Updated: October 27, 2019
H. C. Marks (@HCMarks) on Twitter asked “do you know of any stencils with which to draw ruled lines in blank notebooks?”
I have something so much better, at least in my humble opinion. I use a sheet of lined paper that I tuck under my blank page to create perfectly straight lines that are there. But not. Using a guide sheet does not require any prep time. Just slide the sheet behind your current page and start writing.
Using a guide sheet with a blank notebook gives a lot more flexibility. You can sketch and free form on some pages and then use the guide sheets when you want to write. It also means that you get the line spacing you want instead of what the manufacturer decides is best. Write larger? We have a guide sheet for that. Prefer graph paper? We got you covered? Want to mix it up depending on the pen you’re using? That’s where guide sheets really shine. Way more flexibility.
Guide sheets are great with letter-writing pads too.
Harry’s request could not have been more timely as I’ve been planning to make up a few different line widths to share with readers so that you too can try this. The sheets have pretty thick, dark lines (but not as dark as the NEW Bold Lines edition! See below!) that can be seen through most standard writing paper. I’ve tested these sheets in my Rhodia Uni Blank for several weeks.
I have created paper guides in 6mm, 7mm, 8mm and 10mm lined plus 5mm and 10mm graph paper. NEW! I’ve added 5mm and 6mm dot grid to each size. (I hate to have to make this clarification but these guide sheets are FOR PERSONAL USE ONLY. If you need custom sheets printed for your next product, email us!) The NEW All-in-one PDF document includes the following:
- US Letter
- Field Notes size (in a 3-up layout that will fit on standard US Letter or A4 paper)
Print out your favorite line width spacing on a laser or ink jet printer. One copy of the guide sheet can be kept in each of your favorite notebooks and should last for a long time. If you print the guide sheets on heavier weight paper or card stock it can double as a blotter sheet, pen primer or to protect the next sheet from pesky bleed through.
You can still print out individual sheets if you prefer. The links are still available here:
US Letter Size (8.5″x11″):
- 6mm Lined – US Letter.pdf
- 7mm Lined – US Letter.pdf
- 8mm Lined – US Letter.pdf
- 10mm Lined -US Letter.pdf
- 5mm Graph – US Letter.pdf
- 10mm Graph – US Letter.pdf
- All Guide Sheets – US Letter Sized
A4 Size (210 x 297mm or 8.3″ x 11.7″) ADDED Feb. 3, 2015:
- 6mm A4 Lined.pdf
- 7mm A4 Lined.pdf
- 8mm A4 Lined.pdf
- 10mm A4 Lined.pdf
- 5mm A4 Graph.pdf
- 10mm A4 Graph.pdf
- All Guide Sheet – A4 sized.pdf
A5 Sizes (148 x 210mm or 5.83×8.27″):
- 6mm A5 Lined.pdf
- 7mm A5 Lined.pdf
- 8mm A5 Lined.pdf
- 10mm A5 Lined.pdf
- 5mm A5 Graph.pdf
- 10mm A5 Graph.pdf
- All Guide Sheets- A5 sized
Field Notes Sized (3.25″x5.5″) UPDATED Feb. 3, 2015:
- 6mm Field Notes Lined.pdf or 6mm Lined 3-up.pdf
- 7mm Field Notes Lined.pdf or 7mm Lined 3-up.pdf
- 8mm Field Notes Lined.pdf or or 8mm Lined 3-up.pdf
- 10mm Field Notes Lined.pdf or 10mm Lined 3-up.pdf
- 5mm Field Notes Graph.pdf or 5mm Graph 3-up.pdf
- 10mm Field Notes Graph.pdf or 10mm Graph 3-up.pdf
- All Field Notes Guide Sheet.pdf
- All Field Notes Guides Sheets – 3-up layout.pdf
These new sizes have been trimmed down width-wise so there’s no overhang in your pocket notebooks. I’ve also added 3-up layout on a US letter sized sheet.
Field Notes “Dime Novel” Edition
- Field Notes: Dime Novel Edition Guide Sheets.pdf (5 pages, includes lined, grid and DOT GRID on US Letter sized sheets. Should print fine on A4 as well just be sure to adjust your printer setting).
Latest Variation, Bold Lines A5-sized:
I had a request for an A5 version with darker lines so that the guides would be visible through heavier weight paper or would be easier to see. I created the Bold Lines Edition in A5 to start with all the same lined, graph and dot grid as our found in the new All-in-one PDF, just with a heavier black line to improve viewing. Please give me feedback and let me know if you find them useful.
Tips for printing guide sheets:
If you don’t have a PDF app on you computer, I recommend Adobe Acrobat Reader. When printing, be sure that you choose to print at 100% (or “actual size”), do not choose the “fit to paper” option. I ran the lines to the end of the template to maximize guides. Your printer might trim the edges a bit.
If there’s interest, I can make up other sizes as well. Just let me know in the comments what you prefer.
Leigh Reyes of My Life As A Verb has created her own A5-sized Journal Guide templates which feature some various custom page layouts . She offers four different formats to download and hopes to make plastic versions in the future.
Ink Journal offers some additional downloadable guide sheets to fit Field Notes-sized and standard Midori Traveler’s Notebooks. They offer bullet journal templates, lined, dot grid and script practice sheets as well as their ink collecting template. These work great with their Tomoe River paper journals.
- 11/9/14 Added 5mm and 10mm grid and true A5-sized.
- 2/3/15 Added A4 and revised Field Notes sizes, added 3-up layout for Field Notes.
- 8/23/2016 Added links to Leigh Reyes A5 Journal Guides and Ink Journal’s Free Resources
- 9/24/2017 Added FN Dime Novel Edition formats
- 10/27/2019 Added Bold Lines A5 edition and All-in-one PDF with Dot Grid