Struggling with what size planner to use

I have been struggling with this for a long, long time. I like the space in a letter size but I also want the portability of a classic. I switch back and forward (and end up losing information.) At the moment I am using a letter but dread everytime I have a meeting having to a) lump it to the meeting and b) take up half the table space when I open it.

Being in Australia I think we have a reduced product range from all of the day planner manufacturers. I have never been able to find any binders in B5, though reading this forum, I think there are others out there in the same boat.....

I did up a diary myself in B5 that I got coil bound. The size was perfect as it had space to write everything down and it was easy enough to carry about. A ring binber in B5 would be perfect.

Does anyone have thoughts or ideas?

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B5 binder? Two chances

Hello dmac,

Firstly welcome. I hope you get as much from this site and its contributors as I have.

Australia adopted the 'A' standard sometime back in the 1970's. As a result, importers and local manufacturers only provide binders in the A3/A4/A5 sizes. Some foolscap binders are available if you want to look hard but I think this is for historic reasons only.

Bottom line, I doubt a B5 ring binder can be bought in Australia, or more correctly, easily bought.

The best I can suggest is to (a) try where you got your B5 paper, (b) try specialist scrapbooking retailers as they have different sizes or (c) compromise and use either A4/letter or A5/classic.

If you went DIY I would suggest any ring mechanism you sourced would be to the 'A' standard rather than 'B'.

Sorry I cannot help more.

Bob H.

I have to agree that letter

I have to agree that letter (also known as foolscap) is a redundant size in Australia, as is B5. It's almost impossible to get paper in that size, except in some legal forms that still maintain that standard. B5 is prevalent in countries that haven't moved to metric measurement or keep to both metric and Imperial (inches & feet) measurements.

A4 (standard printer paper) and A5 (half A4) are readily available here in Australia and the planners reflect that.

I recommend that you investigate binders in the A5 size as you can easily incorporate folded standard A4 business paper into them, you can also get them in 2 ring sizes. You may find that if you're using a folder that fits your business papers easily that you're less tempted to swap planners.

If you don't want to DIY, Collins' Debden refills come in different sizes and suit lots of binders. David Jones stock them as do most of the office stationery chains (eg Corporate Express). And Filofax are found in lots of upmarket stationers.

Having said all that, the hardest thing I've found with planning is truly accepting that it's a mindset and not a set of stationery. I regularly changed planners and formats until I accepted that changing the stationery wouldn't solve that unsolvable deadline or ingrain planning habits in me. It was me that had to improve and it took quite some time to do it.

I'm still a work in progress ... :)

P.S. If you're after a spiffy binder in A4 or A5, check out the local websites that sell binders etc for executive conferences. The sites say that you need a large minimum order but in these tight times I suspect they may be happy to sell single binders, K

Collins Debden

Collins Debden make a planner in a size similar to A5, just a few mm difference in both dimensions. Comes in the usual day to a view, week to a view, day to a page with binders in the equally usual clip or zip, vinyl or leather. As far as I know, this is their largest size. Not sure if it is 6 or 7 ring.

If you are interested dmac, I can pass on some product codes you can then use to order via your local newsagency.

The other reason for considering A5/A4 is that any papers you get given and wish to keep in the planner will be in these sizes.

Bob H.

Use an A5 planner with A4 paper.


I'm hoping I got the sizes right. The point was 'use the smaller planner with bigger paper in it'.

The way you do this is with foldouts. See this link for an even smaller demonstration. It's a letter size paper folded into quarters and punched into a small book.

The one I made was laminated, but you sure don't have to. The only doctoring is snipping the extra material if it's annoying.


Yes you got the sizes right

Hi Shris

Yes, you got the sizes right. A4 is close to US letter. A5 is half A4.

The halves are portrait to landscape - so you take a page in portrait and fold the top to the bottom, giving 2 landscape halves. If the paper was cut down the fold, you'd have 2 pages of the next A size.

They start with A0 which is ginormous (16 A4 pages in size ... so imagine 16 letter pages laid out as a huge rectangular sheet and you're close to the size) A0 is usually used for very large posters, city plans, etc.
A1 (half A0)
A2 (half A1)
A3 (half A2) Imagine a letter size notebook opened and that's close to the size of an A3 page.
A4 (half A3. A4 is a close to letter size. It's a bit different in the width and height)
A5 (half A4)
A6 (half A5)

Edit - P.S. I made a mistake in my last post. Letter isn't the same as foolscap (foolscap is US 'legal')

Good info, Kat

Here is some more:

This is my favorite paper size reference. It gives all the sizes in both inches and millimeters.

And I will add the following info:

Franklin-Covey Page Sizes:

Pocket    3 x 5 inches
Compact    4.25 by 6.75 inches
Classic    5.5 by 8.5 inches
Monarch    8.5 by 11 inches

Filofax Page Sizes:

Mini    67 by 105 mm
Compact/Slimline/Personal    95 by 171 mm
Pocket    81 by 120 mm

Levenger Circa Page Sizes:

Micro PDA    2 by 3.5 inches
PDA    3 by 5 inches
Compact    3.75 by 6.75 inches
Junior    5.5 by 8.5 inches
Letter    8.5 by 11 inches

My first draft of the new Dynamic Templates had all this built in, but Doug pointed out that Franklin-Covey's lawyers gave us grief for putting their name on DIY-Planner stuff. So here it all is in one place. Hmm. I should add this to the Dynamic page.

Gee. I will !
"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)

funny this topic coming up now...

Earlier this year - the end of January - I still hadn't really decided which size planner to use yet. I'm struggling with the same question: do I have a smaller planner * that is more portable or a larger one that I can just print stuff out on regular size printer paper and hole punch it & toss it in my planner?

I ended up just buying the smaller size refill since my current planner with all my info is that size. Now I'm glad I did that. I don't really have room on my desk for my keyboard, mouse, monitor and planner if I'm using a full size planner. The half size fits rather nicely.

I am thinking if there is information I need to carry with me printed out, I can either fold it in half and put it in my planner, keep it in a folder, or if it is something I need to keep long-term I can just hole punch it and put it in a binder of sorts.


* I'm in the US so I'm trying to decide between letter size & "classic" size which is like letter size cut in half. Seems like the same situation as your A4 compared to A5.

Page Size Flexibility of Disc Binding (Circa/Rollabind)

One of the things I like best about the disc binding is the flexibility to mix page size.
My main planner is in a Junior size (5.5 by 8.5 inches) Circa Zip Binder. I make notes on other size cards (index, business, anything), punch them and insert them. It's great !
"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)

Thanks everyone for your

Thanks everyone for your comments. Bob H if you have those Collins codes handy I wouldnt mind checking them out.

I see that you can buy B5 from filofax. Its called Deskfax but it looks like you can only get refills so maybe they have deleted the binders...?

I have decided to use my own B5 size pages bound at my local stationers and inserted into a cover I got off a diary I found in a cheap shop. This does not offer the flexibility of being able to insert project pages, etc but it is more portable than my A4 planner and gives me more space to write than my classic (the rings get in the way and my writing resembles that of one of my kids...)

If I stick with this idea I will need 4 books made up a year (3 months per book) and keep them in a file near my desk so I have the year within reach. I dont need the address pages as I have a blackberry but I would prefer a binder so I can keep notes and project pages.

Thanks for the comments so far, I will keep checking back.

You know...

There's always Circa/Rollabind.... but you need a punch. Are such things available in Aus? It would be a shame if they weren't. BTW, the end cost of the punch is practically nil, once you realize that you will never need to pay for comb binding, or refiller pages again. Of course, nobody wants to pay a hundred for shipping or such. ;-) I hope you can find these things in Aus, because, I really think that this is the sort of thing you need. Atoma, btw, is similar, and may be more likely to be found where you are (It's European)


I have looked but have not

I have looked but have not found any Circa/Rollabind/Atoma system products. There are some individual products that use disk binding but these are all prepunched and are in effect standalone.

Interestingly, there seems to be only one disk size and that is 18mm or 3/4 inch.

I have not yet checked the scrapbooking market so may find something there.

Bob H.

Did you look here ?

Google is your friend !

and here:

"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)

Unfortunately it appears Mr.

Unfortunately it appears Mr. Thika is no longer in business. Google maps identifies that address as a medical centre and the phone # is disconnected.

Australia is not listed on the Atoma site either.

Perhaps tammyl could advise if she is reading this.

Bob H.

I have sent the codes in a

I have sent the codes in a separate email.

Bob H.

Thanks Bob H. I have a few

Thanks Bob H.

I have a few classic size binders that are the same size as the dayplanner- I think one of them might even be a Debden dayplanner.

I need to just pick a system and run with it. I am still keen on the B5 but I dont think I am going to get a binder in that size. My classic binder is okay, well I am using it again at the moment, I just feel cramped around the rings and at the bottom of the page, and the A4/letter size is a bit too big to carry around. I have about 7 or 8 binders from personal to A4 size. I am probably being too fussy.

Kenny We can get both A5 and

We can get both A5 and A4 (Filofax) and also classic and letter (FC; Dayplanner; Collins Debden.) We used to get Dayplanner but no-one appears to sell it retail and the closest wholesaler was in Singapore from memory (I checked with Dayplanner when they first stopped being available retail.)
You are right, there is not a lot of difference in size between A4-letter and A5-classic.

Circa Rollabind and Atoma not in Australia

I haven't seen nor heard of circa or rollabind being in Australia in the 2+ years I've been on the site.

There was a mention of an Atoma distributor, but as Bob discovered they've either gone out of business or changed their name. I believe they were a commercial distributor and only sold to businesses anyway.

I have occasionally seen ring bound books in the cheapy discount shops that sell bankrupt companies goods and cheap imports. But that was over a year ago. Maybe it was from the mysterious missing Atoma distributor but I hope not as the notebooks were terrible quality (Perhaps a dodgy chinese copy)

And my scrapbooking-addicted sister has dragged me into many a scrapbooker's craft shop in Canberra and Sydney. Not a single hint of rollabind anywhere. The largest craft chains haven't heard of rollabind. And I haven't found rollabind on any Australian craft websites either.

Just for a lark, I attempted to get a quote on some levenger merchandise quite some time ago. The postage & handling was huge and no doubt is now larger. It's ages ago now but I think it about $US80 for air mail delivery of a sample pack and a notebook, which would have cost something like $US30 postage by weight at the time through the US Postal Service.

Every so often I get parcels from in-laws in Canada and the postage has doubled in the past year.
So I'm guessing (just guessing) that the levenger international postage and handling has done the same.

If it has, I wouldn't recommend attempting to use Circa or Rollabind in Australia unless you've won the lottery recently or you're willing to spend a small fortune on the punch. With the current exchange rate, I wouldn't expect to get change out of $AU400 ($US300) for a levenger punch and a cheaper cover.

Staples etc in the USA don't ship to Australia, and neither do most craft sites that stock rollabind. Neither does the Levenger eBay store.

You may have more luck with Myndology, if you just want to buy the books online and not personalise them. Or you could get some Atoma notebooks from Europe - however you'll still have the postage problem.

EDIT - I just checked the levenger website.
Punch $US58 (about $AUS78), Circa leather letter notebook $US94 ($AUS130). So that's $AU208 before postage which I'm guessing conservatively will be $AUS120. So maybe as little as $AUS330 for a startup, with extra for discs etc. And probably import duty as it's over $AUS300 including postage.

Ebay Australia?

I just checked Ebay Australia. A search for "rollabind" came up with bundles of discs that shipped for something like 3.60 within Australia. Maybe an occasional Ebay/Aus search might eventually net you a punch and covers. If you are DIY-minded, you'd be in business! :-)

Yes, but look at WHERE the items are

Every one I just saw said "USA"
"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)

Well NOW they are...

When I looked a while ago, I thought I saw some in Aus. (of course I didn't think to link or even get the item numbers) -- maybe they migrated. ;^P

Even so, the shipping on the discs isn't exorbitant (in comparison to some of the other stated shipping prices), and it is always possible a reasonably-priced used punch will come up for bid at some point... As my mom would say - hope springs eternal!