Free and Paid Software For Creating Printable Planners

Have you always wanted to create your own printable planner but have no idea where to start? Even with all the readily-available options out there, sometimes none of them quite fit your vision of the perfect planner (fun fact: that is pretty much why Puffin Pages Co started!).

In this article, we're going to share several programs and software that you can use to create your very own printable planners and inserts. Some of them are very user-friendly so don't worry if you're a beginner. We'll also include some tricks and tips we've picked up along the way in making Puffin Pages Co the planner shop it is today.

Free Options


Canva is a great design tool for beginners, especially those without any design background. They're also free to use and you don't have to download or install anything on your computer - just create an account.

Canva has a drag-and-drop interface and it's pretty intuitive. They also have a range of free templates that you can use to get started.

If you have an idea for a planner or insert, we suggest sketching them out on a piece of paper first and use the sketch as a guide. Whilst Canva is easy to use, it still takes practice if you're keen on creating more complex designs. Not to worry though, there are plenty of tutorials online and on YouTube to help you out.

Tip from us: When downloading your design, make sure to download it as PDF Print. You can also add crop marks if you're printing a smaller size on an A4 or Letter size paper.


The primary function of Google Slides is for presentations and it was not created as a design tool. BUT, that doesn't mean it won't work! In fact, some of Puffin Pages Co's first printable planners were created using Microsoft PowerPoint (Microsoft's equivalent to Google Slides).

On Google Slides, you can create your custom page size by going to "File" and clicking on "Page Setup". To create your layouts, you can insert a table or use the square or rectangle shapes. You can then use the text box feature to add headers and sub-headers. With just these three features, you can create a pretty impressive printable already.

Tip from us: The table feature is very useful and versatile. You can use it to create lined, grid or dot-grid sections.


As word processors, Google Docs and Pages (for Mac users) do not provide as much space to be creative as Canva or Google Slides does. However, they can be a good option if you want to create simple layouts quickly.

Like Google Docs, you can use the table feature to create your layouts. Using the table feature, you can create different sections, including lined, grid or dot-grid sections. The table feature also makes it easy for you to edit things like row height or grid spacing. Next, you can add your text such as headers and sub-headers within the table.

Tip from us: You can't add crop marks when exporting Google Docs or Slides files into a PDF. If you need crop marks, create a slightly bigger page when setting up your page size and then use the line feature to add crop marks manually.

Paid Options


These are what most professional planner makers use, with the most popular being InDesign. These software are created specifically for publishing pages such as magazines, newspaper and brochures. They have all the features that are handy when it comes to creating planners and inserts.

However, all of them require a monthly or annual subscription so it can be an expensive option. Plus, there is a bit of a learning curve (check out YouTube for tutorials). If you don't mind spending time learning to use a new software and you want to create multiple printable planners, for example to start your own shop or for your blog or website, then we recommend trying out one of these software.

Tip from us: Affinity has the most affordable price tag. You could also get discounts for Adobe or Microsoft if you're a student. 


Planify Pro is a program designed specifically for creating printable planner inserts (how amazing does that sound?!).They make it super easy for you to customise your own planner and they have pre-sets of over 80 planner sizes so you don't have to worry about sizing and re-sizing. They also have various templates to get you started.

Planify Pro does require a monthly subscription. Whilst it's relatively affordable (from $11.00 USD/month), it is a single-purpose software so you can't use it for any other projects besides creating printables for planners.

Tips from us: We don't have any experience with Planify Pro but we have heard plenty of great things. Check out their Facebook group for advice and tips from other users.


We hope this article has provided some starting points for you to start designing and creating your own printable planners and inserts. If you're still not confident about doing it yourself, you can always request a custom order with us. Just describe your dream planner design (you can even add a photo or a sketch) and we'll do our best to make it come to life!

Back to blog

Leave a comment

Please note, comments need to be approved before they are published.