Differences Between Loose Leaf & Spiral Binding

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Consider your note-taking habits when choosing a type of paper
Consider your note-taking habits when choosing a type of paper (Image: Stockbyte/Stockbyte/Getty Images)

Loose leaf and spiral bound are two of the options you have when shopping for paper. Both types are useful for taking personal notes, or for use at work or school. Several differences exist between loose-leaf and spiral bound paper, which you should take into consideration before deciding what type to purchase.

Binding

Binding is the most obvious physical difference between spiral bound and loose-leaf paper. While loose-leaf paper may be placed in a binder or duo-tang and later removed, once a sheet of spiral bound paper has been torn out of the notebook, it may not be put back. If you don't intend to remove the paper from the notebook, spiral bound paper can be an effective way of keeping your papers together and organized. If you wish to have the ability to remove and replace your papers, using loose-leaf paper in combination with a clipboard, binder or duo-tang may be your preferred option.

Holes

Both spiral bound and loose-leaf paper are punched with the standard three holes, allowing the pages to be placed in a standard binder or duo-tang. However, due to the binding, spiral bound paper also has many smaller holes along the edges of the margin that accommodate the metal or plastic spirals that keep the pages bound together. While some spiral bound notebooks contain a perforated edge that allows the user to remove the page before these binding holes, some do not and may result in jagged edges if the pages are removed.

Margins

Because it is bound into a notebook, spiral bound paper does not have as much margin space as loose-leaf paper. The increased margin space of loose-leaf paper may be desired for editorial purposes, for documents you wish to add additional notes to or for adding miscellany alongside the text proper. If a wider, more spacious margin is desired, loose-leaf paper may be your preferred option.

Additional features

Spiral bound paper notebooks often contain additional features that may be desirable. These notebooks often contain cardboard dividers that make dividing the pages into sections simple. This is an especially useful organizational tool for students who may wish to use a single spiral bound notebook to take notes for multiple classes. These cardboard dividers sometimes have pockets that allow you to organize and store handouts and loose sheets of paper. Spiral bound paper notebooks sometimes also contain lists of commonly misspelled words, maps and multiplication tables as reference guides.The covers of spiral bound notebooks also feature different colors and designs, which may be selected to reflect your personal style

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