Binder clips are pieces of bent steel with two metal loops. Pressing the loops together allows the jaws of the clip to open. They come in assorted sizes to hold varying thicknesses of papers. While binder clips can securely hold paper together, they also have drawbacks. For people with arthritis, opening the clips can be difficult. In situations with limited storage, such as full file drawers, binder clips can take up more room than alternatives. Binder clips can be more expensive than alternatives, too.

Paper Clips

Paper clips are thin wires bent into curves to allow them to hold paper. They are affordable, easy to use and readily available. Paper clips come in a variety of sizes, shapes, and colors. Paper clips are effective for temporarily holding papers together, but they may accidentally slip off.


Staples are thin pieces of metal that are driven through paper with a stapler. The main benefit of staples is that they permanently hold papers together. However, staples require the use of a stapler and may not come in a size large enough to hold together many sheets of paper. Staples can be difficult to remove and will leave marks and holes should the papers need to be separated.


Many types of binding are available, such as coil, comb, strip, and book bindings. Bindings permanently join together papers and make them look more professional. However, binding requirement special equipment, which is generally available only through printing companies or office supply stores.

Rubber Bands

Rubber bands are stretchy loops that can be used to hold together paper. Rubber bands are widely available and inexpensive. However, rubber bands can cause the paper to curl, so it is best used for large amounts of paper or sheets of paper with a cardboard backing or something similar.

Pushpins and Magnets

Pushpins and magnets can be used to hold paper together on a bulletin board or magnetic surface. Pushpins will leave a hole in paper. Both pushpins and magnets can be inadvertently removed, causing the papers to fall and become disorganized.

Prong Fasteners

Prong fasteners are somewhat similar to staples but do not require the use of a stapler. However, a hole punch or pre-existing hole is necessary. Prong fasteners securely hold documents while allowing them to be rotated around the fastener. They are also easy to remove if necessary. They come in a variety of sizes. Prong fasteners are also known as brads or brass fasteners.