as an adjunct format. I even ended up using Personal as my only planner format for over a year, with a large Moleskine as my journal. Even that was a departure...for years I insisted that even my journals be exactly A5 so I could swap pages with the A5 Filofax. Now, U.S. letter size is insinuating itself back into my life!

Can you tell I have a tough time dealing with multiple formats? Even as a kid it bugged me that my writing paper and the handouts from my teachers were two different sizes. It wasn't until college that I figured out that you could get letter-size loose leaf paper.

I joined a diet group recently, and the handouts and food log forms are letter-size. We were told, "Print out your menus and carry them with you everywhere." WHAT? A Filofax blogger carry letter-size paper? For now, I'm doing so by folding the sheets in half and slipping them into an A5 Flex cover along with my journal.

I will need to start using a letter-size binder to store all these handouts, forms, and recipes I print out from websites, which are formatted for letter-size paper as well.

And so it begins. Now I'm thinking I may as well use letter-size for work instead of my current A5, for the sake of consistency. Otherwise, I'll be shuffling around three different paper sizes every day--Personal, A5, and letter-size--and that will make me crazy. Sure, I currently have some letter-size documents at work, but they're things that I read, put in files, and refer to. Using and writing on letter-size paper is a different story, and it's something I haven't done for a decade!

My other alternative is figuring out how to format and print letter-size materials for A5 paper. Or is that even crazier?


  1. Is there any prospect that the US might one day consign Letter size to history in favour of the ISO standard sizes (incl. A4 and A5), in the same way that Foolscap sizes have become obsolete in the UK?
    That would ease your size dilemmas a bit Nan. Reducing or folding A4 down to A5 is much easier.

    1. A4 paper is available in the U.S., but it's rare. I don't think it will change in my lifetime. Since writing this post, I've gone back to doing as much as possible in my own Filofaxes, and limiting letter-size paper to reference documents.

    2. Sounds like a good policy Nan. Limit the use of Letter sheets to where they arrive to you uninvited!

    3. gmax: I'd be surprised if North America adopts A-sized paper widely in my CHILDREN'S lifetime. A4 paper is almost 2 cm longer than Letter sized, so switching to A4 would render almost every filing system in use in North America obsolete.

  2. I used to have an American lit professor who used letter size paper in an A4-environment (Germany). It drove me crazy, until I started using letter size paper for my notes.
    As to your idea of how to format and print letter-size materials for A5 paper. That is no crazy idea. In your printer options, choose: "Print to Format A5". That works like a charm. I'm doing this all the time. I started using an A5 filofax a couple of weeks ago (yes, I am a newbie) and have been printing differently formatted documents this way. No problems whatsoever.

  3. Fortunately, different sized paper in one binder does not bother me. I'm currently using FC Compact (4.25" x 6.75") calendar inserts, and FF Personal for everything else. The differing sizes does make my binder look snaggle toothed, but it works wonderfully for my system.

    I like to have all lists and notes ( on Personal size) sandwiched between the applicable week. Then the weeks tucked between the month (FC Compact) inserts. I'm too lazy to keep flipping through to different sections, and would get myself so lost that even a roadmap wouldn't help. Major planner...uh "user" fail.

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  5. Nan, if you scan your handouts to a PDF, you can then scale and print them to A5, or any other page size you might require

  6. Hi I'm a college student looking for a planner where I can list my class times by day, professors office hours, tutoring hours ,make notes /to do lists (especially when professors use the last min. Of class to make important announcements. Basically , I need to stay organized so I can focus on what I need to do. I've seen a couple brands of planner (van der spek, kiki.k, Filofax,etc.) But as I stated before I'm in college , so I could use a planner with rings that I can customize (in case I need to insert a syllabus from classes) &that won't break the bank. Any recommendations ?