the compact dilemna

I was wanting to get some nice paper and print out a DIY planner for my wife... The fact that most calendar planner refills cost twice as much as a plane calendar is just craziness. I realize there's a quality different, but I don't think that accounts for it...

Here's the issue: she has a cute little Franklin planner she is very happy with. That's just an odd size... She says it is perfect for her. Small, but not too small. If it was any bigger it would be too big and any smaller she would not have room to write much without running into the rings. That's what she says.

A couple ideas I've been tossing around... First off there's the Levenger Compact size. Problem there is they are skinnier than the FC Compact by almost a whole inch. I don't know if she'd like it. I've also considered just shrinking some of the Classic size pages to Compact and see how that turns out.

I've messed around a bit tonight with chopping a letter size page in fourths, and also 4x6" index cards. Both of those options are pretty easy to get a hold of or make the paper, but I don't know how easy it would be to find a binder for either of those sizes.

She insists on having a zipper binder so none of the pieces fall out. I can't blame her. I like zipper binders too. Hopefully I'll be able to snag one from Levenger in the next couple months. Hopefully after they switch the Junior over to Classic size.


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talking to myself

OK. I'm going to be an oddball and reply to myself. I tested out a couple of ideas. I started out with the 4x6" index cards since I have a stack of them. Circa punched on the side, there is room for 6 rings. This seems like a nice size, especially since I can buy a blank pack of these cards at the Wal-Mart for less than $1. I think that was a pack of 100, and they are just the right thickness for use in a Circa notebook.

After punching enough 4x6" cards to toss in this little homemade Circa notebook, I realized that there is one thing that on its own nearly puts things in favor of the quarter page notebook: 4ups!

Both the 4x6" index card and quarter page sizes are close enough to Compact that I don't think it will make a huge difference. The only thing that might be quite tricky is finding a zipper binder to hold it.

One odd idea I had. Since one of my wife's complaints about smaller planners was the rings getting in the way, I wonder if top-binding this thing might not be a bad idea? I just don't know how that would work in a zipper binder.


rite in rain 4x6

I believe they had some 4x6 holders... circa notebook, top bound might fit :) worth a look :)

my artwork | my blog

Why change?

Hi Kenny,

If your wife likes her Franklin planner why change it? You could make templates to fit it.

Yup, why?

I agree with Katrina.

Kenny, if your wife prefers a size (and feature) of a planner convenient for her why then force her to adopt something she doesn't like?

I prefer A5 and have a FiloFAX binder; my wife also has a FiloFAX binder but Personal. One of my children prefers small notebooks like the Moleskine reporter books but at a very specific size -- neither A5 nor Personal nor Moleskine size nor A7, which is the nearest closest size available here in England. Soon I hope that they will have notebooks in this unusual size once my Rollabind punch arrives. Though how they will create the rounded corners that demand I haven't worked out. We've each made our choices and wouldn't want to change what any of the others uses. Forcing my wife or child to alter their habits for my own convenience would likely result in divorce or similar.

Writing is such a personal thing that even the slightest alteration to paper size, paper weight, surface, binding can stopper the creative juices.

rounded corners

Though how they will create the rounded corners that demand I haven't worked out.

This little puzzle has been solved - check scrapbooking stores/sites for punches or page trimmers for just this purpose. Or make a jig out of something like pressboard, and trim with a craft knife.

Second that

If your wife likes her Franklin planner why change it? You could make templates to fit it.

Second that. Worst case is you would have to buy an appropriate size hole punch. Everything here is scalable and adjustable.

"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)

reasons for changing

I've got two reasons for possibly wanting to change, besides the availability of paper (quarter letter size and 4x6" index cards are both pretty easy). First: I've got a Rollabind punch and Circa rings and I like using them. Second: I think she'd really like the Grapemist from Levenger That color is so her, and it would look so cute in Compact size. But then we're back to the original paper size problem.

I feel a Compact size FC hole punch and a paper cutter in my future.

One more thing. In reply to ygor's comment below, she is using Compact size. I showed her pocket size and she says it is way too tall and skinny for her liking. I guess I'll just be scaling templates to see which ones work best. I did find a compact size 3up digging around the templates section. I may end up making some of my own. Too bad the FC form wizard software doesn't work on a Mac :-(


Courage, young jedi, there is hope

Too bad the FC form wizard software doesn't work on a Mac :-(

Would you like to beta test some stuff I am developing ?
I'd appreciate an objective opinion.

Do you develop on the Mac at all ?
I can provide code if you do, or a stand-alone app if you do not.
"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)

I'm up for it

I'm always up for playing with some new toys, I mean beta testing software ;-)

Most of the development work I've done has been web-based or command line work. I've been wanting to learn how to develop Mac applications. If it isn't too much trouble, could you send me the app and the code?


paper sizing

if paper size is the only problem your local printshop can help with that. You may be surprised at how cheap it is to get paper professionally cut to size. A ream of photocopied forms usually costs me less than the price of the paper to get it cut.

If you want the paper cut before you print on it it's especially cheap, as can you ask the printshop if they have any "ends" left over from previous print-jobs where paper was cut to size. I've bought cut paper very, very cheaply this way as the printers usually throw out the guillotined ends anyway.

Best price was Feb this year when I got just over 1,000 Fobster sheets cut from left-over parchment weight paper for $3, and that price was for the paper and the cutting!

Some other ideas

Is not this the 3.75x6.something size? Aren't there a few templates here on the site? What about those?

Also, I would try scaling other sizes to this size. My first thought is the hipster size--it might scale up properly. Otherwise, you might try the A5 size (Classic for European). However, I suspect that the best proportions will come from the 3x5 hipster templates...


Pocket or Compact ?

Pocket FC size is 3.5 by 6
Compact FC size is 4.25 by 6.75

Pocket is too tall and skinny for any of the current templates to fit without leaving a large top/bottom margin.

I'd try both Hipster and A5 templates and see what looks better to you.

Good luck.
"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)

Try 4-up on legal size

For compact FC forms, try printing 4-up on legal size paper. That would give you 4.25 x 7 inches, which would probably fit the FC planner well enough.

My wife won't give up her FC compact planner, but she won't use it either -- which is a whole different discussion...

Do you procrastinate?

legal size?

I'm not sure my printer does legal size. Also, I'm 99% sure it won't do duplex. Maybe time for a printer upgrade...

For a while my wife would only use hers for important phone numbers. This year I got the calendar refills for her and she said "Well, I guess I better start using this thing now." Not sure how much she's using it for, but I know it is at least doctors appointments and major deadlines for her job on top of the important phone numbers use.


Letter v Legal

If you have any old printer that does regular 8.5x11" Letter size, it will do 8.5 x 14" Legal without batting an eye. Now duplex... if your printer did that, you'd know it. A pricy feature, not found on the average home printer.


I never finish anyth

it's becoming more common

My now-old Canon Pixma iP3000 does duplex, as do, I believe, all Pixma iP3x00 series and 4x00 and 5x00 series Pixmas. However, don't take that to the store. Check before you buy...


IP 6000 too

My Canon IP 6000D duplexes.
"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)

Who uses a pocket?

Under what circumstances is a pocket useful? As small as it is, I can't imagine.

I use one...

And it's tiny. Originally, this was a Good Thing as I would haul it to meetings and other locations more comfortably. My usage is uneven, though -- some days are nearly blank, and some days I'm cramming in everything I can into the tiny pages, inevitably spilling "backwards" into prior-day note pages or blanks inserted afterwards.

I'm thinking switching to a DIY classic size, probably in landscape mode since I'm more interested in writing across than down, and to integrate with plans for a vertical-format 3x5 "walkabout" satellite planner.

It's larger than 3x5s!

When I was a student, I used a Daytimer Jr. Pocket (3x5) wirebound. That was my life. I kept _everything_ in it. It came, though, with extra note space in the back, and inserts of various sorts as well, which I often used. Those inserts used the same concept as the Rollabind system. I used it for almost all my college career (I crammed four years into six), and it did great. Granted, I was much younger, and my fine motor skills were much better then. ;-) But if you are careful, you might be surprised how much you can cram into a tiny space.


4.25x6.75 templates available...

of various types are already available on I've used them to print out various things for a discontinued six ring FC compact size binder I bought several years ago from Levenger. I think it was made to fit FiloFax sizes, but the holes line up with standard six ring binders. As some have suggested, one could print the DIYplanner classic size 2-up template, 2-up, resulting in 4-up. If you can do that on 8.5 x 13 paper, it'd be perfect. :-)

Actually, I've found that the rings get in the way (I'm right handed) when trying to write on the backside of the pages. Just experienced that tonight taking notes in my six ring binder. It works better with Circa/Rolla discs.


The only reason for time is so that everything doesn't happen at once.
B. Banzai?

Very thoughtful of you

Your wife would be impressed if she knew how hard you are working to make something she would enjoy. That's very nice. That's the kind of thing that keeps marriages together !!! Good for you.

current compact vs. purple

My wife and I have a great relationship. We've known each other over 10 1/2 years, been married about 6 1/2.

I actually asked her tonight if she'd be interested in switching to a compact Grapemist Circa. She said her current planner works and it's cute so she really has no interest in switching. So I guess we have until December sometime to decide if she wants to get a hole punch or whichever weekly calendar pages she thinks are the cutest.

She did have a fun idea: glow in the dark Circa rings!



i have glow in the dark nailpolish... how cool would it be to paint in the centers of the discs! granted im not too good at reading and writing in the dark :(

oh ... have you thought about one of those swingline punchers i posted about that has the 7 moveable holes?

my artwork | my blog

hole punches & nail polish

I've tried writing in the dark and never could read what I wrote. The glowing rings would make it possible to find the notebook in the dark, and then maybe one of those LED pens so you could see what you're writing without turning the light on? That may be good for those times I wake up at 2 AM with a good idea and then have no idea what the idea was the next morning.

As for the punches with the movable holes, I think I'll pass on that. I have a plastic letter size FC punch (hardly ever use letter size any more), plastic and metal classic size, and a Rollabind punch. I think the only thing I'll need to be able to punch any size I'm likely to use is the Compact/Pocket size hole punch. I'm thinking of just getting the metal one. That plastic ones don't work very well and their only advantage is you can fit them in your planner.


FC probably a good source for the compact punch...


I had bought the Swingline adjustable 7 hole punch, only to find that there was no provision for it to match up with the 6 hole FC compact/DayRunner/DayTimer size binders. It would have been a huge disappointment, except that I got it cheap on a special sale and because it can still punch 7 hole Classic size pages. I could have drilled new mounting holes for the punches, but it would be no easy task to line them up precisely. I ended up buying a Compact size metal punch on the FC website when I happened to see it on sale. It was quite reasonable and does the job well. That'd be my suggestion. And, as you're already noted, the FC punch is adjustable for the smaller Pocket size too.

Yeah, I wouldn't bother with the plastic punches. I have a DayRunner one and it doesn't hold up.


The only reason for time is so that everything doesn't happen at once.
B. Banzai?


do you have a model number on that swingline? Im looking at buying one with 7 holes for my birthday in July... : o

my artwork | my blog

FC punch

HI: I bought a FC punch on ebay for my compact, but it's supposed to also work for another size. Classic? Anyway, I can't seem to figure out how to make it line up correctly for my six-hole compact binder. I suspect I'm overlooking the obvious, but any help you could give would be appreciated.


Pocket size, I think

I have the FC punch as well, and it works for their "Pocket" size and "Compact" One set of the dies can be moved to adjust the position of the holes.