New Size, New Mail! Thoughts On Filofax A5 Inserts

After a lot of thought, I decided to take the jump into an A5 sized planner.

Since I’ve been home due to closures related to Covid-19, there’s no reason for me to worry about the weight or portability of a planner anymore. And while I love my regular giramondo, I find that the pages are too narrow for me to include many details or events. And then, there’s also the added issue of not being able rearrange pages unless I cut them out.

So, I felt like the next natural progression was to move back into a ring bound in the A5 size which is much easier to source than say a B6 size. While I could print my own inserts, I’m trying to make planning stress-free not stressful. I understand some people enjoy printing and making their own inserts, I tried it once and it just wasn’t my thing. So, kudos to you all who do print and make your own planner inserts!

I took the opportunity to place a small order of inserts on the Filofax website. I know there are other websites that sell A5 inserts, but I wanted to stick to the basics. And, I was also able to combine a 10% off coupon and one of their existing sales to get 4 items for the wonderful price of $29.75 with shipping included. That’s pretty much a steal when you consider paper prices.

I ordered:

  • Horizontal Year Planner A5 2020
  • Horizontal Year Planner A5 2021
  • Month on Two Pages Diary A5 2020
  • Stripes Illustrated Diary Refill Pack A5 2020

Since I don’t have a concrete idea of how I want to set up the A5 yet, I decided to just start with a small order to get a feel for the kind of layouts and spacing Filofax inserts had. I was worried about ordering too many inserts, and I didn’t want to waste any sheets by not using them. I truly felt like this was one of those situations where less is more, especially when I don’t know what I really want.

More importantly, I was also concerned about the quality of the paper and how it would handle fountain pens. I read some not so great personals accounts on how bad the Filofax White sheets were versus the Filofax Cotton Cream sheets. There were other comments however that stated Filofax had updated or upgraded the sheets around 2018 to a better quality to where the White and Cotton Cream sheets were on par with one another in terms of how they handle fountain pens.

After writing on the 2020 Horizontal Year insert, I can say the paper is pretty disappointing. My medium nib pretty much feathered right away on the page. I’ll need to take some time to ink up some extra pens and see if the pages can handle a smaller nib better. And if that doesn’t work, then I’ll just use a gel pen until I use up the inserts.

On another thought, after receiving and seeing the Stripes Diary Refill in person, I’m realizing that while the price was great, the bright colors are a little much for me. Since we’re halfway through the year, I should be able to power through them easily. But, it was a pretty solid reminder that sometimes less is more, and I’m definitely someone who prefers something professional and functional. I wish that I could like them more. I do think it’s nice that they include monthly dividers, and even if I don’t think I’ll use them, I can still recycle them by passing them to my mom.

Filofax did also say their 2021 inserts would be up on the website in a couple months, so when that happens I’ll be ordering some lined note sheet inserts and a 2021 diary pack in the Cotton Cream color for testing. I was disappointed to find out that the Cotton Cream weekly inserts are only available in vertical, and I’ll probably have an adjustment period with them. I have vertical weekly inserts in my giramondo, and I haven’t been able to utilize them in a way that really clicks with me.

I feel like this delivery was a good one.

I’m definitely excited to put them to use. At this point, I just need for my actual A5 planner binder to arrive so that I can put these inserts to real use and find a layout system that works for me.

I did notice while filling out the A5 weekly inserts that because I have so much more space between events, I feel less stressed and anxious about seeing a full weekly spread. It makes the page look less busy, and I feel like I’m in control of the schedule versus just following what’s written. It wasn’t something that I was expecting, and I’m really pleased with the size.

So I guess overall my reception of the inserts is mixed, bordering more on the positive than negative.

The major benefits are the amount of space for writing and functional layout while a major negative is the terrible paper quality. Maybe I’ll change my mind when I try the Cotton Cream because that’s the one everyone raves about, but for now, I don’t think I could comfortably recommend Filofax White insert sheets to someone who uses fountain pens regularly.

On the other hand, I don’t think a non-fountain pen user would have the same complaints about the paper’s quality because they still feel quite nice to the touch.


Originally a hobbyist, Theresa is now deeply entrenched in the world of fine writing goods. Her curiosity was initially sparked through the fountainpens subreddit and has now grown beyond just fountain pens, to include planners, premium paper, and fountain pen inks. Her misadventures can be tracked through her instagram.

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