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Tips and Hacks for Printing Printables

printable hack tip

If you have ever experimented with printing and cutting inserts for various planner sizes, invariably, you have wasted paper, screamed in exasperation, said you were done with printables, and worse. Well, after years of experimenting, and at least a ream of paper down the tubes, I have tips and hacks to help you avoid frustration when printing printables.


So first of all, You need to start with the right tools. This means you need to have a printer that does double sided, preferable in a single pass. I use this one. I have had HP printers for many years and I love that the ink lasts a long while and it is reliable.

Some printing tips:

  • Always read the directions that come with the printable you purchased if you are trying to print double sided. Some shops use different standards.
  • Open the printable in Adobe (free version, or preferably Adobe Acrobat Pro). Printing directly from your browser is not advisable. Download first, and then open in Adobe.
  • One common mistake with double sided printing is choosing the wrong end to flip (short or long).
  • Another pitfall is choosing the paper sizing. Do not assume that it is correct when you open the printable. Most people who sell printables, want you to use ACTUAL SIZE, but again, refer to the directions.


You also need some good paper. For a long time I relied on 28 pound paper to economize, but you can sometimes see through and especially if you use a highlighter, it is not a good look. I moved to 32 pound paper and used Hammermill Bright white for many years, but it always bothered me that the paper didn't match my Cloth and Paper inserts, so my printables looked cheap in comparison. I found THE BEST bright white 32 pound paper and never looked back. This is the cheapest price I have found, and it even costs less than the 28 pound paper I used to buy.


This video shows my tips for cutting your printables. You are going to need a good trimmer.


After you have trimmed, you are going to need to punch. I have two punches that take care of all my punching needs. The one that punches all discbound (half letter, letter, MiniHP, Classic HP, C&P Sticker book) is the Levenger Heavy Duty Punch demonstrated partway through this DIY video. I also use a Rapesco Punch for Rings. You can adjust this punch to punch inserts and dashboards for pocket through A5 sizes.


There is a learning curve in printing printables. I know how frustrated I felt until I mastered these tips. The good news is that practice does help and if you are trying for the first time, try some of my videos to see the process.