16 November 2023

Making Filofax Personal Size Your Everyday Organiser

A lot of people use Filofax Personal Size, most probably more than any other size in the range of sizes available. 

If you are not using Personal Size here are some things to consider that might get you to change your mind about using it or changing to it.  

  • It has been available for the longest period of time of all sizes, so there are plenty of organiser designs and styles available. 
  • Ring sizes from as small as 10/11mm to a whopping 30mm. The smaller sizes being slim enough to fit in to a jacket pocket or take up very little space in your handbag/purse
  • A large range of inserts are available including pre-printed ones from a large range of suppliers. 
  • Price range of organisers is vast, from a few £ € $ to hundreds, but you don't have to spend a lot of money to get an organiser that is perfectly functional. 
  • Vintage organisers.... true vintage as well are available.
As with all sizes, you should test out the page size with just some sheets of paper (95x171mm) to see if your typical week in your own hand writing is going to work or not. Also this will help with what sort of diary insert you are going to need. 

The most common size of rings is between 23-26mm, in those sizes you will find a vast range of organisers to choose from both in clasp closure and zip closure. Mostly they will only have one pen loop, some have two pen loops. 

The larger 30mm ring organisers in Personal Size if you fill them up can become quite bulky. With the Gillio Mia Cara with 25mm or in the case of Moterm Versa 30mm rings you can have a two part organiser, with an outer 'jacket' and a separate inner organiser. These can carry a lot of supplementary paper work, but they are much bigger and heavier, but they both still use Personal Size pages. These are not the sort of organiser you can easily put in your pocket!

Gillio Mia Cara (Medium/Personal Size)

If you have been using an A5 or larger organiser, adapting to the smaller page size might take a while, but don't give up, give it some time, a week or two at least. 

One disadvantage for me is that Personal Size pages aren't in the same height/width proportions as the regular ISO sizes (A4, A5, A6 etc) this means that a Personal Size page has to be specifically designed for that size, not just simply scaled down from a larger size. Also printing Personal Size pages on that size paper can be tricky if your printer is a little fussy about the smaller size pages. 

Have you considered changing to or back to Personal Size? 


  1. I’ve had a couple of years largely in Personal Compact. However, for 2024, I’ll be back in A5 with a Pocket Slim satellite. As well as the reasons you list, being a left-hander and struggling to write around the ring mechanism is the biggest issue for me. Also, most men don’t wear suits or jackets these days. If I’m carrying my man bag, I might as well carry a compact A5.

  2. I changed to personal size after a number of years in pocket size. It’s working well and there is such a wide range of inserts. Pocket size just became too small. I’m currently using a Filofax personal compact Holborn and find it is ideal for my current needs.

  3. I used personal for a long time but I'm experimenting with a bound book because I find the binder bulky. If only I could stop overstuffing my binder, I could use personal compact. A B6 weekly has the perfect amount of space for me, but a B6 binder would be way too big.

    Yesterday I was a bit distracted in a meeting with my boss, and she asked me what I was thinking. I confessed that I was weighing up the pros and cons of different sizes of notebooks. She was surprised and has clearly never been down this particular rabbit hole. She said, it doesn't matter what size your notebook is, it's how you use it. Mind blown! I wish I could stop obsessing over planner size but I just can't! Help!

    1. There it is. Me in my finest. Always do that.

  4. After my first four or so years using the Lefax personal size, I switched to a Franklin classic size planner (analogous to the Filo A5, I guess), which was great initially - especially the extra writing space - but that thing was BIG, and I got tired of lugging it around. The personal just works for me.

  5. My first was a pocket filofax. Never used it as I was still at school. Much m later on I got a personal sized filofax. Useable but only on the right hand side. Could not get much use out of the left side because of the rings.

    New job I got a finsbury A5 secondhand and found I got writing real estate back on m the left. Also being big and heavy I never use it except on a desk. My personal got more use writing in hand.

    The only issue is at 30mm rings the finsbury is heavy if you fall into the trap of filling it. Once I realised that mistake I took a lot out and at least it's not too heavy. It is bulky and I did see a guy in a meeting at work with a stuffed personal that looked a lot thinner. I admit I felt jealous.

    Having said all this my metropol in personal still feels very thick and bulky. I'm not sure that's much better than my finsbury.

    I'm very jealous of Americans because they can get plotter usa binders. They are very compact even in A5! I'm not sure even filofax compact are as compact as plotter usa binders. I might try to find a compact filofax to see what they're like. Unfortunately they're not to be found in any local stationery shops. We only have rymans and whsmith stores near us. They're never great for filofax.

  6. My day-to-day is the 30mm ring personal Filofax Norfolk, but I rarely take it out of the house. It’s just too heavy. Inside my bag is my pocket sized FF slim Ostrich. It’s perfect to whip out when I’m booking appointments or scribbling notes. Two weeks ago I attended a conference in Denver, and my personal slim FF Eaton went with me. It easily held all my credit/cash cards, and I used it for taking notes from the presentations I attended (thank you, Alan!). We were pretty squeezed in together so a full notebook just would not do. All in all the personal size is perfect for me.

  7. How did you know? You just caught me in the act!
    In fall of last year, I had decided to come clean with the different formats laying around: Filo A5, Personal, Pocket and my beloved Loehn-Method A6 book (reduced A6 - 87*150mm). The small A6 is always with me since it fits everywhere (I've 2 versions, 8mm and 13mm rings).
    So, I sold my iconic Kensington and and the red Winchester and operated with A5 (zipped Travelfax) on my desk and the A6 in the pocket.

    But somehow, I missed my Filo - not because the functionality being superior or so...just for the venerable brand and its history - call it nostalgy. The idea was to replace the A5 on the desk with a Filo of some sort.
    Ebay was good to me and provided me with a like-new Personal Chester with 23mm rings.
    Now, my analog (paper)-stack doesn't fill the 23mm and - again, ebay came to the rescue: I'm waiting for the arrival of a Cavendish Compact (15mm). Going from no Filo for over a year to 1 and another one a week later - nirvana! ;-D

    Bon weekend,

  8. Two things on this topic:
    The *revelation* for me was the only-somewhat-smaller rings in the Heritage Personal Compact. The middle-ish ring size hits the sweet spot for me--the organizer lays flat, the rings don't fight with my hand when I write, and the organizer holds more than the smallest-size rings. I have been using a personal and an A5 for--good grief!--thirty-five years, and this new organizer made me feel my Filofax joy of old!
    And the Plotter Bible size refills fit perfectly in the new organizer and are a delight to write on with a fountain pen--and take up less space that the Filofax refills. And oh boy, the paper is a delight! I would quibble with the calendar layout a bit, but not having the ink bleed and feather is just about perfect. (once again, the Filofax joy of old!)
    PS. Even with its deficits, the Plotter monthly layout is SO much better than the Filofax brand, since Filofax started putting the tail end of the next month on the monthly layout--and then repeating it on the next page. Why were they thinking? (I know I could download the many great layouts here, but I am a klutz at the printing--tried it once and put a curse on my printer from which it has never recovered. Or at least that's my story.)

  9. Personal versus A5 -- the quintessential Filofax dilemma! The post hits the high points. Personally, I have used each size for several years. I love the portability of the personal size, but the bigger A5 page is just so much better for business use. If you carry a briefcase or bag, just put your A5 Filofax in it and stop debating. If you need to print material for insertion into your Filofax, go with A5... it works well with most office printers and photocopiers, even in North America. If you travel a lot, a personal size is super convenient (maybe use a separate notebook). But when I retire I will most probably go back to using a Personal size, and splurge on a high-end binder. TIP Print an A4 monthly calendar from Outlook, fold and punch it, and insert it into your A5 binder if you don't like the monthly layout. Great hybrid solution for business users!