Most bullet journal notebooks have a dot grid that is a square 5mm x 5mm (0.5cm x 0.5cm). But as the popularity of bullet journaling has grown, there’s now many more notebooks to choose from, including some that have a different dot grid spacing. So should you stick with the classic 5mm x 5mm grid, or try a different size?
I wanted to try a smaller dot grid and did so in the Nuuna notebook. This one has a 3.5mm grid and because of that, I ended up using about 1.5 rows for the bottom of letters like p and the tops of letters like F. I think it worked ok because the nuuna notebook (16.5cm wide x 22cm high), is larger than most dot grid notebooks (typically A5 size). But at a smaller page size you’ll run out of space quickly if you do this.
I also don’t like my text to be bunched close together on the page, so wrote on every second line.
Most notebooks come in a 5mm dot grid size. If you’re overwhelmed trying to choose a notebook, I’d consider these things:
- What do you want to use it for? Check the paper quality matches your intended use (the higher the GSM number = the thicker the paper and less possibility of ghosting or bleed through)
- Do you want bright white paper or are you ok with yellowish paper?
- Do you want a pretty cover or you don’t mind?
- What page size do you need?
- What country are you located in and how much is shipping? (if you live in Australia like I do, sometimes the shipping ends up costing more than the notebook!)
Related post: My Favorite Notebooks for Bullet Journaling
Despite so many notebooks having a similar page size, the distance from the edge of the page to the dots, and the distance from the dots to the centre spine can actually differ quite a lot between notebooks.
Some examples of well known notebooks for comparison:
- Scribbles that matter pro – 5.5mm from the left and right side edges of the page, 7mm from the top and bottom edges of the page, 6.5mm from the spine
- Archer and Olive – 4mm from the left and right side edges of the page, 7mm from the top and bottom edges of the page, 6.5mm from the spine
- Dingbats – 7mm from the left and right side edges of the page, 8mm from the top and bottom edges of the page, 5mm from the spine
Most row and column grid spacing stencils (which are super helpful and can save you a ton of time), are designed for a 5mm dot grid. There are also an increasing number of 5mm washi tape options nowadays – especially super practical days of the week washi tape.
Read more: Favorite days of the week washi tape
An alternative to a traditional sewn bound notebook, is to use customisable notebooks like the Happy Notes, where you can add your own printable dot grid paper (perfect for experimenting with different dot grid sizes), or add their dot grid refill paper. The refill design below has a 4.5mm x 4.5mm grid.
0.25 inches (6.35mm)
If you often use highlighters, most of them have a chisel tip that’s 5mm wide (or less), so you may need to use 2 rows of highlighter to fit one of the dot grid rows in a 0.25 inch / 6.35mm grid.
If you like leave a blank row in between when doing bullet journaling, you may want to move to a larger page size (or a 0.25″ grid may force you to plan less as you’ll run out room faster!)
A closer look at 6.35mm dot grid spacing in one of my Agendio notebooks. They can custom make planners (like, completely custom) and notebooks for you.
The Paipur notebook has a 6mm dot grid on the left and lined pages on the right. It’s a notebook I often recommend to anyone looking to try bullet journaling, but not dive all the way in and still wants some lined pages too.
What dot grid size is best for what?
All depends on personal preference but here’s my take:
- 6mm (or larger) dot grid is good for drawing graphs (such as savings or habit trackers) and if you have large handwriting
- 5mm dot grid is the best for writing checklists
- 3.5mm dot grid if you prefer to write on every second row in your bullet journal
Having tried all of the above grid sizes over the years my verdict is… 5mm dot grid spacing is popular for a reason! It’s just the right size – not too small and not too big. I always gravitate back to a 5mm dot grid so if you aren’t sure what size to use, I recommend going with a 5mm dot grid.
More bullet journaling tips
- Favorite washi tape for planning, planner decorating & color coding
- 7 Ways to use dot markers in your planner or bullet journal
- 50 Tips for writing a better to do list that will make you more productive
Bullet journal notebook reviews
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