An Introduction to Printable Planners

Since you have stumbled upon this post, you may have come across the term "printables" or "printable planners". Perhaps you saw it on Pinterest or Etsy and want to find out more.

At first glance, the concept of printable planners appear to be quite straightforward. They are files that you download, print and then add to your planner or binder. But, when you delve deeper, you might have more questions, for example what size should you get, how do you print them, what are crop marks for, how do you use them, etc. 

If you're new to planning and printables specifically, it can get a little overwhelming. Fret not, this post will give you a concise introduction to printable planners! 

Printable Daily Planner No. 9 in Pocket size


Printable planners are digital files, usually in PDF format, that are designed to be downloaded, printed and then added to your planner or binder for your daily planning. Whilst they are a digital file, they are designed to be turned into physical format through printing. You can then write on them to plan and organise your day.


Besides printable planners, there are also other types of printables designed especially for planning. I’ve classified them into two categories: printable planners and printable accessories; and added examples for each one.




·       Inserts

·      Planner pack/binder/bundle

·       Templates

·      Stickers

·      Planner cards

·      Dashboards

·       Dividers


Printable planners are sometimes called by different names such as printable inserts, printable binder or printable templates. Whilst often used interchangeably, they don't always mean the same thing.

Here is how I would define them:

  • Inserts: individual pages that can be added to a planner or binder to form part of a complete planning system.
  • Planner pack/binder/bundle: a set of inserts designed to work together as a complete or partial planning system.
  • Templates: pages that can be used on their own, such as a notepad or desk planner.

Here at Puffin Pages Co, we offer primarily inserts but we also have a growing collection of cost-effective bundles.


Binders are things that hold your pages together after you have printed them. Ring-bound binders are perhaps the most common, followed by disc-bound binders. Note: There are also coil-bound and book or glue-bound planners but these may be unsuitable to use with printables. If you’re interested in using the full Letter or A4 size, you can also consider getting a three-ring binder.


Planner binders comes in MANY sizes (so far, I know of 17 different sizes). As a result, there are different page sizes designed to fit a specific binder. Note: I’ll dedicate an entire blog post on page sizes soon!

However, the most commonly-found sizes for both binders and printables are A4, Letter, A5, Half Letter, Personal and Pocket.

If you are unsure of what size to get, I would suggest getting a binder for Half Letter or A5 size. This is because: (1) they’re practical to use (full sizes such as A4 or Letter might be too big); (2) most printables (especially free ones) are available in these sizes; and (3) you can print on full size paper and easily cut them in half.

You can also opt for smaller sizes such as Personal or Pocket. Since they are designed to be printed on Letter or A4 paper, files for these smaller sizes will have crop marks. Crop marks refer to short lines that indicate where you should trim the paper. 


Besides a planner binder, you will need some printables (of course!). You can check out our selection of inserts. Alternatively, you can hunt for freebies!

You will also need the following tools:

  • printer (library printers are awesome too!)
  • hole-puncher (make sure it suits your binder)
  • paper cutter or trimmer (if you’re printing a smaller size onto a full-size paper).

If you need support on printing, you can download our comprehensive printing guides, available for six different sizes.

Printable Structured Notes Template No. 2 in Pocket size

Printables are a great option if you are new to planning and are not quite sure yet what will work for you. There are many freebies online and the paid ones are always affordably-priced. This gives you a lot of freedom for trial and error. 

I hope this post has given you some insights into printable planners and you can feel confident to try them out!

Is there anything that I missed out? Comment below!


  • Excellent overview. I love your printables.

  • Great article for a newbie like myself! Thank you :) I love your inserts, just deciding which ones to order!


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