DIY Versatile Academic Planner

Introduction: DIY Versatile Academic Planner

This Instructable leads you through the creation of an Academic Planner that focuses on to-do lists/assignments and important due dates. It also offers a dedicated space for miscellaneous notes or doodles. It is setup to be used by week, and gives the option of including the week number, actual dates of the week, or both.

This Instructable uses Adobe Photoshop for creating the page layouts, but does not use any advanced features, so it should work in any photo editing software (such as Gimp, a free software program similar to Photoshop) with some minor alterations to command names or locations.


  • Photoshop or other graphics editor
  • Color printer
  • Scissors
  • Small hole punch
  • DIY notebook binding
  • Cardstock (10-15 pages plain white, optional two pages decorative)
  • Markers/Sharpies
  • Optional: pliers, binding machine.

Step 1: Step 1: Designing Your Pages

Start by creating a new template page in Photoshop by selecting File > New. Change the dimension size to inches. For this project, we wanted our planner to have 6"x8" of writing space. We added one inch of space to account for the binding method, so the template size should be 7" wide by 8" in height. Use the rectangle tool to create a 1" margin on the left side of the page, filled in in the color of your choice (I used grey) to signify that this will be space for the binding and prevent putting design elements in this area.

Step 2: Step 2: Create Space for Important Dates/Notes

Use the rectangle tool and the gridlines to mark off one inch of space on the inside edge to account for binding. In the example, the space is filled in with grey to clearly separate it from the work areas.

Use the rectangle tool with no fill to create list areas. Create a rectangle one half inch tall by five inches wide. Duplicate the layer in the layers menu and move the new layer into place immediately below, with the outlines laying over each other. You may need to zoom in to get it perfectly aligned.

Select the rectangle tool on the left hand side of the screen. In the formatting bar, select no fill and a black outline 1px wide. Draw a rectangle on your page 0.5" tall and 5" wide. Right click on the rectangle layer in the layers menu. Select Duplicate. Drag the duplicate box so it sits immediately below the first rectangle with the top and bottom borders overlapping. You may need to zoom in align it correctly. Repeat until you are left with four lines. Select all four rectangle layers in the layers menu by selecting the first one, holding down the shift button, and then selecting the last one or holding down CTRL (Windows) or CMMD (Mac) and selecting each layer. Right click and select link layers so all the layers will move together instead of individually. Move this list close to the blocked out left margin and whatever distance is preferred from the top. I moved mine about 2/3s of the way down the page.

Note: It extremely helpful to rename layers as you go. In Photoshop, simply double click on the layer name in the layers menu.

Step 3: Step 3: Create Two Columns for To-Do Lists

Select all four layers of rectangles from your Important Notes Section. Duplicate all four layers three times and rename them to To Do Lists. Align these so that they are stacked to create a lined list. Link all layers together.

Create another rectangle 1.5" taller than your to-do lists and is 2" wide. Move this so it rests 0.25" from the left side of your To-Do Lists and aligned at the bottom border. Duplicate this layer and move it so it is aligned at the right side border and bottom border. Link all layers.

Step 4: Step 4: Add Section for Odds and Ends

Use the rectangle tool to create a rectangle 5" wide and ___ high. Move this to the bottom of the page and re-space sections vertically to your preferences.

Step 5: Step 6: Add Section Labels

Using the font of your choice (I used BAVRO) title the important notes and odds & ends sections of your page. Resize the font to preference and place to preference. You can make this black and white or in color- I chose color (blue), as blue & green have been proven to promote good study habits in students.

Flip the entire image 90 degrees clockwise. Right click on the rectangle tool option and select line. Adjust the line to be 5px thick. Draw two parallel lines on the lower half of the template with space for text between. Use the text tool to insert the terms "WEEK:" and "DATES:" with space in between (use the space bar, to preference, for best alignment.

Step 6: Step 6: Prepare Pages

Print pages (depending on class load and length) on cardstock. Cut around edges with a paper cutter (preferred) or scissors.

If using purchased binding, mark the back of one page with a pencil dot where the binding will be inserted. Use a small hole punch to insert binding into. Repeat on all pages as needed.

Step 7: Step 7: Create a Cover

Use decorative cardstock or decorate plain card stock. You will need two pieces (one for front cover and one for back cover). Write a title on the front cover. Laminate if desired. Mark places for binding. Use small hole punch to make holes for binding.

Step 8: Step 8: Put Pages Onto Binding

Place the pages onto the binding and close with hands, binding machine, or pliers.

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    Nice design. I am going to print out a few of these for my kids