What is an undated diary?

Q&A: What Is An Undated Diary?

What is an undated diary?

What is an undated diary?

It might seem an odd question but it’s not immediately obvious to everyone what an undated diary is. Whilst most people are familiar with a diary that has the days pre-printed for you, an undated diary simply follows the same format but just leaves the dates out. So regardless of whether the layout is a daily diary, weekly or even monthly it will be the same, with days of the week but no dates.

Example layouts of undated diaries, showing daily, weekly and monthly formats

What is the point?

Whilst there is an obvious time-saving benefit to a diary with the dates already printed for you (not to mention the accuracy of having the right dates on the right days), a ‘normal’ diary also has a shelf-life. So your 2018 diary will be of no use until the day it starts, and of no use once the last day has passed. An undated diary frees you from needing to use it in that specific time-frame. So if you have a more relaxed approach to keeping time, or maybe don’t need a diary every week of the year then an undated diary will be ideal.

What else can an undated diary do?

Another great use is that if you need a diary outside of diary season then an undated diary is there, ready and waiting. Diary season means that frenzied couple of months towards the end of the year when diaries come and go very quickly, and come early January there’s nothing left. So if you decide in March you need a diary, you might well be waiting a long time.

You can also let your creative self go free and customise the pages, unrestricted by the printed format already there. In fact, many diaries are so format-heavy that there is little room left to add appointments, but an undated diary tends to be less cluttered. Because it has no dates.

How do I use one?

Customise your undated diary
Customise your undated diary as much as you want to - even use stamps to add the dates

The quickest and easiest way is to just use a pen and write the dates in as you need them. The longer way is to go crazy with different pens, stamps and washi tape to make something quite unique. And then use it like you would use any diary. But just don’t feel you have to do every day or week. It’s your diary.

Anything else I need to know?

One more great advantage is that normally a diary gives you one shot. Mess it up with too many changed appointments or just spill you coffee on that page and you’ve got a problem. Undated diary? No problem as even in the worst case you just tear it out and start that week again.

diary formats

Q&A: Diary Formats Explained

diary formats


If you are looking for a paper diary then it might seem daunting when faced with such choice but this short guide should help with explaining diary formats. And yes, despite the prevalence of online diaries and calendars there is still a big demand for a traditional paper diary. After all, a paper diary is there no matter what wi-fi is available, it’s simple to use and easy to flick from date to date. Just the mere addition of a pen or pencil and it works. Like it has always done, tried and trusted down the years.

As for deciding which of the available diary formats are right for you, the choice is actually quite simple. It essentially breaks down into one question – are you a daily or weekly person? And after that you choose your size and the rest is more cosmetic – choosing colour and cover.

The First Big Question - Calendar Year or Academic Diary?

This won’t affect the format but you might be unsure on what the difference is. Quite simply, most diaries cover a year from January to December with maybe the odd week either end to see you from year to year. These are calendar year diaries.

An academic diary is aimed at people involved in studying – teachers and students – because their year is based more around a mid-year to mid-year schedule. These diaries will start sometime around July and run to the following year. Oddly many of these run for 18-months but we have yet to understand the significance of this so please don’t ask!

The Second Big Question - Daily or Weekly Diary Formats?

So the really big question is whether you would want a daily or weekly diary format. And that may actually come down to the type of person you are. First, a quick explanation of what they are.

Daily Diary

Quite simply it means that each page in the diary is devoted to a single day.

Weekly Diary

This means that the week is spread out before you across the two pages when the diary is open. There are variations on this theme, such as two weeks over the spread, or different ways to show the week, but it’s all the same principal – a week at a glance.

What Type Of Person Are You?

You may find it easier to decide which is right for you by knowing whether you need to see slightly further ahead or not. Yes most diaries will have a monthly or yearly planner section, but the big difference is that a daily diary will only give you two days at a time to view, and will never break up your time into nice weekly sections. Some people like this, some can’t cope and need to see the week from Monday to Sunday.

See more on diary formats below.

The Last Big Question - What About Diary Size?

Once you have decided on being a daily or weekly diary person, the next decision is the size. This can be broken down into three main size types – pocket/mini, mid-size and large/desk. Which of these diary formats will work for you will depend on how you intend you use your diary – on the move or on the desk?


These really are for those who want to make minimal notes and just have something small on them to carry round. You can even go down to micro-diary size if space is at a premium.


A good all rounder, large enough to write more than just the odd word, but small enough to carry round.


So called because that is where they usually live. On your desk. Generally seen as too big to carry round, a desk diary will likely be left on your desk, or similar, where you make appointments in it.

What Else Do I Need To Know About Diaries?

Once you have decided on a diary style and size, you may have the decision made for you, but assuming there is more than one diary to choose from, you may then need to consider the following.

Daily Diaries

There really isn’t much variation between daily diaries. They will devote the whole page to a day, probably with appointment times to help plan your day. Some might have space for notes as well.

diary formats - daily
Daily Diary Format

Weekly Diaries

The big choice here is whether to go vertical or horizontal. Oh dear, another choice. So what is the difference between a vertical diary and a horizontal diary?

Vertical Weekly Diaries

The vertical format is laid out across the page, Monday to Sunday, and each day will have a vertical column usually with timed appointments. Ideal if what you want is a rigid schedule of events.

diary formats - vertical weekly
Weekly Vertical Diary Format

Horizontal Weekly Diaries

The horizontal format has sections for each day, but without the timed appointments. They suit someone who wants to write something for each day but is less worried about their day being a series of events such as meetings. Less rigid, more relaxed.

diary formats - weekly horizontal
Weekly Horizontal Diary Format

Weekly Diary/Notebooks

A variation on this theme, and the most popular of diary formats is the diary/notebook. It is also known as a weekly notebook. It will have a horizontal style diary for the week on the left-hand page, and the facing page will be devoted to notes (usually a lined page). For many this is perfect as it gives them enough space for the diary whilst also allowing for free-format notes each week.

For some pople this is also enough to double up as their notebook, but you are limited to a page per week for notes.

diary formats - weekly notebook
Weekly Notebook Diary Format

Two-Week Diaries

A real planner diary, with a full fortnight of days across the two-page spread giving you the most of a longer-term view.

diary formats - 2 weeks
2 Week Diary Format

Monthly Diaries

Now we’re getting serious with our long-term view – a series of monthly planners. Really these are notebooks with a series of spreads that let you plan out each month. This kind of diary format serves someone who sees the big picture, not the daily detail!

diary formats - monthly
Monthly Diary Format

Undated Diaries

Unlike most other diaries, an undated diary follow one of the diary formats above, but without a pre-printed date. It means you can pick up and drop off keeping your diary without feeling like you have to complete each and every page. It does mean that you have to add the dates yourself though – some love this, some don’t.

diary formats - undated
Undated Diary Format
daily diary

Amazing ways to use a daily diary. Part 1

daily diary

I came across this blog post via one of our customers, and thought it a wonderful if unusual way to use a daily diary. I can’t be sure what diary it is although it does look a bit like a large Moleskine day-to-page diary. I’m no fan of a daily diary – not enough sense of the long term for me. This is something quite different though and I would love to see the final result. As someone who did manage to see my way through an entire year of a photo-a-day (I spent a lot of time on Photoshop so it became a real labour of love) I can only begin to appreciate how much work goes into this project. I also love the way the dates have been kept as an integral part of the drawing so mapping out the diary across the year.

Any other unusual uses of a daily diary out there? Or any diary?

Click here to see more


Product of the Month – update

Limited edition Moleskine Pac Man and Peanuts diaries

Sadly the new range of 2012 diaries featuring the classic Pac Man arcade game, or the Peanuts strip cartoon of Snoopy and Charlie Brown, have been delayed. We had been promised them by now but it appears that they have been delayed until sometime in July. We don’t have a date as yet, so the only option is to watch this space. If you go on our website you can ask to be emailed when they do arrive back in stock. Sorry for any disappointment – we’re pretty disappointed too! I was looking forward to seeing them today.

Moleskine Pac Man
Moleskine Pac Man

Quo Vadis diaries at 50% off

If you are still without a diary for this year, or you’ve lost yours, or 6 weeks in to 2011 you have decided that you just don’t like the diary you’ve got, then grab a bargain. We are now selling what we have left of our Quo Vadis 2011 stock at 50% off. That means that a full Quo Vadis diary with a cover is cheaper than the full price refill was a few weeks ago. I admit it only has 46/52 weeks of use left in it, but if you haven’t already tried the Quo Vadis agenda planning diary system then maybe now is the time to try it out. It is particularly recommended for its structured approach to organising your days and weeks into time slots and to-do lists that can be carried forward. We have customers that have used the system for 40 years and more, so once you find it, there’s a good chance you’ll never leave it.

Try out a Quo Vadis diary at 50% off here

Quo Vadis Agenda Planning diary

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