How to Staple Bind

stapler image by PaulPaladin from

Stapling is an inexpensive and secure way to bind small publications. Stapling the center of the booklet is called “saddle-stitching” or "center-stitching," and is used for publications printed on large sheets of paper folded in half. Stapling on the edges of pages is called “side-stitching”. This is used for documents printed on single sheets. After stapling the pages, a cover is often glued onto the booklet, covering the staples and stapled edges.

Assemble the pages (sometimes called “leaves”) in the correct order. For side-stitched booklets, the pages will simply be stacked in consecutive order. For center-stitched booklets, each page will be one half of a large sheet folded in the center.

Tap the stack of the pages so that the edges to be stapled are even. This edge is called the “spine.” This can be done with the ruler or by holding the stack in your hands and tapping the spine edge on the table.

Set the stapler's paper guide according to the type of publication. For side-stitched booklets set it to one quarter of an inch; for center-stitched materials set it to one half of the full sheet. Slide the spine into the paper guide of the stapler.

Staple the booklet pages firmly, making sure that the staples go all the way through the pages and curve back properly. Use three or four staples, depending on the size of the booklet. For a publication using standard 8.5-by-11-inch pages, three staples are the norm.

Check the bottom of the stack to be sure the staples went all the way through the pages and that they are curved down so that no staple points are sticking out. If some are still sticking out, turn the document over and gently press down with a hard instrument such as a small hammer.


  • Use acid-free paper and stainless steel staples to prevent rust from staining your document.


  • Be careful not to prick you fingers on the staples.



About the Author

Dee Shneiderman, former librarian and paralegal, has been writing for 40+ years. Published in Compute! Magazine, she helped found The Crescent Review literary magazine. Owner of Frugal-Foto Photography, she holds a Bachelor of Arts in English, a Master of Library Science and a North Carolina Truck Driver Training certificate.

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