For most organizations that do their own in-house binding, their go-to choice is the standard 8½ by 11 inch document size. At times, however, an “off-size” document is a better alternative for delivering specific information, or making an impact on customers.
It’s very easy to create documents that are larger or smaller than the standard size with the right binding equipment, such as binding machines with adjustable paper stops, and open-ended dies that can be disengaged as needed.
Half-Letter Size Documents
Producing smaller documents is the easier of the two options. You simply move your paper stops farther to the right, and then center your document to punch the best hole-pattern for the size of your document. Most likely, you’ll have to remove a punch pin or die to prevent half holes on the top or bottom of your materials.
Be sure to punch a sample of your pattern on scrap paper, to check whether it’s correct before punching your actual documents. If your sample doesn’t look centered, check your margins and readjust your paper stops until you have the punch pattern in the right place.
Legal or Larger Documents
Punching documents larger than 8½ by 11 can take a little more planning, depending on what binding equipment you have on site.
An A4 size or 11-inch punch can handle large-sized documents from 14 inches up to 22 inches with a little preparation. Set up your paper stop for about 7½ inches and then insert half of your document and punch. Then, turn your document around and punch the other half of it. If you’ve been careful, the pattern should line up properly. If it’s off, you need to fine-tune your paper stop placement until you get it right.
Punching documents longer than 22 inches on an 11-inch punch is not impossible, but it is labor intensive. In this situation, you need to remove the actual paper stop from the punch, and create your own paper stop that’s external to the machine. This can lead to lots of inaccurate punch patterns and re-work.
If you’re going to consistently punch documents of 24 inches or larger, use a 14-inch punch that will require two steps as described above or consider purchasing a 24-inch punch that can handle the entire length at once.
Helpful Binding Equipment Supplies For Off-Size Documents
Two of the best binding elements to have on hand for off-size documents are color coils and twin-loop wire bindings, because they can be cut down to accommodate smaller-sized materials. This eliminates the expense of buying a lot of special-sized bindings. Color coils also come in a smaller, 9-inch size as well as standard size.
If you will use covers, there are clear plastic versions which come in many different sizes including half-letter size, which eliminates the need to cut your covers to a specific size.
With the appropriate binding equipment and binding elements, you have the option to create a variety of professional off-size materials whenever you need them, right at your location.