How to measure a 3 ring binder to get what you need

Corporate Image re-created the 3-ring binder for you.

Your binder is strong, sustainable with a huge range of custom and printing options. Before you go planning window cuts, spot UV and other finishing options, make sure you have a good grasp on the basics.

What are you putting in your 3 ring binder?

Before you make any other decisions or hunt through hundreds of pictures of 3 ring binders, find out how many pages and other materials you need. This will clarify ring size, which gives a clear picture of what style of binder, 3-ring mechanism and how strong your binder needs to be.

Knowing the page count of your materials (and whether it vary) is key to determining ring size. Adding pamphlets, samples or give-aways, USB drives or other objects lets you know how large the spine of the binder might need to be.

If your information is in protective sleeves, we will also have to make sure tab dividers and front and back binder covers fit.

How many sheets of paper does a binder ring hold?

This depends on what style of ring you choose. A D-ring and a round ring hold the paper differently and have different benefits.

Eco Friendly, strong and good looking 3-ring Binders

D-ring binders

In a D-ring, the ring is shaped like a backward “D” so the paper is held evenly on the right, your tab dividers all line up and there is a clean line of paper. Some people find the harder to turn the pages quickly with a D-ring binder ( though a slant D-ring solves this problem).  A D-ring always mounts on the back panel of a binder – not the spine – so the paper rests on the flat part of the ring when it is closed. This makes the cover a little wider. If you need a small ring, it is good to know there is no 1/2″ D-ring.

  • 3/4″ D-ring holds up to 150 sheets of paper
  • 1″ D-ring holds up to 220 sheets of paper
  • 1.5″ D-ring holds up to 350 sheets of paper
  • 2″ D-ring holds up to 450 sheets of paper
  • 2.5″ D-ring holds up to 550 sheets of paper

Round ring binders (O ring)

A round ring can mount on the spine of a binder, so the covers, front and back, are a little shorter. It is easy to turn pages since it is a continuous curve. The issue with seeing tab dividers toward the bottom of the stack of information is negligible in smaller rings and up to you to decide if it is an issue in large rings. A lot of people don’t see it as a problem. For people with small paper needs – you can get a 1/2″ O ring binder!

  • .5″ O-Ring holds up to 90 sheets of paper
  • 3/4″ O-ring holds up to 130 sheets of paper
  • 1″ O-ring holds up to 170 sheets of paper
  • 1.5″ O-ring holds up to 250 sheets of paper
  • 2″ O-ring holds up to 350 sheets of paper
  • 2.5″ O-ring holds up to 450 sheets of paper

Picking a Binder for A4, US standard or Notebook binders

It is good to know that there are different sizes of paper depending on where you are in the world and what you need.

US standard paper is 8.5″ x 11″ and generally uses a 3-ring set up in a binder. This paper sized in used in the US, parts of Mexico and most of the time, Canada.

A4 paper sizes are used in Europe and most of the rest of the world. A4 paper is 8.3″ x 11.7″ which is very similar, but the binder needs to be resized to make sure it fits correctly. If you are in the US and think the A4 size looks arbitrary, it is a much more intuitive paper sizing – with A1 half of a sheet of A0, A2 is half of A1 …. Clever. A4 rings are either a 4 ring set up or a 2 ring set up, so make sure you know what your end needs are

Notebook sized paper can vary, but generally a half sheet of US standard paper. The sheets are 5.5″ x 8.5″ so you get a nice small binder. These are also generally a 3 ring set-up.

For more information on rings and styles of 3 ring binders click here!

Have fun with your custom binders! Just make sure the basics of how many pages and what sized paper are taken care of!

“You Say Potato”… 3-Ring Folders and Presentation Binders

Ordering binders tip #27

3-ring folders, ring folders or pocket folders with rings are just other ways of saying presentation binders.

A presentation binder is a pocket folder with rings. Made from sturdy paperboard, these ring folders are lighter than a full cased and lined binder and can have pockets on the inside of either cover. This makes them great for conferences and meetings where there is set information that everyone needs, but also the possibility of variable data that also needs to be organized.

presentation ring folder, presentation binder - Corporate Image


The benefits of ring folders / presentation binders

  • Lighter construction means they are easier to transport.
  • Inside and out can be printed. Great design potential.
  • Pockets fold in, so even if you are only printing the outside, the branding extends to the inside of the binder.
  • Branding of tab dividers can match perfectly.
  • Flexible for variable amounts of information
  • The perfect binder for conferences, meetings and tradeshows

Specs for 3 ring folders / presentation binders

  • You can use a 1/2″, 3/4″ or 1″ round binder rings
  • Pockets! Go no pockets, one or two pockets – Vertical or horizontal!
  • Printed on offset printing press for maximum quality.
  • Can be printed with PMS colors, 4 color process, spot UV, and/or varnish
  • 3 ring folders have custom window cuts.
  • US standard, A4, or notebook (half sheet) binder sizes available. (Custom sizes possible!)
  • 100% recyclable!

Writing a RFP or RFQ for Custom 3-ring Binders? Here is a little help.

This is a guest post by Lori Owens

Sometimes you need a little help writing a Custom Binder RFP/RFQ

Writing an RFP (Request For Proposal) or an RFQ (Request for Quote) for custom printed 3-ring binders (or finding a binder option for that variable data) can be a tough undertaking. There are a lot of variables involved, from the purpose of the binder, the artwork, the size, and even the material.

Whether you are looking for a customized printed 3-ring binder or a binder that allows you to print your own labels to provide that variable data for your binder project look no farther – Corporate Image and Naked Binder can help with your needs.

What do you need to specify for your binder RFP or RFQ?

There are some basic things to consider right off. How the binder is being used will be key.  How much information is being put in, how it will be used and how it needs to represent your brand are the basic questions.

What Size Custom 3-ring Binder Do We Need?

The two key things to know here are what size paper are you putting in the binder and how much.

Is the paper US standard, half sheet or A4?  If you are in the US or Canada, generally it will be 8.5″ x 11″ paper.  If not, the chances are your binder will hold A4.

The next measurement to look for is capacity. For a custom manufacturer binder size is actually a measurement of ring capacity, and not the width of the spine of the binder.

In order to determine ring size in reviewing responses to your RFP, we have provided a quick overview of what ring size would be appropriate for your custom binder application, the table below is based on the number of sheets of 20# bond paper. As you can see D-ring binders hold more paper than Round ring binders.  If you have a larger ring size and are using tab dividers, a D-ring also holds the paper flatter on the insuring your tabs are visible.

sizing a 3-ring binder - Corporate Image

What are Our Priorities in this Custom 3-ring Binder RFP/RFQ?

Before we can quote a binder, you need to decide the look and feel of your binder. (See a gallery of 3-ring binder styles here!) How you are using it and what art and finish you want will determine whether it is a lined and cased binder or paperboard binder, or whether it will print digitally or offset.

Look and Feel of the binder – how it is used – how it fits with your brand

custom printed portfolio binder - Corporate Image

Binder Options (options list here)

  • Does your binder need to be printed in full color? Spot UV? Labels? Foil? Cloth?
  • Is a Glossy or Matte finish important?
  • Do you need variable data?
  • Does your binder need to be recyclable?


  • What specifically is the use of the binder?
  • How often are the contents likely to be referenced?
  • How long does the custom ring binder have to last?


  • What is the likely initial order quantity?
  • How frequently would you anticipate reordering, or is this a one time project?


  • Has a budget been set for the project?


Production Time, Methods, and Preferences

Another key consideration you should outline in your RFP is your anticipated project date, and whether or not the “required by” date is firm. We would specify if the request is doable right away. If the required by date is flexible (or far enough out), it allows us to consider all possible options in meeting your request, and maximizing your budget.

Corporate Image and Naked Binder’s manufacturing plant is located in Des Moines, IA, we are happy to say our binders are made in the USA. This allows for a quick turnaround time and also knowing shipping costs would be less than importing binders.

Outlining these preferences in your RFP/RFQ is helpful in generating an accurate response and enabling us to find the most effective solution for your custom binder project.

How Flexible Are Your Custom Binder Specifications?
How to Spec a RFP Binder - Corporate ImageDepending on your budget for the project, it may be possible for us to meet all of your expectations and requirements and we can determine this for you right up front. There are also options that you may not have thought of which can add value to your binders while also saving you money.

These options might include ring size, type of paper, turned-edge, flush cut, bare board binder, or paperboard binders, finishes, D-ring, slant D-ring or round ring, artwork… any one of a number of variables. By indicating which specifications may be able to be modified in order to make your project work, this will provide us with the information needed in order to make a proper and accurate response.

Custom Binder Warehousing, Drop Shipping, and Fulfillment

It is important to include information in your RFP about the implementation of your binder program.

Will your binder program require drop shipping to multiple locations, either at the start of the program or throughout the year?

If you’re drop shipping, will it be “blind drop shipping” or white labeling?

Need More Help with Your Custom Binder RFP or RFQ?

Have Questions? We’re always willing to help. Please feel free to contact your sales consultant and let us help understand your project and provide the best possible solution for your binder project. We look forward to working with you! Contact us and let us give you a hand!


A4 paper sizing: Why is A4 sized the way it is?

In the US, there is little understanding of the A4 paper size used everywhere except in North America.

It is a great system – elegant and rational – and worth looking at.  There is also a reason that your 3-ring binder won’t work with A4 paper as it is taller.

The A series of paper sizes are designed so that when you cut one in half, you get two pieces of the next-smallest-size, and every size has height and width in the same proportion. A little math reveals that one can achieve this by having the height and width in the ratio sqrt(2):1, or approximately 1.414:1.

So once you’ve decided that this is the ratio you want for your page, how do you decide the absolute size?

In the case of the A series of paper sizes, an A0 piece of paper is exactly 1 square metre, requiring width x width x 1.414 = 1, which gives a width of 84.1cm and height of 118.9cm (to the nearest mm).

An A1 piece of paper has a length that’s the same as the width of A0, or 84.1cm, and a width of 84.1cm / sqrt (2) = 59.5cm. Which you’ll notice is half the height of the A0 size (118.9cm).

These relationships hold true going all the way down to A10:

It happens that of the A series, A4 is the one that’s closest to the traditional size used for correspondence, and this has therefore become the de facto standard paper size in the metric world (i.e. pretty much globally except the United States).

One fairly obvious consequence of this is that one can make a booklet of a particular size, from a sheet of the next-largest-size folded in half. So A3 sheets of paper can be folded to create A4-size booklets.

Another interesting consequence is that it becomes easy to calculate the weight of single sheets. Standard photocopy paper is usually 80gsm (grams per square metre), thus an A0 sheet, being 1 square metre, weighs 80g. An A1 weighs 40g, A2 is 20g, A3 is 10g, and A4 is 5g. (And so on.)

Stumbled on at Quora

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