Tuesday, 6 November 2012

Filofax vs ARC notebook.

Whether they're aware of the salient fact or not, but I strongly suspect they are, those nice people at Filofax will surely be wondering about the consequences of  the arrival of a particular cardboard box, at Staples stores any time now.

I'm talking about the metal punch for the ARC notebook system, the system that uses plastic discs instead of a ring binder mechanism, a system that will undoubtedly provide some traditional Filofax users with some food for thought. And which potentially turns the ARC system into a "game changer".

We'll have our punch within the next few days but, in the meantime, if you can bare the thought of twenty minutes of idle chat about stationery, here's a couple of videos. We're not abandoning Filofax, far from it, but the three Filofax users in our family are trialling the ARC notebook system from the relative perspectives of a business owner, a university student and a busy working mum.


  1. Very interesting videos. Thanks!

    This system is excellent value for money. I looked at this and the rival Levenger products a couple of years ago. However I rejected the idea as they were only available in USA paper sizes rather than international (ISO) standards (A4, A5 etc).

    Now that Staples have introduced both ARC in standard sizes and launched a punch to match, it makes the whole thing very attractive. I see they've recently extended their cover and accessory ranges too.

  2. Thanks for your comment, Tim.

    We're still waiting for our punch, but maybe the delay is due to a large number of people also eager to get their hands on this elusive item.

  3. I suspect the delay is because they're being specially made for the international market. The USA version that has been available there for a long time is presumably only designed to cope with Letter size paper.

  4. Tim, thanks for that. There's 1,000 units showing on their in-store terminal, and the punch appears to be available on the website for on-line ordering. Hopefully, we'll gave one delivered soon.

    I'll post a review of the punch as soon as one gets sent to us.

  5. How well do you find the plastic discs hold the whole thing together? I had a similar (make unknown) book for a project a couple of years ago and it started to fall apart with overuse. Having said that I am not gentle on my noteboooks!

    1. Hmm, that's a good question, and we'll certainly find out as our trial continues, and I'll post the results from time to time.

      I have some sheets in my filofaxes that are more than twenty years old - the holes in the paper work very well, and you can always make repairs with hole reinforcements.

      My initial view is that the ARC system is that it's not as robust as a traditional ring binder, particulaly if you try to "stuff" the discs with too many sheets.

      But, and this is a really useful tip, you can hole punch the ARC sheets and transfer them to a filofax if you wish.

      Also, given how cheap the ARC system is, it's easy to avoid "overstuffing" either by adding an extra binder or changing the rings to a larger size.