ScanCards are Back!

A few years ago, I found this node here, on DIYPlanner:
From then until very recently, I tried desperately to find a ScanCard binder. A few unsuccessful eBay attempts and a fortunate find at a thrift store and, ta da! Here is my genuine ScanCard Binder! It's used, but still in decent shape.

scancard binder front.jpg

This find came with SIX panels. Here is a picture of the inside of the binder. This panel actually has 24 slots on the front. The stamp in the top right says ScanCard System: Project Control Center.

scancard inside front panel 24.jpg

The back of the binder holds a legal pad. Pen loop to the left.

scancard inside back.jpg

Here are pictures of the panels. Each side holds 20, so 40 for each panel. This one has colored cards I cut for it. Each card measures 3 1/4 in. x 3.1/4 in.

scancard panel with cards.jpg

This panel is empty. You can see the slots.

scancard panel with out cards.jpg

This shows the flexibility of the card slots. Have you ever had a 3-ring binder cover fall apart? I'd say the plastic material is slightly heavier.

scancard panel plastic thickness.jpg

I have no idea how much/often/length of time these inserts were used, but the paper is very easy to slide in and out of the slots. To me, it's easier filling the slots starting at the bottom and going to the top. Sliding in...

scancard sliding in.jpg

And sliding out...

scancard sliding out.jpg

I'm very excited to have made such a find! At first, I worried about the size of the binder not being portable. However, I've split up the different panels and have separate homes for each.

scancard binders.jpg

The official Project Control center is leather. Although it's been well loved, I'm a teacher. If I kept this at school, I could run the risk of really damaging it. Or having it stolen. So, I keep the original binder at home. You can see the various 'home' tasks I have listed. The white binder is my running list of teacher tasks. The purple binder is the layout for this year's yearbook. (The top lists the page title, who will be on it, and the back lists my original ideas for the layout of each page.)

I tend to keep the white binder at school, the Project Control binder at home, and the only one that travels is the purple binder. There are times when I need to go run errands. I use this wallet, given to me by my friend George, to transfer back and forth. Here it is closed.

scancard wallet closed.jpg

And here it is open. These were index cards I cut up and edged with a highlighter.

scancard wallet open.jpg

At the end of each work day, I try to take out the cards I need to do tomorrow. As I think of something, I write it down and sort it at the end of the day. If the task will be completed at school, the card is slotted (or gets set out on my desk to be done for the next day). If the item on the card is a task I need to do at home or is an errand, I put the cards in the wallet and sort them at home. Easy!

I've only had this binder for a few weeks, but I already feel more organized!

1. I'm not wasting time re-writing lists.
2. If the note is short, I can get 8 notes per one card.
3. Each day I can see ALL areas of my life and work a little bit toward my various goals.
4. When dealing with big projects (ex: yearbook), I can visually monitor where I am.
5. Unlike other time management tools, this isn't a fussy system. I'm not having to determine if items are an A or C priority. I'm not wasting time filling out different forms to determine my next action. If I make a note about a certain student, I just pull out the card, and add it to the student's file. Simple.
6. I'm right brained, so I like SEEING my tasks. And being able to move my tasks around is magical to me. This system might really appeal to creative types.

1. I wish the inserts were small enough to fit in a Filofax or Day Timer.
2. Making my own cards is an exercise, for me, in patience.

The best part of this review? SCAN CARDS ARE BACK! You can buy the panels and cards (whew!) at:

Overall rating, I give ScanCards a 9.5 out of 10. (I want the panels in a smaller size and the good news is...the company is planning on producing them! YEY!)

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Thank you for posting this, especially the detailed photographs. It seems to me that an index or business card-sized system would not be that difficult to make--either in a vertical or a horizontal format.

What I am seeing in the construction is one piece of material that is sliced repeatedly for the amount of cards desired. It is then welded to another piece of the same material that is uncut to make a single-sided page. Put another sliced piece on the back and weld it on to make the double-faced page.

You could do the same thing with plastic pieces, though sourcing just the right weight could be tricky if report covers aren't the right stuff. Alternatively you could laminate some paper or cardstock and slice that up for your pockets. This if you were in the mood to DIY something in a custom size or configuration. Glue or staples or stitching would substitute for the welding..

This is interesting, I might try my hand at making a classic size pocket configuration just for my own amusement. (See that, copyright and patent holders? My OWN amusement.)


Your Welcome, Shris!

You've got the construction down. In fact, I tried making one of my own out of envelopes. It was tedious because I like symmetry but I'm too impatient to measure and take my time.

I just want them to come out with the small binder inserts soon. You can see one here if you zoom in:
There is a planner insert sitting on top of a regular insert on the bottom right hand corner.

However, I think they should make these gorgeous beauties:
Wouldn't 80's hot pink, neon orange, and lime green be reasonable colors? Truth be told, I think this style would sell like hot cakes. As far as I can figure, this is about the size of a checkbook. Portable and durable. Even if they only sell them in black, I'd buy one of these in a heart beat. I can always add my own colorful cover.

Dang, Shris! Now I want to bust out my duct tape, too. Ugh. However, I've promised myself no office supply tweaking/hacking/etc. until the end of the month (I have a yearbook deadline). So in the meantime, keep us posted on your OWN PERSONAL project, deal?


Duct tape


I would resist the duct tape idea, personally. It just has a tendency to gum up at the cut edges, and it'd stay sticky. Despite the fact that it comes in all sorts of patterns and colors now, it's just not my idea of style and grace.

I have a stash of two different weights of transparent vinyl, plus some laminated fabric (an Amy Butler pattern) that might all be suitable for messing around with this. The laminated fabric would be cheery, but not necessarily man-friendly.. The vinyl could be welded with a thermal sealer (I have one) or sewn. Not sure I'd recommend glue. The laminated fabric would be great for the portable system.

A while ago I made something kinda like that to hold all my stupid membership and discount cards in my purse, with a simple elastic closure. I used laminated fabric for the cover and transparent vinyl for the pockets. The pockets are not made the same as the scancard system, so they add bulk and weight that you wouldn't want for a card system. But it works fine for my purpose. For a small insert with just a few pockets, the same transparent vinyl pockets would probably work great, and they're much simpler to assemble than the fussy cutting required to duplicate the scancard slots.

The Amy Butler fabric is available at good fabric stores and online at places like The transparent vinyl is available at Walmart in the sewing section--it's intended as protective tablecloth covers and comes folded up in a package. There may also be vinyls on a roll so you can have them cut off just a yard or a half yard instead of buying a whole table's worth. Unfortunately you really have to sew the stuff together--you can't use the iron-on seam tapes because you can't iron the laminated fabric or the vinyl. But the stuff doesn't unravel, so it's pretty easy to work with.

Not real sure I'm going to pursue this, simply because I don't really need one. I have another solution for my little paper reminders and to dos (a magnetic stand) that satisfies me at the moment. But I see no reason why it wouldn't work.


I need another 'project' like another hole in the head

I understand your hesitation to try out your design, especially if what you have works for you.

I know duct tape isn't the most intelligent looking medium, and although I fantasize of making my own, I'll probably wait until the portable folio version is produced.

Maybe they'll come up with another design that is smaller and holds additional cards? Hmm, head's spinning with ideas now...

Impatiently waiting,



I can never resist futzing with an idea to see whether it works or not.

Today I made a template for the scancard-style slots. I made it for business card sized cards, since I'm about to change jobs and I have about 450 business cards left. I printed my template on lightweight cardstock (letter size) then folded the cardstock in half to make the front and back of a classic size page. I can get 14 business cards per side.

I only cut out a few of the slots, just to see how it all works. Being brand new and totally flat, it took some doing to get the cards into the slots. Some 'breaking in' will surely be required to make the pockets curl just a bit. I also haven't secured anything like it is on the original.

What I have learned:
* Having seven per column is a bit ambitious, the slots are only about an eighth inch apart, which strikes me as fragile. Having just 6 or 5 would allow the slots to be thicker and therefore more durable.
* Printing on the cardstock worked out just fine, and it was easy to cut on the lines with an xacto and ruler.
* You do have to be quite careful cutting, I slipped once and ended up with a place that would have to be mended if I really wanted to use this thing.
* Business card sized notes will be too small for me if I want to use this to track projects.
* the whole unit would be rather thick.
* using lighter-weight paper for the cards than business cards would be better--easier to slide in and out, I think.
* Laying out the template was dead easy in OOODraw. I am sure you could print a color picture on the stock as well, if you're into decorations.

Personally, I think I'd rather use a 3x5 card system and use the vinyl pockets instead. The slots will work fine, but they're rather fussy. I know I can get good results with my sewing machine without having the annoyance of slicing too far on one of the pesky slots. :)


don't you love tweaking?


Want to share pictures?


Fun stuff

Looking at this makes me wish I still used paper! The only thing I do on paper these days, though, is quick todo/shopping lists, and the ETP by David Seah. (and I do lists on those as well). But I really need my iPhone for the reminders, and now, with its geofences, it's become my indispensable tool for calendaring and reminders. (oh, and with Mountain syncing everything--calendar, reminders and notes), all my paper just fell into disuse (with my two exceptions above). But this stuff is awesome. Thanks!

There is always your birthday...

I'm glad you're one of the content.
As a digital planner, would you be interested in an electronic version of ScanCards? I think that would be a very welcomed app, personally.
Just curious...


Just starting to explore Evernote but from what I can see, you could do something similar though it would lack the at a glance overview and the ease of writing a quick few words on a card.

Bob H.

tell us how you get on=)

Tell us how Evernote is working. That program has always been on my 'someday/maybe' list.

And yes, I'm a big picture person. I tend to see everything all at once--and that's why I get overwhelmed. It's only by taking deep breaths, planning out things, and daily asking, "What can I do tomorrow?" that really keeps my blood pressure low and forward moving.

Based on your previous comments, though, I pegged you for paper based planning. Have you ever used Scancards? And you're in the UK, right?


Definitely still paper based

Definitely still paper based but like to explore the dark side from time to time. Presently exploring an Android Tablet which is what led me to Evernote.

Never used Scancards but have a general understanding of how it works from here and other sites. Actually living in Australia, not the UK, about an hour north of Sydney.


You're brave

You're super brave to 'explore the dark side.' The biggest draw back, for me, is the initial cost. Not to mention the time it takes to learn how to USE the technology.

As to my geographical flub as to where you're living, oops! I'd love to visit your country one day. I'd like to see the Red Rock at sunset, pet a wombat, and listen to the conversations around me in a pub. And it'll happen one day.


Not Brave.

Not brave, I spent 25 years in the computer industry prior to the current career move. Stuck with the paper planner though while everyone else was going Palm Pilot. Bob H.

There's just something about paper...

I call your above comment brave!

Evernote... Keynote...

Hm. I don't know. I know that I have used Keynote for something like storyboarding/organizing my thoughts/sermons, and it does fine, but something that was super manipulatable? Hm... Makes one wonder if something like this exists. It's funny, but I have just used what I had, and hadn't thought outside the box on this yet...


And I can't say I'm super content with digital. It just fits the need that I have to be persistently reminded, because I forget too easily. If I don't get it in my phone with a reminder, I flat-out forget about it! That has always been the weakest point in my paper-based systems.

I hear that!

I tried a used palm pilot 'back in the day', but I was afraid to bring it to work in case one of my students took it. So, I used it maybe for a week?

Can't say that Scancards give you a sound reminder, but if you get in the habit of reviewing daily, they offer a visual reminder.

The trick for me is writing it down. Once it's down, I'm safe.


How do you use the Scancards?

Back in the day, when I had a regular schedule, first as a student, and then with a "real" job, the paper worked, as I was able to include in the schedule looking at the paper (DayTimers back then), but my life is too irregular now a days, so I need the electronic alarms. Though I wouldn't forget my own birthday--my kids delight in reminding me I'm getting older too much. ;-)

So, to return to the subject of my reply, how do you use the Scancard system? Do you do project planning, organizing and tracking? just to-dos/scheduling? Organize writing? I downloaded an app today for my iPhone, SpringPad, that I thought would work like ScanCards, but it's nothing like what I thought it was. sigh... Maybe I should stick to using Keynote on the iPhone. (I'm thinking for things like sermon organization, or even larger projects...)


that's just can use Scancards any way you want=)

I use a calendar for meetings (but I don't have many of those) and I have a pretty routine schedule during the school day.

As for the ideas you mentioned, here's what I do--and keep in mind I've only been doing this for about a month--

Projects: I have 2 main projects in my life. Yearbook and a novel. For the Yearbook, I have 1 card per page, with lists, captions, etc. Sometimes, a page might end up with 2 or three cards.
My novel isn't as clearly defined. I might have scene notes on one card, I might have a character trait, or I might have a note saying "2 hours today--no excuses." When it comes to editing, I have a list of very specific things I need to change, so in that case once I'm done with one edit, I mark it off the list so I can visually see what I need to do next.

To do lists: Sometimes when I'm really overwhelmed, I'll make a to do list and it can even extend over onto several cards. I've written short grocery lists, too.

As far as scheduling goes, this summer I'd like to make up a list of all the different chores/household tasks that need to be done and set them up in a rotation. I don't know why, but I think if I get in the habit of cleaning for 20 min. a day, it'll keep my house cleaner and I won't feel so overwhelmed on the weekends.

Brain dump: I've already done this twice and it really feels like I've lifted a weight off my head. I grab cards and I just sit and think of all the things I need to do. I organize things after the fact. It's very interesting to see how many tasks are baby steps from a big project list.

Random things: I collect quotes, so I have several cards with quotes on them. Movies & book titles. Funny things that my husband says. Email addresses. You get the idea. The trick I've figured out so far is to put the cards where the information belongs. For example, I keep a list of books I want to check out in my wallet so when I'm at the library, I have the list with me. When I get a book title, I copy it down onto that page so I can either reuse the card or recycle. With an email address, I type it into my contacts, send them an email, and out the card goes. Movie titles get added to my Netflix queue.

Basically, Jon, you can use them however you want. I think that's why I like it. If I want to change something, I can.
That's part of the reason I hope they come up with MANY colors for the cards, so I can color code my life.

Does this help Jon?


Poor Man's Scan Cards

I got to the Hobby Lobby this past week and bought some transparent plastic album pages that hold 9 baseball or other trading cards each ($8/30 pages). Home Depot had packages of 100 Oxford 4 x 6 in. lined colored cards with lime green, orange, pink, and green in one package and blue green, olive, yellow, and red orange in another. From these I cut 2-1/2 x 4 in. Steve Cards in various colors. The tips of the cards extend a little above the page pockets. I put two cards in each pocket with the ruled sides facing opposite sides of the page. So it's easy to insert and withdraw the cards that are facing the "back." This assembly lacks the capacity density of Scan Cards, but it costs less than a $35 starter kit of two panels and 500 cards.

Steve, you are uber patient


I think I tried what you did with the baseball sleeves back in 2005, before I even learned about DIYPlanner. I used the backs of old business cards. But I had to write smaller than usual (which got old) and I couldn't use the back. And when I double stacked them, like you, I had a hard pulling out just one card, not both. However, you get a gold star from me for the name of your SteveCards--what a hoot!

But heavens, how much time did cutting all the cards take?

I want to note, for another $5, you could have ordered 2 panels and gotten 1,000 cards.


Cutting cards is pretty fast

if you have a decent guillotine cutter with an adjustable stop. Back when I was chopping up 5X8 cards into two 3X5 and a 2X5 (so I could have colored cards with portrait oriented lines), I could do a 100 pack in well under a half hour WHILE watching some brain-numbing sitcom.

good point


You bring up an excellent point. Tools 'make you or break you.' My cutter needs a good sharpening.

BTW, over spring break, I'm going to adjust my ScanCard Wallet into your Writer Hipster. I re-read your post about a week ago and got inspired. Need to remake my pictographs list, too=) Thank you so much for sharing your ideas, SusanBeth. I know I've thanked you before, but I genuinely appreciate your methods.


"Thank you so much for

"Thank you so much for sharing your ideas, SusanBeth."

You're very welcome. You've contributed far more here than I ever will.

"I know I've thanked you before, but I genuinely appreciate your methods."

Fast, cheap and easy. That's my mantra. :)

SusanBeth--you made my day!

You know how we all have 'one of those days'? Well, today is mine so the compliment is well timed. I do disagree on one point--you've certainly contributed plenty to this website.

And that's the nifty thing from D*I*Y*Planner. We can all take part: share, learn, or grow. Whatever we need, it's here!


Scanpan and stickies

It's an interesting folder and I can see why they were popular.

But I have to admit that when I looked at it the first thing I thought was - ah, I could so that with cropped manilla folder and a packet of sticky notes.

I suspect that post-it sticky notes were a large part of scanpan's demise.

Internet and the demise of ScanCard


No website is what brought about their demise. Fortunately, they have one now. Yes for us fans, whoo-hoo!


Classic Binder size

I've made a DIY version of this with plastic report cover vinyl for 3x5 index cards. I only made 4 slots though and use index card divider tabs to designate each slot: "To Do", "Reminders", "Waiting On", and "Important Info". I like being able to take out the index cards I need and put them in a shirt pocket for a meeting or errand. I use it in my Classic size binder.
The Scan Card system would be much more functional than the one I made, so I e-mailed the company to see if they're making a Classic size version and the response was,

"Yes, we do have plans to add a smaller control panel to fit the 8x5 3 ring binder. Hopefully we will have it available in the next 4-6 weeks."

Just wanted to provide the latest info.

Thanks for the great post Ostrander.



You are very welcome and that's super exciting! Whoo-hoo!


Nice - can you do this with index cards?

This looks like a really cool system. Can you use regular index cards in it or do they have their own special cards?

I have tried to use the Staples Arc business card holder or similar in the Circa system to do this using business cards or index cards. I am not sure I still have them.


I'd never thought of that!

I straight up feel like a moron. Do you know how much time I've wasted cutting index cards to 3x3???
They do have their own cards. Right now, they offer brown cards with lines. But they're working on different colors and styles, I believe (blank and grid).
Yes, the index card I just tested slides in perfectly.
However, you'd lose about 2 slots at the very top due to the extra height. Or they could stick up which might work for a book mark for different project urgent tasks.
BRILLIANT and thanks for the suggestion!

Now they have a Junior size (classic size 8 1.2 x 5 1/2)

McKinley American Leathercrafters, after some manufacturing troubles and a year later, has come out with a Scan Card system for the classic size notebooks. See:


Just saw the junior sized pages

I'm wondering how scan cards would work for GTD next actions. I can totally see it working for recurring tasks. This is what I was thinking when I discovered the circa junior sized index card holder pages (which were discontinued). I'm almost afraid to jump on the bandwagon for fear they might be discontinued ... the same way any tv show I like seems to be, incidentally.