You are currently viewing What is an Ideal Diary Size Should Be

What is an Ideal Diary Size Should Be

For many, a diary is an old familiar friend, a tool that has been with them for the length of their life. For others it’s something they want to try to incorporate into their daily lives. In any case, when choosing a diary, the question of a good size for diary comes up.

What is an ideal diary size should be? Ideal diary should be sized to accommodate your writing needs, the size of your handwriting and your journaling habits.

Diary size needs are as individual as the people who use them. From what you use your diary for, to how often, to style of your handwriting, diary sizes fulfilling those needs would be different. Let’s look into each of these considerations to see which diary size is right for you.

Standard Diary Sizes

Before we dive into the specifics of what diary will serve you best, let’s review the diary sizes on the market today so that we can speak the common language. (For an amazing, detailed guide to various paper and notebooks sizes in different countries, visit

The paper sizes and notebooks sizes vary in measurements (and in names) from country to country.

You don’t even need to look that far: the page size in US is 8.5”x11”, while in Europe the comparable to the page size is called A4 and is 8.3”x11.7”. So, to avoid getting too much into the weeds of many paper sizes, lets look at notebooks from the stand point of these few common sizes:

  • Pocket
  • Slim
  • Medium
  • Large

Pocket notebook is the smallest of the four and usually comes in a 3.5”x5.5” size.

Slim notebook is the next in size and run about 4”x7”.

Medium notebook is the one that you typically think of when people talk about diaries and journals. It’s the one sized at 5”x8.25”.

Large notebooks are the ones bigger than all the above and often come in the 8.5”x11” or the size of a page.

So, which of these would make a perfect diary for you?

It will all really depend on your personal characteristics and preferences.

Let’s look at the pocket-sized notebook.

Pocket-sized Diary

A pocket-sized diary will be a great choice for you if you often take the notes on the go, don’t want to dig for your diary in your bag and if your notes are short.

Since the pocket diary is so small, it’s definitely not for everyone. If your handwriting tends to be big and you write long, pocket notebooks will be of little use to you.

Where they really shine is in short, bulleted note-taking, often for the purpose of later be transferred to the regular, larger size diary in more detail.

Pocket diaries are great for jotting down stray thoughts or ideas that strike while you are away from your desk.

Small-sized diaries are ill-suited for an extended writing. Their limited page span makes it difficult to really write your heart out and they are more of a “shortcut” of a diary.

Slim-sized Diary

Slim size notebooks are slightly larger than the pocket ones and offer a bit more room. You often see them as inserts into modular journals like Traveler’s Notebook.

Because slim notebooks are almost as tall as the Medium notebooks, they have more space for writing and even embellishments in your diary.

Still, the fact that they are pretty narrow, makes them tricky or at times even annoying to write in with your hand constantly landing on the edge of the notebook.

If you want to take more than just bullet notes in your diary, but you don’t see yourself writing pages of thoughts, you can consider the slim diaries.

They can do a great job as a part of your Traveler’s Notebook, especially for things like gratitude list, affirmations and daily wins.

Medium-sized Diary

Medium notebooks are what you see used most often. They are great as diaries, bullet journals, planners and so on.

Medium-sized notebook can be easily fit into your bag or backpack, even tucked away into a coat pocket. It’s discreet enough and can be stored away with easy if you want your privacy.

At the same time, you have plenty of room to write. Be it morning and evening reflections, morning pages, daily gratitude lists or detailed plans, you can write freely knowing you have pages and pages available to you.

Medium diaries are that great combination of a portable size and generous amount of writing space.

Since the width of the medium-sized diary is 5”, it gives you comfortable space to rest your hand while you write without falling off the edge. The pages are big enough to let you go wild with whatever you want your diary be.

It can hold stream-of-consciousness writing, it can hold an art journal embellished with markers, watercolors and stickers, it can hold detailed step-by-step notes for your favorite recipe or even your school notes.

Most of the notebook manufacturers like Moleskin or Leuchtturm1917 carry medium-sized diaries and the are the easiest to purchase in a great variety of paper thickness and whiteness, as well as plain, lined, dotted or squared styles of paper.

Large-sized Diary

Now, if your handwriting tends to run pretty large, or you write a lot and often, or if you simple like the room to spread, large diaries might be the answer.

If you don’t tend to take your notebook with you, if you only write when you are at your desk, or if you like to have a lot of room to write out your note and not have them crowded, large notebooks that run at 8.5”x11” are fantastic.

I can tell from a personal experience that even if you like standard, medium-sized notebook for your usual writing, you might find that large-sized diaries are pretty awesome for other things like brainstorming your project, clearly laying out detailed plans with a lot of moving pieces or simply having a room to “breathe” when you are writing something that is important.

Large-sized diaries are great for things like brainstorming your project, clearly laying out detailed plans with a lot of moving pieces.

To recap, here are some of the things to consider when choosing an ideal diary size for you:

  • How much do you write a day?
    • If you are a brisk note-taker on the go, go small
    • If you like your writing longer, but want to stay portable, go medium
    • If you write at home and write a ton, choose a large notebook
  • How large or small is your handwriting?
    • If you have one of those adorable tiny handwritings, you can get away with writing in a small diary
    • If your handwriting is of regular size or tends to be a bit bigger, do yourself a favor and pick the medium size
    • If you fly free with large letters and plenty of space and don’t like to feel cramped, choose the large notebook
  • How portable does your diary needs to be?
    • If you are always on the go, don’t carry a bag and don’t want to be weighted down by yet another thing to carry, go with the small pocket notebook
    • If you are out and about and love to have your diary with you, but you always have your backpack and your laptop case with you, might as well pick the medium diary
    • If you don’t care to take your notebook out of the house where it rests on your desk and waits for you to return from work, large size journal is your choice
  • How do you actually use your diary?
    • Quick notes and bullets can land perfectly in a pocket diary
    • Daily reflections, gratitude lists and bullet journaling beg for a medium-sized notebook
    • If you are into novel-style amounts of writing, or you love the Morning pages (remember, 3 pages of writing every morning), you will need some serious room and large journals can give you that
  • How intimidated are you by the process of writing?
    • Writing in a diary is a wonderful way to express yourself and offload your worries and thoughts, but if the sight of a blank page intimidates you, try a pocket diary. The smaller the page, the smaller the fear, right? Once you get used to jotting your thoughts in there, you can move up to another size
    • If you are a regular to writing, medium-sized diary is tried and true and will serve you well
    • If you are ambitious in your writing and need a room to spread, go with a large size

You don’t have to stick with just one size of a diary.

You can have a pocket-sized diary for quick note-taking (heck, you can even write in short code if you are a private person and afraid you might lose it).

You can also have a medium-sized diary for you regular journaling, for your long-hand records and thoughts and dreams.

And you can also have a large diary for those times when you want to dream big, maybe even create a portable dream board or experiment with some art journaling or sketch out the details for your next big idea.

With notebooks being pretty affordable these days, you can get one of each size and see how they work out for you, then settle on your most favorite one.