featured image what are printable planners and how to use them-image of printable pages on white background with smaller framed images of printable page in notebook and in ring binder

What Are Printable Planners & How To Use Them

Everyone is familiar with the idea of a planner, and many are familiar with the idea for a bullet journal, but what is a printable. Digital and printable planners are taking the world by storm and becoming incredibly popular.

You can find hundreds of printables (for free and paid) all over the internet. But, what exactly is a printable planner, and how do you use one? This article explores everything you need to know to be a successful printable planner!

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What are Printable Planners?

A printable planner is a planner that is gathered or purchased in digital form, often PDF. The purpose of these planners is that they are printed off and then assembled instead of assembled and then purchased.

A printable planner is significantly more budget-friendly and gives much of the control to the user versus the creator.

A printable planner does not need to be much different from a normal planner outside of its printable-ness. However, there are differences worth noting. Let's explore these differences below!

Printable Planner vs. Bullet Journal

The great thing about a printable planner is how similar it can be to a bullet journal. Of course, they become most similar if you create your own printables versus buying them. However, if you are familiar with the origin of the bullet journal, there is no reason a printable has to function differently than the bullet journal.

As I have already mentioned, the only real difference is in the medium, not the method. So, a printable is often printed out at home or a print shop, and a bullet journal is often created in a notebook. However, both are just as customizable and can have blank, dotted or lined paper, and both can follow the dot method.

In fact, all of the ElizabethJournals printables are inspired by actual bullet journals and are created to be printable versions of the bullet journal. So, if you love the bullet journal vibe but are looking for something more simple or cheaper, ElizabethJournals is the place for you! You can browse our printable pages, printable kits, and custom printables.

If you are interested in having your printable planner on dotted paper, you are in luck! It is actually really simple to buy or create dotted, grid-lined, or lined paper to print onto. ElizabethJournals actually offers FREE dotted, grid-lined, and lined pages to print on in our free resource library!

Sign-up Image_dotted grid lined pages

Printable Planner vs. Store-Bought Planner

The most significant difference lay between printable planners and store-bought planners. Since store-bought planners vary significantly, I will focus on more general ideas.

The most notable difference, again, is printable versus physical and customizable versus pre-created. What this means is a printable is digital until you print it off and, for that reason, is generally more customizable in most (if not all) ways. In contrast, a store-bought planner is typically already in physical "notebook" form. Also, the design, order of pages, and pages included were all decided before you bought it without your input. Of course, there are customizable planners, but we are generally talking, remember.

It is my opinion that printable planners are superior due to their customizability. That is precisely the reason ElizabethJournals vouches so highly for bullet journals. However, we also know that store-bought planners can be ideal for some.

So, if you love store-bought planners and aren't interested in what a bullet journal or printable has to offer, no worries, this article might not be for you, and that is okay! But, if you love the idea of a printable planner, I recommend you continue through this article.

printable pages layed out on white cloth background

How to Pick A Printable Planner

The great part about printable planners is that they are generally much cheaper and do not often have dates. That being said, picking a printable planner is a far easier task than picking a custom or physical planner.

Start with Your Goals

Be honest with yourself about why you want a planner in the first place. Are you interested in setting and sticking with goals, do you have a business to organize, are you a student looking to ace college? These are all very different goals and can help you decide on a printable planner or a series of printable planning pages that work for you!

For example, if you are a student, perhaps look into pages and planners geared toward students. If nothing you are finding works perfectly for you, build one! You can always compile your own Kit using individual pages or connect with us about creating a planner just for you from scratch!

Browse Our Printable Planner Pages & Bundles

What Is Your Experience Level with Planning?

Are you still trying to figure out what works for you, or do you already know? If you know what you need, then a custom Kit or DIY printable planner might be your best option. With a custom printable planner, you get to decide every single detail from the font to the order of the pages. So, naturally, this option is best for the decisive of us.

On the other hand, if you aren't sure what you want or what works best for you, perhaps try playing around with a pre-created planner or series of unrelated planner pages. You can experiment with a different set of pages each week or month to help you decide and find your favorites!

Be Kind With Your Process

Regardless of what you chose here, it is essential that you remain flexible and aren't so hard on yourself if it doesn't go to your plan! That is the point of experimenting and exactly what bullet journaling is about! Use this early time in your printable planning journey to be okay with mistakes and changes.

notebook open to page with printable pasted in and two loose printable pages laying on blank page

How to Use Printable Planners

Using printable planner pages in a binder or notebook can not only be used to organize your life better. Still, it can be a much more fun experience than using digital apps or virtual calendars. Plus, using printable planner pages can allow you to avoid distractions and retain memory better when planning tasks compared to using digital devices.

Here are the steps you may follow to use printable planner pages in your physical planner:

1. Decide What Type Of Printable Planner Pages You Need

You may use printable planners for meal planning, party planning, travel planning, diet planning, and more. Some people use printable planner pages as monthly habit trackers or for monthly routine tasks such as blogging or business-related tasks.

Unlike a planner notebook that may not include all the planner pages you want, you have more freedom with printable planner pages. You can download printable planner pages of every category separately.

Browse Our Printable Planner Kits

2. Download Printable Planner Templates Or Create Your Own

Next, you have to download the soft copy of the printable planner pages you want to print. You can easily find them for free by doing a quick search on Google. However, if you are looking for something of higher quality, with more options, or completely custom to you, then you have come to the right place! If what we have doesn’t suit your fancy, you might browse Etsy to find other printable planner pages.

Alternatively, you may want to create your own printable planner pages using graphic design software such as Photoshop, InDesign, Canva, etc. In that case, you need to consider the following options:

  • The proper color mode (CMYK or RGB) and color options,
  • The correct page template and size (A4, A5, etc.).
  • The correct page margin.
  • Correct font size and style.

3. Choose Printing Options

Typically, people print at home or go to an office supply store. However, you may also use a ‘print and ship to you’ website. Printing at home is often the cheapest option and more convenient. Some factors to consider when printing include:

  • Page size
  • Duplex printing
  • Paper type
  • Paper thickness
  • Color vs. black and white
6 ring binder open to two printable pages of subscription trackers

4. Select A Binding Type

Finally, you have to consider the binding type when adding the printable planner pages to your notebook. Here are a few tips to help you choose the binding type:

  • Coil binding is a great DIY option since it is cheap and sturdy. However, it’s costlier if you only plan to make one or two planners or notebooks.
  • Discbound makes it possible to add, remove, and rearrange as many pages as you want. You have a lot of options for disc sizes, including 0.75″ and 1″. Plus, the notebook can be folded completely flat.
  • Sewn bound planners are a lightweight option. However, they have to be used carefully since the stitching can come undone.
  • Plastic comb binding doesn’t look that good, but they are a very cheap option.

Finally, consider creating and attaching a customized DIY cover to your note.

Browse Binder Recommendations

Get Started Printable Planning

Now that you have created your planner, it is time to use it! I have no tips or tricks to add at this point because you've already done it! Once your planner is put together, it is time to get started! Try testing out your plan in pencil or testing out various orders of your pages if possible. There are no limits to what your planner can do or what you can do with your planner!

ElizabethJournals would love to see how you've assembled your printable planner. Try tagging us on Instagram so we can see!

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