How to Make College-Ruled Paper

by Gretchen Maron; Updated September 26, 2017

College-ruled paper has horizontal lines spaced 7.1 mm apart. Lines are wider than narrow-ruled paper and narrower than wide-ruled paper. Usually purchased either in loose-leaf or spiral-bound notebook forms, the paper typically has holes punched so that the pages will fit in a three-ring binder. You can make homemade college-ruled paper with your home computer and printer, or you can create a paper template to use in a photocopier. Customize the paper weight, color, and type, and design the size and placement of the holes to fit any binder.

Items you will need

  • Roller-type ruler, ruler, or other straight-edge
  • Paper, your choice of size (lightweight, white)
  • College-ruled paper, several sheets
  • Light box OR bright window
  • T-square
  • Transparent tape
  • Correction fluid
  • Fine-tip pen, blue or black ink
  • Fine-tip pen, red ink
  • Photocopier, color or black and white
  • Computer
  • Printer
  • Software to match online template (several options available)
  • Three-hole punch OR single punch hand-tool

Hand-Drawn Template

Step 1

Secure the college-ruled paper to the light box or a bright window using transparent tape. If you want a template for over-sized college-ruled paper, tape up several sheets, lining up the ruled lines to ensure your template lines will also be straight. You may need to overlap the college-ruled paper in places to achieve a large enough area of lined paper.

Step 2

Center your plain white paper over the top of the college-ruled paper. Use the T-square to ensure that the margins of the paper are square. Align the top of the "T" along a side of the white paper and check the long leg of the tool against one of the lines printed on the college-ruled paper. Adjust your white paper until the lines match up with the edge of the paper. Tape the white paper in place with transparent tape.

Step 3

Using the blue or black pen and the ruler or straight-edge to steady and direct your pen, carefully trace each line onto the paper. You'll be able to see each line, as it will be back-lit by the light box or the outdoors light. If you make a mistake, cover it with correction fluid, wait until the fluid dries completely, and mark the line again.

Step 4

Draw a margin line at right angles to the blue lines using the red pen, if desired. Use the T-square to make sure it is square to the lines. Standard college-ruled paper has a red margin line at 1-1/4" (31.75 mm) from the left margin, but you may wish to put your margin line at a different placement if your college-ruled paper will be larger or smaller than standard notebook paper.

Step 5

Print copies of your paper using a color copier. If you don't care what color your lines are, use a black-and-white copier. Run one test copy first, then check to see whether you need to adjust the lightness/darkness of the copier to get rid of any gray shadows between the lines of the paper. Set the copier to the desired number of copies and print. Use the copier's instruction to print the college-ruled lines on both sides of the paper.

Step 6

Punch holes in a margin of the paper, if desired, using a three-hole punch or hand-held single-punch tool. Standard college-ruled paper has three holes in the left margin, but you can customize the holes and spacing to match a binder of your choice.

Computer Templates

Step 1

Choose a college-ruled template from one of the templates listed in the Resources below and save the template to the desktop on your computer. You'll need compatible software to open or edit these files, so check for templates that work with your computer operating system, platform, and software.

Step 2

Open the template using the appropriate software. Select the "Print" option from that software. After you print the desired number of sheets, follow your printer's instructions to print on the back side of the paper, if desired.

Step 3

Punch holes in a margin of the paper, if desired, using a three-hole punch or hand-held single-punch tool. Standard college-ruled paper has three holes in the left margin, but you can customize the holes and spacing to match a binder of your choice.

About the Author

Gretchen Maron has written content for journals, websites, newspapers, radio news and newsletters, ranging from the International Horn Society journal "Horn Call" and the Air America Radio website, to non-profit organization websites. A librarian for over 30 years and a professional writer since 1996, she's an experienced, knowledgeable researcher.

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