Wednesday 30 May 2012

Print your own Travel Journal pages

Some time ago, Filofax released a special pack of travel-related inserts for the Personal size Filofax. At its core was a 'Travel Journal' in which you could record the daily events and experiences of a trip. Unfortunately, this wasn't particularly flexible. Only a certain number of pages came in the pack, so if your trip was a long one - or you wanted to use the journal for multiple trips - you needed to buy whole extra packs.

The idea of a Filofax Travel Journal is a popular one, though, as a trawl through the comments on Philofaxy will show you. I had an offline friend ask me about producing a version for a trip she was taking. So I decided to produce one that you can print at home and that will cater for as many trips as you like, each lasting as long as you like.

At the heart of the journal is this two-page spread. You can use one of these for each day of the trip.

Click to enlarge

Now, because each day has its own two-day spread, I needed to find a way of giving a front and back page that didn't look clunky. What I did was to produce end pages. The end pages comprise:

  • A front page to hold overall trip information, with the first page of the daily 2-page spread on its reverse.
Click to enlarge

  • A back page to hold final reflections, with the second page of the daily 2-page spread on the reverse.

Click to enlarge
Think of these as the front and back covers of a book, and put as many daily page spreads between them as you need for your trip.

You can download the pages either as editable Word files or as PDF files. If using the PDF versions remember to set your printer settings so as not to shrink the pages.
Download the main pages as a Word file or a PDF file.

Download the end pages as a Word file or a PDF file.

Each file should be printed double-sided with the duplex set to flip along the short edge. You can then cut out and punch individual pages as outlined in this post.

Friday 25 May 2012

Filofax Blog of the Week: Well Planned Life

It's that time again. 'Blog of the Week' looks at a different Filofax blog each week in the words of the owner. Some you may know already, whilst others may be new to you.  

This week, Kanalt talks about Well Planned Life.

When did you start your blog?

December 20, 2009 (wow! I can't believe it's been that long.)

What were your reasons for starting it?

Philofaxy! Once I found this group of planner lovers, I was completely hooked. And while it was great to read and comment on the posts there, I had so much more to say about my own planner and organizational adventures. I'm a huge organizational nerd!

Which post has enjoyed the most pageviews?

Before checking, I would have said The Culture of Philofaxy at 1000 views. But the top pageview is still Happiness Binder: The Big Reveal with 1098 views.

Which post is the one you’re most proud of?

I would have to say  The Culture of Philofaxy. I wrote it just because I had been thinking about it and wanted to put it out there. I didn't expect the huge response it got (both in comments and Twitter buzz). I think it just resonated with people, put into words how most people feel about the community, which just proves the Philofaxy-as-a-Subculture point. I was very overwhelmed by the response I got from that post. And that is why I will never find a better online community to be a part of!

What has surprised you since you started blogging?

What has surprised me the most of how many people follow my blog. As of today, I have 91 public followers, though I would like to think there are more who aren't registered with my blog. Who knew that so many people would be interested in what I have to say, especially since it's about planners and organizing. many of my friends and family just laugh at my obsession, so I didn't think I'd attract as many people as I have. Thank you to each and every one of my readers! I love blogging and without them, there would be no point.

In one sentence, how would you describe your blog to a Filofax user who hadn’t seen it?

It started as a place to talk about my planner obsession and grew from there - I talk about anything and everything, but mostly about planners and organizing.

Finally, what one piece of advice would you offer to other Filofax bloggers, based on your own experience?

Have fun with it! Yes, we really do get tips and tricks from each other. But humor with our planners goes a long, long way, especially with me. You can see what I mean here.

My thanks to Kanalt for participating.

If you own a Filofax blog and would like it to be featured in this series, please complete the questionnaire.

Monday 21 May 2012

CD/DVD storage inserts for your A5 Filofax

One of my commenters recently asked if I could produce an insert to store CDs in an A5 Filofax. This was not a challenge I felt able to walk away from.

There may be many reasons you want to keep a CD or DVD in your Filofax:
  • a backup copy of your important files
  • scans of your passports and travel documents
  • photos to be printed when you next visit the print shop

Whatever your reasons, here is a solution. I'd strongly recommend you use quite thick A4 paper for this project, say 90-100gsm. The dimensions of the pocket are quite tight so the CD will not move around too much and tear the paper, but strong paper would make doubly sure.

Here is the template:

Click to enlarge
You can download it as an editable Microsoft Publisher file or as a PDF file. If using the PDF be sure to set it to print at full size as explained here.

There's a little cutting, folding and glueing involved. Here's what the final result looks like:

Although it's not clear from the picture, there is a little fold-over tab that keeps the CD safely in its pocket when it is fully inserted.

Sunday 20 May 2012

Free Week-on-Two-Pages Personal Filofax diary to download

When I recently lost my Filofax (gasp!) I had to buy a new one, which came with the standard Filofax week-on-two-pages diary. For the sake of convenience, I just started using it, but before long I began to experience a few frustrations with the layout:

  • Saturday and Sunday are squashed together into the same space afforded to any one of the other days
  • Nearly half the space left to Sunday is lost to the monthly calendar
  • There's no room for week-long events like half term  

On the other hand, the format allows about the right amount of space for most days and I like seeing the whole week in one view.

I did some research and found Filofax's Cotton Cream Week-on-two-pages, which looked absolutely ideal. But then I didn't want a Cotton Cream insert in a predominantly white setup.

The solution seemed obvious: to build something similar to the Cotton Cream layout that I could print on my own paper. Since I was taking inspiration from the Cotton Cream insert, I thought it would be fun to replicate another aspect of the design, namely the lower-case month and day names that give the layout such a distinctive and simple feel. It turns out that a simple switch in the mail merge codes can force lower-case formats, so job done.

Here's the final layout:

Click to enlarge
Weekend days are afforded as much respect as those in the working week, while each week's layout begins with a 'This Week' space for notes and all-week items (for tracking habits perhaps?)

You can download this layout as a prepared set or you can download the source files to adapt the design for yourself.

Pre-prepared sets

You can download the 2012 set as a Word file or as a PDF file.

You can download the 2013 set as a Word file or as a PDF file.

Print this double-sided. If you have a duplex printer, set it to flip on the short edge. If you don't then you'll have to print odd-numbered pages and then refeed to print the even-numbered pages on the reverse. You might have to experiment to find out how to refeed the paper.

On one side of each sheet you'll find crop marks. Use a craft knife and a steel ruler to release the Personal pages and punch them. The templates are set up with mirrored gutters to accommodate the holes.

If using the PDF be sure to set it to print at full size as explained here.

Source files

You can also roll your own using our source files. You'll need this Word file and this Excel file.

If you want to know how to go about using the source files, this post will help you.

Friday 18 May 2012

Filofax Blog of the Week: Filomaniac

It's time again for my 'Blog of the Week' feature. Each week, I'm looking at a different Filofax blog in the words of the owner. Some you may know already, whilst others may be new to you.  

This week, Iris talks about Filomaniac.

When did you start your blog?

In March 2010, together with Julia, whom I had "met" on Twitter. (She lost interest some months later.)

What were your reasons for starting it?

There was no German blog for Filofax lovers.

Which post has enjoyed the most pageviews?

This one,  a guest article by Steve Morton (surprise, surprise) about creating templates.

Which post is the one you’re most proud of?

None in particular. I'm proud to say that after two years, my blog is still going strong and I have "met" lots of interesting people who share my passion for Filofax.

What has surprised you since you started blogging?

How many people in Germany still use (and love) their Filofax.

In one sentence, how would you describe your blog to a Filofax user who hadn’t seen it?

It's a German blog about all things Filofax.

Finally, what one piece of advice would you offer to other Filofax bloggers, based on your own experience?

Read/respond to comments so people know that you care. Try to interact with your readers by asking them about their experience/opinion or by posting polls. Include some pics to make your posts more interesting.

My thanks to Iris for participating.

If you own a Filofax blog and would like it to be featured in this series, please complete the questionnaire.

Tuesday 15 May 2012

Guest post: Steve Morton's blogging tips

As many of you will know, I have been collaborating with Steve Morton of Philofaxy for a while now on a range of diary layouts, available here and on that site. While we've been working together, I've learned an awful lot about blogging from Steve, and was delighted when he agreed to put some of his ideas in a guest post for me. Over to Steve...

Most of the following tips also apply to blogging in general, but most Filofax bloggers come to blogging for the first time.
I’ve learnt by trial and error and by reading other peoples blogs to get ideas and I have tried out some ideas of my own.


When you want to build an audience, there’s nothing worse than ‘talking’ to yourself. If you want to know how big your audience is, you need something to measure how many people visit your site and also how many return to your site at a later date and whilst they are on your site find out what they are reading.

Blogger (blogspot) includes some simple stats on their blogs, but you can do better. Likewise so does Wordpress. But if you want to get serious about measuring the impact any change to your blog has or to see what sort of rate your audience is growing at, they get yourself a Google Analytics Account

Once you have set up the account with your blog URL etc. It’s a simple case in the case of Blogspot blogs of adding the Analytics ID: UA-13088822-1 to the Google Analytics setting in ‘Settings’ ‘Other’ in the new layout on Blogspot. In Wordpress get the Google Analytics Plug-in and authorise the plug-in to use your analytics account.

Then you have to be patient and wait whilst the stats start to build up and you can then have a benchmark to work from.


What you call your blog is very much a personal decision. However, I would suggest that you don’t make the name too long or too similar to other similar blogs. Looking down my list of blogs on my ‘watch’ list there are a lot of ‘Filo’ blogs already.


Keep the design of your blog simple, I see some horrible designs whilst I hunt around the inter-webs. Yes design and beauty are a very subjective thing, but don’t get carried away with the fonts. I tend towards using a simple serif font for titles but a san-serif font for the text, that’s the bit your user will be reading most. Try to keep the number of fonts you use to no more than say three, any more and it just looks amateurish.


The sidebar on your blog is the place to put things to help the user find their way around your site and to help them to get back to your site. I try to put ‘subscribe/follow me’ type things towards the top of the side bar, with navigational things next and anything else towards the bottom. Don’t make it so long that it requires a 1500 word post before anyone ever scrolls that far down the page before they find your subscribe by email sign up box.


I prefer not to put important things in the footer of the site people often never see it.


When you are writing those first few posts you will be trying to do something new or different, don’t get carried away, short brief and to the point posts get the message across and often I find the ones I rush off in a few minutes flat get more comments and visits than the ones I spend days researching and run to 1000 words or more. Free For All Tuesdays are a case in point, I often struggle to think what to say to introduce these with… one recently nearly went out on line with only the word ‘Blah’ in it!  Yet these posts get dozens of comments and thousands of page views…

With a Filofax post the more photos you include the less you will have to write. So make those pictures nice and clear, well lit, preferably take them on a decent digital camera in natural light. May be on a table outside on your patio, or on your desk below a well sun lit window. Make sure the photos are in focus. Don’t be tempted to get close to the subject, stand back, and make sure you don’t shadow the picture. You can crop the photo afterwards to ‘zoom in’ on your Filofax. If photography isn’t your art then ask a friend who is to do some photos for you. This Philofaxy post might also give you a few more tips:

Check your writing for typos, grammar, spelling before you publish it. Again your style is important and the style you write in whilst it is subjective can be the thing that makes your blog appealing to others. I for instance always try to have a light-hearted approach to the topics, slipping in the odd bit of humour here and there. Mainly poking fun at myself, if you can make people smile it always helps.

Make sure your work is your own, please don’t go on a Copy and Paste extravaganza or pinch photos from other sites… you will be found out!

Frequency of posts

This is a difficult one to tackle, people often start with a great deal of enthusiasm and post a dozen posts one after another and then their work rate slows down. Try to do it the other way around, build up the frequency of posting. May be one every month, one every two weeks, one a week, two a week etc. But if you plateau at say one every two weeks, don’t panic continue at that rate it is fine. People will expect to see a post at that sort of frequency and will return or expect a post every couple of weeks. Doing a post every day is quite intensive… believe me!

Use the scheduling facility on your blog to be able to write ahead of publishing time, so if you get 5 different blog post ideas you can write them whilst they are fresh in your head and then meter them out one at a time at your normal blog post frequency.


Respond to comments on your blog it encourages people to return if they think you are taking notice of what they say.

Getting noticed

Make sure Google can find your site, which means you can’t keep it private. In Blogger you will find the privacy setting in Settings, Basic, Visibility to Search Engines.  In Wordpress, Settings, Privacy, and you want the radio button next to Allow search engines to index this site. ‘ticked’

If you are a Filofax Blogger then you need to contact Philofaxy and get them to include your posts on their ‘watch list’, this will ensure you suddenly have a few hundred people trampling around your site, poking around it and hopefully reading and coming back to your site…

Philofaxy likes to discover new Filofax blogs and stealthily add you to their ‘web finds’ posts without you knowing about it and it is only when you look at your stats and you suddenly see this massive spike and you think WTF did that…. 

Get your blog on Twitter even if you aren’t on there yourself. Use a site like Twitter Feed to automate the posting of ‘Tweets’ that link back to your new blog posts from the RSS feed.  Twitter Feed can also post to your Facebook time line as well.

Guest posts

If you don’t want to venture in to having your own blog then why not offer to post as a Guest Blogger on one of the established Filofax blogs, there are plenty to choose from these days. 

If you are running your own blog, also invite existing bloggers to guest post on your blog in return for a guest post on their blog, this will also work as a link exchange for both of you and should bring you more visitors.


If you are reviewing items or recommending items on your blog then you should give a disclosure some where in the post and may be on the site as well, to indicate that you have been sent the item by the company to review and you haven’t spent your own money to purchase the item. This I believe is law in the USA and possibly other countries.  If you bought it yourself then again it is advisable to include this fact. It just keeps things neat and tidy. Nickie over at Typecast has a ‘Disclosure’ page that is worth reading

Linking back

Once your blog gets established it’s worth encouraging people to link back to you. Philofaxy have a ‘Grab the code’ box at the foot of the side bar, this was quite easy to design, and it allows people to put some HTML code in to a widget in their own side bar to say ‘We like Philofaxy’ people clicking on the badge then come through to the blog. Interestingly sites that have this badge on them feed in readers that read more pages than people that arrive at the site either from Google or as a direct link.


This is just a start, but hopefully a good start to your blogging experience. The essential thing is though to enjoy your new challenge, listen to what people say and learn from experience.


My thanks to Steve for sharing these insights.

Monday 14 May 2012

New Filofax Diary layout for free download - A5 week on two pages

Steve and I have had some great compliments about the A5 Enhanced TimeManagement inserts that we have made available. We're both using them in our A5s and they are proving very successful.

Steve wanted to build a similar insert to use alongside the diary as a journal, so he rolled up his sleeves and we're now offering this version alongside the others.

There is a non-lined version

Click to enlarge

And a lined version

Click to enlarge

These are available in 2013 pre-prepared files:
And if you like tinkering and customising our files here are the source files:
So now - like Steve - you can have a planner and a journal printed on good quality paper.

Friday 11 May 2012

Filofax Blog of the Week: Philofaxy

It's time for the second of my 'Blog of the Week' posts. Each week, I'll look at a different Filofax blog and we'll hear from the owner. Some you may know already, whilst others may be new to you.  

This week, Steve talks about the phenomenon that is Philofaxy.

When did you start your blog?

It was started by Philofaxer in October 2005, joined by Nan in about June 2006, Laurie and Steve in June 2009 and Anita last week! Philofaxer bowed out due to other commitments in late 2006.

What were your reasons for starting it?

I think the first post explains it better than one short sentence. I was asked to join the team in 2009 because at the time the blog was flagging a little and there were some quite nasty comments being left. I contacted Nan and suggested a few improvements. I had also been doing my own templates for a while and I posted links to them in the comments on Philofaxy. Laurie had been active on the site before me, with a few guest posts and lots of comments..

Which post has enjoyed the most pageviews?

This post is way out in front with over 31000 page views. Then comes this one and this one. They both have over 10000 page views each. Popular series have been the Reader Under The Spotlight, any guest post or post that contains pictures of how people have set up their Filofax.

Which post is the one you’re most proud of?

Gosh difficult question... too many really. The one I had the most fun from because of the cruel way I wrote it was this one. I think I could easily write a list of 50 odd posts over the last 3 years and it still wouldn't find them all.

What has surprised you since you started blogging?

The community that has built up around Philofaxy, the support, friendship and hunger for more information each week. And that new people are still discovering the site each week. Our growth rate has slowed down a bit now but the numbers are still quite big. How simple ideas thought up on the spare of the moment have become popular hits with our readers - to name a few: Webfinds, Reader Under the Spotlight, The All Stars Tour, The Skype Chats, Meetups.

In one sentence, how would you describe your blog to a Filofax user who hadn’t seen it?

Where have you been! The Filofax user site on the internet.

Finally, what one piece of advice would you offer to other Filofax bloggers, based on your own experience?

Don't be afraid to write about your own Filofax set ups. Make sure you tell Philofaxy about your blog. Take good pictures to show off your setups. Try to post regular, once every two weeks is a good starting point. Don't be afraid to ask for feedback. Try to find a niche within the Filofax arena. Ray and his custom inserts for instance.

Steve has shared with me a lot more advice on Philofax blogging (and blogging generally) and am delighted that he's writing a guest post for me in which he will share many more of his ideas. Look out for this in the next few days.

If you own a Filofax blog and would like it to be featured in this series, please complete the questionnaire.

Sunday 6 May 2012

Filofax Blog of the Week: Rapunzel's World

There's nothing I like more than browsing Filofax blogs and I've learned an incredible amount from them. In this new feature of the blog, each week I'll introduce a different Filofax blog. Some you may know already, whilst others may be new to you.  

To kick off my new blog feature, Tracy (aka icclewu) talks about her blog, Rapunzel’s World.

When did you start your blog?

I started my blog on August 22 2011. It's still a baby compared to some Filofax blogs.

What were your reasons for starting it?

I wanted to blog about things I enjoy. Filofax being the most blogged.

Which post has enjoyed the most pageviews?

My December Malden set up

Which post is the one you’re most proud of?

Introducing Dinky the Personal Deco. I love that Filofax and was so excited to share my set up with everyone.

What has surprised you since you started blogging?

The thing that has surprised me most is the amount of people all over the world that want to read my blog. I don't have a huge following, but I love receiving comments and looking at the stats of where the readers are. I didn't think many people would be interested in what I had to say.

In one sentence, how would you describe your blog to a Filofax user who hadn’t seen it?

An honest, loving, creative, Informative, often opinionated view into the crazy world of Filofax.

Finally, what one piece of advice would you offer to other Filofax bloggers, based on your own experience?

Just blog about what you enjoy. My family and friends don't understand my passion for Filofax. I just carry on regardless and share my love with others who feel the same. :)

If you own a Filofax blog and would like it to be featured in this series, please complete the questionnaire.

Friday 4 May 2012

Quick and easy Filofax dividers

Making your own dividers doesn't have to take all day (although sometimes that can be a fun way of spending a day.) Today I'm going to show you how to create basic dividers in no time.

You'll need to start with a set of cardboard or plastic file dividers. I used these ones from Tesco because I liked the colours and they were very cheap.

Each of the dividers in the pack will yield three Personal-size dividers. The first job is to cut the big dividers down into sizes which are slightly taller or wider than a regular Filofax page. You want your dividers taller than a regular page if you're making top tabs or wider if you're making side tabs. The pictures below illustrate the concept.

Already, we're nearly there. Once you've cut a set of these templates, you can work out the tab positions for each. The easy way to do this is using an adhesive index tab (as pictured below), but you could measure and mark if you prefer. 

Top tab cutting guide

Side tab cutting guide

Once you know where each tab needs to be, you simply cut away the rest of the extra strip, leaving the tab standing proud. You can now punch holes in the divider. Do that a few times and you'll have a quick and easy set of dividers.


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