D*I*Y Planner Hipster PDA Edition Read Me

D*I*Y Planner 3.0 Hipster PDA Edition

Templates and text are ©2004-2006 Douglas Johnston except where noted

About the Hipster PDA Edition

The D*I*Y Planner 3.0 Hipster PDA Edition is a series of do-it-yourself 3"x5" (index card size) templates for planning and organisational purposes. It was created as a supplement to the D*I*Y Planner 3.0 kit and the templates are re-designed for the smaller paper size.

Please note that these instructions are meant to compliment the D*I*Y Planner Handbook (included with the regular kit), and as such only detail the differences in the two editions.

This package is available in three forms: 1-up, 2-up and graphics. Depending on your printer, paper stock, software and set-up, one format will probably make more sense than the others. Please read the descriptions below and decide for yourself.

For more information about the Hipster PDA, as conceived by Merlin Mann, please visit www.hipsterpda.com.

If you have any questions, please read the Frequently Asked Questions, as the answer is likely to be there.

The 1-Up Version

The 1-Up version is meant for printing directly onto 3"x5" index card stock. However, your printer may not be able to handle margins that are, by necessity, close to the edge. Your forms may be clipped. If your printer is capable of full-bleed printing or has no problems with 1/8" (3mm) margins, and you have the appropriate index (record) card stock, this is probably the best format for you. Simply feed the cards into the printer (perhaps in an envelope tray), and print. Do not let Adobe Acrobat resize, scale or centre the documents.

The 4-Up Version

The 4-Up version is meant for printing four adjacent cards onto letter-size (8.5" x 11") card stock and then you can cut the page apart with a guillotine or scissors. If you want to print double-sided cards (for example, the monthly 'flip card'), simply turn over the paper and print again.

Since the four cards are exactly centred on the page you should be able to print these on A4 paper as well. Just remember to tell Acrobat to centre (but not scale)the document.

You can usually find a decent 'paper' guillotine at office supply and department stores for between 30-60 USD. Avoid 'rotary trimmers' and get one with a self-sharpening chopper arm. For an example, see the GBC GT II Series Trimmer, 15in., which is a great investment for a fairly low price, and you'll probably be passing it on to your grandchildren.

The Graphics Version

The graphics version is for those people who:

  • Have problems printing with the supplied PDFs because of their printers (or cranky Acrobat settings).
  • Want to use a different layout programs, such as Freehand, Illustrator, CorelDRAW or OpenOffice.org Draw.
  • Use Avery perforated forms, or similar, and want to paste the D*I*Y templates into their regular layout program.
  • Use different paper sizes and want to arrange the templates to make the best use of space.
  • Want to make minor modifications to the templates such as changing colours, titles, spacings or supplied text.
  • As this covers quite a number of possibilities and setups, they cannot all be covered here. What we can recommend is to try layouts using the free OpenOffice.org Draw (you can put a different card on each 'slide') and graphics manipulation using the free application The Gimp. The D*I*Y planner uses the free font named Blue Highway.

For those who are curious about such things, the file format used is 8-bit PNG, and should work well with almost any modern bitmap graphic application.

Please note that these graphic files are released under a Creative Commons Non-Commercial No-Derivatives licence. However, I waive the no-derivatives part if you wish to make modifications of these files for your own personal use. If you make something you'd like to share, please see our How-To: Submitting a Template page.

Printing Tips

It seems that a lot of people have issues with odd paper sizes, different types of stock, and bewildering printer setups. Most of these issues can be avoiding by keeping a few things in mind while setting up to print your cards.

Print Resolution
Because of the small fonts and subtle greys you should use a fairly high resolution when printing, at least 600 dpi. However it is equally important to bear in mind the quality of coating on the paper. Too high a dpi can be as bad as too low. My Mac OS X print dialog does not allow me to choose DPI, I find that if I set the Print Mode to be the highest quality possible for the paper (under 'Detailed Setting'), it works beautifully. Your own settings will depend heavily upon your OS and drivers.
Card Stock
You should certainly use coated (or otherwise hi-res) card stock. If not, you will experience some muddiness and bleeding of ink, making it difficult to read the small fonts. For example, we find 110lb (280-300 gsm) bright white card stock is absolutely perfect on one side (the one with the best coating), and very good on the other. However, the generic index (record) cards we picked up at the local department store result in small type that is almost illegible.

By way of weight, you probably want between 60lb and 110lb (160-300 gsm)(with the typical index card being about 90lb (240 gsm), I'm guessing). Keep in mind that weight is very much a personal preference: you may prefer lighter and thinner cards if you like to carry around a lot of them, or heavier ones if they undergo extensive usage (such as monthly and yearly calendars). Or you may prefer a mix of weights in your set. De gustibus.

Whatever you choose, be sure to experiment with your printer settings, printing a test page each time (on both sides, if you intend to print double-sided). You may find, for example, that choosing "Plain Paper" results in far less ink being laid than "Matte Photo Paper", and therefore the fonts will look far more crisp. This was the case with my Canon i350 under Mac OS X. Your mileage will certainly vary.

Printing Margins
Because of the limited space on 3x5" cards, these templates were designed with 1/8" (3mm) margins. Many printers have minimum 1/4" (6mm) margins, and so you will experience clipping. If this is the case with your setup, you should use the 4-Up version, or the graphics version in your own layout program (which should allow you to resize as necessary).
Saving Ink
There are a number of ways to save ink, depending on your printer. First, try printing the black-and-white templates in 'Grayscale' mode. While the resolution might be slightly lower, you aren't going to use a lot of colour ink to simulate black as many inkjets do, even if they have a black cartridge. (Silly, yes, I know.) Second, try printing with your media set to "Plain Paper". Many printers lay on less ink in this mode, sometimes less than half of that used for photo, matte or inkjet paper. Third, and I know this is common sense, only print what you need. Some people get carried away with printing a tonne of templates at the very start, only to find that many of them are ill-suited for their planning style.


The D*I*Y Planner kits evolve constantly, and I always consider them to be works in progress. If you have any comments about them, please feel free to contact me through my contact form. I'd love to hear any suggestions you might have, and I'll certainly listen to any proposed areas of improvement or new templates you would like to see.

Take care, stay loose, be kind, and do things right.

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printing 1up on a canon pixma ip4300

I've had success printing single cards on a Canon PIXMA iP4300, but it's taken more
coercing than I expected. It doesn't support 3x5 in the driver natively. I've had to
lie about the paper quality and order it to print borderless. You have to adjust the paper
guides carefully to prevent skew, and it doesn't seem to support duplex printing cards.

> Because of the limited

> Because of the limited space on 3x5" cards, these templates were
> designed with 1/8" (3mm) margins. Many printers have minimum 1/4"
> (6mm) margins, and so you will experience clipping.

Solution I use is to scale the page 97% (File|Page Setup in OSX).
What can I say? I like the convenience of printing only one card.

Hipster on 4 X 6

I used the full sized (monarch) Franklin planner in college and as I get older I find that 3 X 5 index cards are just too small. My printer has a photo tray and my ink comes with 4 X 6 photo paper...so when I choose to go hipster I just bought the larger index cards.

I read somewhere that storage was a problem for someone. There are index card boxes and drawers of all sizes. I keep my old cards in a drawer with a monthly index so I can reference months past if I need to.

Printing planner into Avery Index Cards #5388

Hi ive been using your DIY planner kits and man are they amazing. Ive been printing them in regular A4 paper but the quality is too soft and so I went down to my local office supply store and found these. Im not sure how to print these considering its 3 cards per page and the cards are in the center not in the edges.

I see two possibilities

Punch them out and print on them individually - but it would be cheaper to just buy cards
return them and buy some A4 card stock
"I think the surest sign that there is intelligent life out there in the universe is that none of it has tried to contact us." (Calvin and Hobbes/Bill Waterson)

Avery has a template

If you go to Avery's website, they have a template for those cards. Then you can use the 1-up graphics image of the cards and paste them into the template. Sorry I'm not being extra clear. I did this a couple of years ago. The reason I don't anymore is because the Avery Cards are expensive (or at least seemed so to me at the time).

A valid solution

That would work, but it seems to be a lot of trouble.

And wasteful ! 3 cards out of one page !!

a 4-up block fits, and you can actually get 5 -- a column of three in landscape and then a column of 2 in portrait

5 cards like that make a block that fits in a rectangle 8 by 10 inches, so it will work for either US letter or Euro A4

for that matter, a 4-up is only 6 by 10, once again, fitting on either size page.
"I think the surest sign that there is intelligent life out there in the universe is that none of it has tried to contact us." (Calvin and Hobbes/Bill Waterson)

Easiest solution is to shift

Easiest solution is to shift from paper to card stock. You can stick with the A4 size, and keep all of your hardware. The cardstock should be available at your local office supply store.