Our FREE Downloadable Guide Sheets: Turn a Blank Notebook into a Lined Notebook

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?”

may14 1

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.

may14 2

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.

Guide Sheet, 6mm
With Guide Sheet under Rhodia Paper, 6mm rules
Writing after guide sheet
With Guide Sheet removed.

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!)

Birmingham Pen Co inline ad

The NEW All-in-one PDF document includes the following:

  • A4
  • US Letter
  • A5
  • 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.

guide sheets screen shot

You can still print out individual sheets if you prefer. The links are still available here:

US Letter Size (8.5″x11″):

A4 Size (210 x 297mm or 8.3″ x 11.7″) ADDED Feb. 3, 2015:

A5 Sizes (148 x 210mm or 5.83×8.27″):

Field Notes Sized (3.25″x5.5″) UPDATED Feb. 3, 2015:

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

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.

Other Options:

Stalogy Templates :

Stalogy offers templates  in B5, A5, B6 and A6 sizes that fit into their notebooks or any other books of similar size.

Journal guide: the middle way (via Leigh Reyes, My Life As A Verb)
Journal guide: the middle way (via Leigh Reyes, My Life As A Verb)

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.

Dotted/Lined Templates from Ink Journal
Dotted/Lined Templates from Ink Journal

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.


  1. 11/9/14 Added 5mm and 10mm grid and true A5-sized.
  2. 2/3/15 Added A4 and revised Field Notes sizes, added 3-up layout for Field Notes.
  3. 8/23/2016 Added links to Leigh Reyes A5 Journal Guides and Ink Journal’s Free Resources
  4.  9/24/2017 Added FN Dime Novel Edition formats
  5. 10/27/2019 Added Bold Lines A5 edition and All-in-one PDF with Dot Grid
  6. 10/11/22 Added Stalogy template links


Written by

129 comments / Add your comment below

  1. Thanks for the guides! I love college-rule, so I’m going with the 7mm.

    I love graph paper, but I’m thinking that it is better for me to go ahead and buy graph paper, rather than use a graph paper guide. Just my humble opinion.

    Thanks again. Superb!

  2. Thanks for these guides. My handwriting is all over the paper without lines. The 8mm is lacking the smaller version, though.

  3. I’ve been doing this for years, when I used to hand-write homework solutions for my students. I would scan them from copy paper to PDF. I hated how line rules would clutter the page, so I just wrote on blank paper over a (heavily ruled) guide. Thanks for making the various sizes available.

  4. Ooh, excellent! And just in time — I got an order of Tomoe River correspondence pads and ransacked my notebooks for the perfectly spaced (i.e. 6mm) lined sheet for a guide — alas, unsuccessfully. I’ll ask the huz to print out a few sheets of this for me at work on Monday! Thanks for all your effort in making these!

  5. I print my own guide sheets on Kokuyo 20 hole A5 removable sheets. I stick a half-dozen guides in my snap ring binder each behind a blank writing sheet so the guides are there and ready to go held in place and aligned properly by the binder rings. When I get to the last sheet with a guide behind it, I just move all the guides along in the binder – which takes less than a minute.

  6. Very much appreciated. Do you by chance have an 11 x 8-1/2 / 7×5 6mm (landscape aspect rather than portrait) template lurking anywhere? Most of my art is longer on the wide edge, so of course my notebooks are, too.

  7. Thank you! We homeschool and one for one of our classes the answers have to be written in a workbook. One of my teens inevitably writes “downhill” 🙂 Printed out one of the above lined papers and he is very grateful…as am I!

    Thanks again.

      1. Thank you Ana, I wanted 4 of the same field notes but I figured it out.

        What would be the easiest way (using a Mac) to get different ones on the same page?

        1. I’m not sure. I have a lot of Adobe pro software that let’s me do all sorts of things but I’m not sure the best way to do it without investing in the whole Adobe Creative Cloud Suite. I can create a new document with the Field Notes sheets 4-up in an array of formats in the next few days, if that is the easiest thing?

          1. I have a very old version of Photoshop an a very old iMac (pre Sutite) and I could probably figure out a way to do that. But if you have a minute I think a single sheet with the 4 different line widths of Field Note size would be very useful.

            thanks, Rob

    1. The guide sheets might need to be trimmed down slightly to fit into the Freestyle Really Big Notebook. I’d recommend printing the US Letter or A4 size and then trim to fit.

        1. Feel free to download and use the templates but if you want to share them with friends or online, please link back to the site to download them. Thanks!

  8. I would love to have a line guide for Leuchtturm Pocket Plain notebook (size is 90 x 150mm or 3.5 x 6″ in archaic dimensions) in 3 mm line spacing. I write small. I guess this would also work in other pocket plain notebooks.

  9. Thank you so much for these templates. I bought an unlined Rhodia Webbook by mistake and had misgivings about being able to keep my writing in straight lines. Now I don’t have to worry!

  10. Is it possible to offer these (or at least the US letter size with 10mm lines) in bold, so it shows up even more. My elementary students could really use this, but the thin lines are hard for them to see. Thanks!

  11. Thank you so much for these beauties! I wonder if one day you’ll come out with seyes-lined sheets? Don’t think I’ve seen many of that floating around.

  12. Hi,

    Can anyone recommend a spiral bound, unruled A4 notebook –

    – with paper thin enough to use these line guides with?

    (I guess that would be in the area of 75gsm – 90gsm.)

    I’ve been looking around (here in England) but with no success!


    1. A good option for a blank notebook with a spiral binding or twin ring binding might be a student-quality or field art sketchbook. The paper in a sketch or field notebook is usually about 65 lb (96 gsm). Look for books specifically listed for drawing, dry materials, ink, or field sketchbooks at a local art supply or craft shop. Good luck!

      1. Thanks, Ana.

        I’ll try that.

        I think plan B is to buy some nice paper – maybe Rhodia or Fabriano – and get it spiral-bound by a nice person in a shop!

  13. I write a lot, and I have been wanting an 11 X 17 pad of writing paper. Properly lined, like a legal pad. Thus, my words will give me an idea of how they will look on a printed page. I prefer to compose with a pen rather than in the computer– I feel more creative that way. Also there should be some margins for corrections when proofing and about 40 lines or more per page. The lines should be wide enough to allow my handwriting to spread out but leave room for proofing and correcting. There is no pad like this. (There was something called an “Ampad 11 X 17 ruled tabloid” pad, but I’ve never seen one.)

    I have decided to buy 11 X 17 paper from Staples and improvise. I am making a large clipboard with clipping part salvaged from an old clipboard. I am going to cut a board out of Masonite (two pieces laminated back to back for rigidity). I am going to paint the face of the new clipboard brite white, rule the lines on with magic marker, mount the clip with rivets and start writing.

    I have done a smaller version of this with a regular clipboard, painted and ruled and it worked pretty well with standard 8 1z2 X 11 paper. I don’t see why they don’t make writing pads large size. I talked to a printer about making some pads for me, but they weren’t interested in a small thousand page run.

  14. any suggestions for places to find sources/job postings for people that help with filling out planners effectively so it actually does organize your info, schedule, STUDY PLAN FOR A BIG TEST… Is there a term to describe someone that does that?

  15. I printed out the A5 guide and cut it out to fit my traveler’s notebook. I then laminated it so it wouldn’t get destroyed. A very handy tool for my Tomoe River notebooks!

  16. I love your guide sheets! Think you can make a 6mm grid and 7mm grid for A4 and letter paper too?


  17. Thank you for these handy guides. I appreciate your generosity in doing the work and sharing these for free. Years ago every pad of writing paper came with a line guide but no more. These will be a wonderful help to keep me from writing uphill.

  18. Hi! Thanks for this! but is there a way we can print the a5 guide on a legal size like what you did with the field note size? Thanks!

  19. These are great guide sheets, they are wonderful. Dark enough to be seen under most paper that’s 20# or 24#

    A thought: Has anyone thought of self-laminating them? It can help extend their life in active use!

  20. Thanks for the printable lined paper with many variatios.
    I have been searching for a notebook with one loned and on4e blank sheet alternately which I am sure I have seen in the past but cannot find anywhere.
    This is to allow writing and doodling or drawing at the same time.
    Something which allows more creativity.
    As I cant find this anywhere yor lined printable sheets are ideal to slip under th page of a blank notebook if the paper si not too thick.

    1. Jill, currently the Baron Fig Confidant Work/Play II is available with left hand dot grid and right hand blank. I’ll look for other options.

  21. Thanks a million for the guide sheets.
    These are so much nicer to use than the scrappy piece of paper I tore out of a cheap lined A4 notepad.
    As I new user of a Travellers Notebook I also printed out a 6mm & 7mm guide sheet in order to see what suits me best. These will be very handy to have 🙂

  22. Thank you so much for these! I have been using a dot grid Rhodia, and I think I want my next notebook to be blank – so this will be so helpful!!!

  23. Wow, this is exactly what I needed. I’m spastic without lines, and the notebook will be a Valentine’s Gift, once I fill it – so it needs to be neat. 🙂 Thank you SO much.

  24. This is common sense…you can’t do this with thick leather journals made of blank parchment. Which is what am looking for.

  25. Thank you so much for making these available Ana! I only use lined paper as a rule but just ordered some Tomoe River plain A4 and your templates will help enormously! Thanks again and have a wonderful weekend.

    A Canadian follower,

  26. hello and thank you for your guides. I was wondering if maybe you could add 12mm A4 Lined and 14mm A4 Lined. Thanks

  27. Ah man, I can’t believe I just found this. Such a simple, thing but so handy. I’ve just started getting into using fountain pens, and I can’t write in a straight line to save myself. hahah. Thanks for these.

  28. Wow, these guides are SO helpful. Thank you, thank you, thank you!!! I appreciate the time you took to make this resource.

  29. Hi, Ana! I use these guides all the time; they are so helpful. One suggestion to people that I’ve found helpful is to print the line guides on white card stock, the kind crafters use to make greeting cards and such. The guides last a lot longer this way.

    I’ve recently started using a Yoseka notebook, which is blank, but has thicker paper than lots of other notebooks. With my 60+-year-old eyes, I have trouble seeing the lines through the thicker paper. I’ve called Apple & Canon (my computer & printer people) and they were no help. I was wondering if there is any way these lines can be made darker, for more contrast? Or, failing that, maybe a teensy bit wider? Anything that would help me see them better would be great. I love the Yoseka notebook for fountain pens, and this is the only drawback. Oh – the guides I usually use are the A5 – 7mm & 8mm guides. I’d only need it on those. Thanks for your considerable time and effort in making these guides! Don’t know what I’d do without them.

    1. I can certainly make a wider lines edition. Give me a week or two to post them. I’ll add them as additional pages to the current editions.

      1. OMG, that is awesome, thank you! Take all the time you need; no rush. You are one super helpful person. 🙂

        1. Hey, Laura, I found the line guides with the bolder lines. They are perfect and exactly what I needed. Now I can use my favorite paper and still see the lines under the extra thickness. I’m in writer’s heaven!

  30. Thank you so much for these wonderful grids. I just purchased a blank notebook for 2020 journal and was looking for a way to ensure that my writing lines were even. This was a great resource!

  31. Thank you; it will make managing my US Letter Ringbound planner much more spontaneous. For some reason I never thought about creating guide sheets.

  32. Whoa…..came by these on pure accident and these are perfect for the guides sheets I need!! Thank you so much and I just placed a small order for some goodies!!

  33. This is so cool. I’ll print on really heavy paper. But here’s a question: anyone know of Kurrentschrift guides in 11mm spacing for A4 and A5? I can only find 13 and 14 mm in A4.

  34. Hi! A 5mm in US letter would be nice. Under some light conditions my notebook’s dot grid is hard to read, so having a template sheet underneath it would be helpful.

    1. We have 5mm lined and graph in US Letter already available, Mark but I’ll definitely add the dot grid to our list for the future. Thanks for reading!

  35. Awesome resource! Thanks so much for doing the work and making it available on the interwebs!

    Not a serious suggestion, but I just spent an hour searching for a configurable Archimedes Spiral as a guideline so I could write a more unusual letter to a friend. Definitely “the advanced course” 😉

    Thanks again for the community spirit!

  36. Wow. What a simple solution! Thanks so much for sharing “your secret” and for doing the work to make our lives easier! ☺

  37. These are awesome! I’m so incredibly thankful for you for creating them and I truly hope to eventually find some card versions somewhere. Or will work out a way of creating my own that are smooth enough to use without disturbing my fountain pens, as of course they would have to be created by a fixing a printout to a card backing one way or another, most likely using double-sided tape to reduce mess, though I would have to make sure I got it down completely flat.
    I would say I’d hope for plastic versions, but I’m someone who’s against bringing more plastic into the world. At least the card could just be recycled when they wear out.
    The only thing missing for me which I imagine will be the next step in your collection here, is the bold versions that have been created for A5 being done for A4. That would mean that my writing tools are complete! I would be one very happy writer at that point.
    I absolutely adore the freedom that comes with being able to use a blank journal yet having the support of guides when needed. I love using both dot, line and grid at different times as well as simply plain paper. I’m an artist and a writer and I’m in love with Midori notebooks. Though I currently keep hopping between the different types. This finally means that hopefully I can settle on simply using the blank ones and creating the world within them as I wish, meeting my needs as they evolve on an ongoing basis.

    1. I’ll try to get bold versions for A5 uploaded soon. As for cardstock versions, you should be able to send copies to print to your local copy shop like Office Depot, Fed Ex Kinko’s or Staples. You can upload the PDF to their online site and request to have the page or pages printed to heavyweight cardstock. As long as you are only making personal copies (not for resale), I give permission to make a small number of copies for use.

  38. Sarah: if you have any white card stock, like what people use for photo albums and crafting, it works great for printing out these lines. It’s what I use, and it lies perfectly flat under the page you’re writing on, and lasts a very long time. It’s thin enough to go easily through a printer, and thick enough to stand up to some use and abuse.

    1. J, I can certainly add the A4 / US letter size guide sheets with bold ruling. Hopefully I can get those up this week.

  39. Thank you so much Ana! I love reading your reviews for the past two years, so when I searched for lined templates I was glad to see you in the top page results because I don’t worry about getting a virus by downloading off an unknown site. 🙂 The lined template shows through my 24 lb. printer paper very well, and the bold lines even show through the 110gsm paper in my scribble journal. Much joy!!

  40. Hi, Ana

    I came across this article by accident, and I’m glad I did. I cannot write straight on blank paper to save my life. The first four or five words are fine, but after that, it’s up- or downhill, or both; it’s anybody’s guess.

    After I discovered that many authors and screenwriters nowadays write their first drafts by hand, I had to try it myself. I much prefer it over typing it up on my laptop. Then I went from ballpoint pen to fountain pen. And had to find FP-friendly paper that I could afford. Georgia-Pacific 20lb paper would suffice, but I also like to write on both sides of each sheet. That particular paper ghosts too much for that. HP Premium32, on the other hand, is perfect for writing on both sides with fountain pens. But if I want to write straight, I have to print lined pages. I’d rather write on blank paper, so I want to see if I can print one of your templates bold enough to see through that thicker 32lb paper. I’ll let you know how it works out.

  41. Hello! Thank you so much for these they are so handy for writing on blank stationery. I was wondering if it was possible to do a US Letter size in bold lines with 7 mm, please. Thanks so much!

  42. Thank you so much for these! An option that would be nice would be to add slanted lines as a guide for manuscript consistency.

  43. Hello Ana!

    I couldn’t remember what size the guide sheets I have from you are, so I stopped by. I was interested in purchasing some blank, loose leaf paper from the local stationer, but it’s A6. Can’t find anything.

    Preference would be for wider rule. Something akin to the Rhodia No. 16 Lined spacing.

    Could you please help?!

    Thank you for everything,


    1. When printing out our guide sheets, you can certainly trim them down to fit. In the case of A6, which measures 105 × 148 millimeters or 4.13 × 5.83 inches, the larger A5 size could be trimmed to fit or the smaller Field Notes (3.5 x 5.5″) size could “float” in a larger notebook. I will however add A6 size guide sheets to my to-do list.

  44. These are great, A4 in Bold and Dotted grid would be absolutely fantastic if you get the chance? I could then have these printed onto card.

  45. Thank you so much for these extremely helpful guide sheets. I use an Osmiroid Fine Italic fountain pen nib and I was wondering whether it would be at all possible to have a 5mm lined A4 template?

    1. Hello again Ana, I’m sorry to trouble you again but I was wondering if you have any plans to do a 5mm lined A4 template at some stage? I would appreciate it so much. Many thanks, Tricia

  46. Hello! I love that this resource exists, and I’ve used the guides for US Letter before. I’ve revamped my stationery wardrobe with A5, 7″ x 10″, and 6″ x 8″. I’ve downloaded the A5 template. Would it be okay to ask that templates for 7″ x 10″ and 6″ x 8″ with 7mm spacing be made?

  47. This is so appreciated! I’ve been trying to write on printer paper and needed a good guide of 6mm. Thanks so very much for you time and effort! After I write my letters I will check out all of these copies.

  48. This is absolutely the nicest guide sheets I have seen! Kimberly Lau commented on them or I would not have known about them. I printed a few on 40lb. paper and they’re great.

  49. Thanks a lot for these guides. I was searching for archives like that, and received your link in a notebook community in Reddit. Thanks, thanks and thanks for the bold ones. It help me with soft pollen papers that is more yellowish.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.