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Binder Sheet Sizes Explained

What does it mean when someone asks you, “what is the Sheet Size of your binder?” They are asking you for the size of the sheet that is being inserted onto the rings of your binder.

It is important to understand the Binder Sheet Size to be sure you order a binder that will correctly fit your printed sheets and index tabs.

The Sheet Size of a binder refers to the largest sheet of paper that will be inserted onto the rings of the binder and does NOT refer to the actual overall size of the binder.

The binder itself must be larger than the sheets going inside so that the sheets will not hang out past the covers on the top and open side of the binder when it is closed.

The standard sheet of paper is 11” x 8.5” – however, most three-ring binders have index tab dividers inserted in addition to printed copy sheets. If this is the case for your project, you would be looking for a Binder that holds 11” x 8.5” sheets plus ½” tab allowance. The ½” tab allowance refers to that extra ½” wide index tab that extends past the 11” x 8.5” sheet of paper.

The next common sheet of paper is the half sheet or 8.5” x 5.5” sheet – again, most standard binders that are made to hold 8.5”x 5.5” sheets will also have the ½” tab allowance built in. The 9.5” x 6” size sheet (plus ½” tab allowance) is also still considered common. But in comparison to the 11” x 8.5” and the 8.5” x 5.5” sizes, it is not used very frequently.

If you have a special sheet size other than the 11” x 8.5” or 8.5” x 5.5”, or 9.5” x 6”, you can have a binder custom made to hold your sheet size but you may have to work with your Sales Representative to discuss the ring metal that will best hold your special sheet size.

In addition you will want to consider whether the special sheet size will also have an index tab that extends ½” in width. This will need to be considered when your sales representative is calculating the size that the Binder needs to be in order to hold your sheets and index tabs.

One situation that often comes up is the use of Sheet protectors inside the binders.

The sheet protectors hold 11” x 8.5” sized sheets, but customers are sometimes confused that 11” x 8.5” is the sheet size of the binder. Keep in mind, the sheet size refers to the largest sized sheet that is going on the rings in your binder. So with a sheet protector for example, you would need to measure the sheet protector’s size since it is larger than the sheet it holds. Then, you would need to consider if you will be using Index Tab Dividers. If so, you will need to order oversized Index Tab Dividers since they will need to extend past the width of the Sheet Protector and not just the sheet of paper it holds. This usually will result in oversized Binders being ordered and not just a standard 11” x 8.5” plus ½” tab allowance binder.

It’s better to figure this out at the order placement stage than after you receive your binders and realize your sheet protectors hang out of the binders and cover up the index tabs

The most popular ring metal is the Three Ring Metal with 2 boosters on the ends (for easy opening). It is available in the three most common sheet sizes – however, if you have a custom sheet size, you may have to use a three ring metal that doesn’t come with 2 boosters on the ends, or either switch to another type of ring metal that offers a different ring count such as 2-ring, 4-ring, 6-ring, 7-ring etc.

Your sales representative can explain the options available to see what ring fits your project best.

Final takeaways: Sheet size refers to the largest sheet being inserted onto the rings of your binder and NOT the overall Binder Size. Be sure to consider whether your binder will have Index Tab Dividers, oversized Brochures or Sheet protectors inserted onto the rings and be sure you factor this into the Sheet Size information you are giving your Sales Representative. If you have a Sheet Size that isn’t custom, you may not have the ring choices available to those choosing a standard sheet size.

Organization experts at Binders, Inc. possess extensive, hands-on knowledge in helping organizations of all sizes find the right binder for their needs. We can help you find the perfect solution, regardless of whether you have standard sheet sizes listed above or not. Large retailers typically only carry standard sizes and are unable to develop a custom binder on-site.

Binders, Inc. has both, and can quickly deliver your custom binder anywhere. To discuss your sheet size and to find the right binder, please feel free to contact us by email anytime, or by phone weekdays at (800) 962-1807.