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Hole Punching Guide

Everything you ever wanted to know about hole punching paper for ring binders

—but didn’t think to ask.

On November 14th, 1886, Friedrich Soennecken filed a patent for a Papierlocher für Sammelmappen—that humble, but essential testament to German engineering, the hole punch—the design of which has hardly changed in nearly a century and a half. So on top of hole punching, Soennecken can also be thanked for the ring binder. Here at Abbey Stationery, we raise a glass to him. Thank you for our best-selling product, which makes organising and storing piles of paper so much more efficient.

Size matters!

We’ve all done it...wielded the office hole punch on a sheaf of documents, only to find that the file we planned to use has three rings not two and they’re spaced incorrectly. Those mistakes are not only wasteful, but time-consuming and frustrating, so here’s a handy guide for you to avoid such mishaps in the future, to ensure the right number of holes, for the ring binder that’s most fit for purpose:

A4  and A5 sized documents

  • 2-ring binders - simple, economic, holes spaced at 80mm apart,  but if you’re going to be turning those pages a lot, best avoided because they’re more likely to tear.
  • 3-ring binders - these are rarely used in the UK—common in the US—holes spaced at 108-108 mm on A4 and 70-70mm on A5.  We could get them for you if required, but they’re not standard
  • 4-ring binders - good for heavy use (catalogues, price lists etc.), least risk of tearing, holes spaced at 80-80-80 mm on A4 and 45-65-45mm on A5.

We can also offer:

Universal punching

A versatile choice for you, with files and wallets designed to use for all inserts, with any conformation of holes

Landscape binders

With these, the rings conform to the short side—for example, A4 landscape will have A5 specification rings, and A3 will have A4.

Check out our landscape binders.

Binder dimension options

In the table below, you can see the dimensions of our 2-ring and 4-ring  binders.

  • The ring size determines how much paper will go into the binder. We can’t specify the number of sheets because it depends on the thickness of the paper.
  • The spine width will determine how many binders you can fit on your shelf!
Ring size Spine width Notes
11mm 20mm
15mm 25mm
20mm 32mm
25mm 38mm
30mm 45mm
35mm 45mm Lever arch
40mm 50mm
50mm 70mm
65mm 89mm Lever arch
80mm 102mm Arch, not ring

As modern workplaces trek further into digital realms, we’re sure there will always be a place for hard copy. Here at Abbey, we’re always pleased to help you with all your binding requirements.

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