The Best Paper Notebooks for Programmers

Programmer and avid note-taker? Looking for a new paper notebook? Jot it down like a pro with our two top paper notebook picks.

Published Categorized as Gear & Guides

As a programmer, jotting down ideas, code snippets, and project notes is a crucial aspect of the job.

While digital note-taking tools are ubiquitous, many programmers still prefer the tactile feel (and permanence) of pen and paper. With so many paper notebooks on the market, however, it can be challenging to choose the right one — the one that strikes just the right balance between functionality and convenience.

To help you out, we’ve done the due diligence for you and scoured the World Wide Web to bring you the best paper notebooks for programmers. Whether you prefer a traditional notebook or something more specialized, our roundup includes options for every style of note-taker. We’ve looked at a variety of factors, including paper quality, durability, size, and additional features, to make sure that you get the perfect notebook for your programming needs.

Best Paper Notebooks for Programmers

Our pick
Moleskine Classic Hardcover XL Notebook
  • Black hardcover
  • Ivory-colored, 70 g/m², acid-free plain paper
  • XL-sized notebook, 7½ in wide by 9¾ in tall (19 by 25 cm)
  • Rounded corners, an elastic closure, and a matching ribbon bookmark
  • Great for pens and pencils of all types
Image credit: Amazon

The Moleskine Classic Hardcover XL Notebook is our top pick for the best paper notebook for programmers, and for good reason. You simply can’t go wrong with a Moleskine notebook, especially one that is perfectly designed for your note-taking needs.

The Milan, Italy-based notebook maker has been a trusted and revered name in the industry since it was founded in the year 1997, and its notebooks are known for their high-quality materials, superior construction, and timeless design.

The Moleskine Classic Hardcover XL Notebook is a prime example of the brand’s excellence. It is a hardcover, XL-sized notebook that measures 7 1/2 inches wide x 9 3/4 inches tall (19 x 25 cm) with rounded corners, an elastic closure, and a matching ribbon bookmark. Despite the hardcover, writing in this notebook is easy — it lies flat and opens at 180° for your note-taking comfort.

One of the standout features of this notebook, as with all Moleskine notebooks, is its ivory-colored, 70 g/m², acid-free paper. This paper is specifically designed for optimal writing texture, making it ideal for taking programming notes with a ballpoint pen, fountain pen, or pencil. The paper’s texture strikes the perfect balance between smooth and rough, making it easy to write on without smudging or bleeding.

Another thoughtful detail of the Moleskine Classic Hardcover XL Notebook — especially for the… ahem, forgetful note-taker — is the “In case of loss” section on the flyleaf. This feature is helpful if you ever misplace your notebook at school or forget it somewhere in the office. You can fill out the section with your contact information, making it easier for someone to return it to you if found.

LEUCHTTURM1917 Medium Plain Softcover Notebook
  • Black softcover
  • High-quality, 80g/m² acid-free plain paper
  • Medium (A5) sized, 5¾ in wide × 8⅓ in tall (14.5 x 21 cm)
  • Thread-bound with rounded corners and a pair of ribbon markers
  • Perfectly-textured for pens and pencils
Image credit: Amazon

The LEUCHTTURM1917 Medium Plain Softcover Notebook is an excellent choice for programmers looking for a paper notebook that’s somewhat smaller compared to our top pick and foldable. This fourth-generation family-ran German company has been making notebooks since 1917, and their experience shows in the quality of their products.

This notebook comes in a wide range of colors, rulings, and covers, including both hardcover and softcover options. At the Maker’s Aid editorial team, we’ve been using LEUCHTTURM1917 notebooks to take notes for years, and we think that they excel in softcovers. The softcover version of this notebook is durable and flexible, making it perfect for slipping into a backpack or coat without worrying about damage.

The Medium-sized (A5) notebook is 5 3/4 in wide × 8 1/3 in tall (14.5 x 21 cm), which is an ideal size for many programmers. A double page comes in just the right size for a DIN A4 photocopy, making it easy to scan or share your notes with others. The notebook is thread-bound with rounded corners, which allows it to open flat for easy note-taking. The paper quality is also high, with 80 g/m² paper that provides a smooth writing surface and prevents ink from bleeding through to the other side.

The LEUCHTTURM1917 Medium Plain Softcover Notebook also comes with several convenient features, including a gusseted pocket in the back for storing sticky notes and cut-outs. Additionally, the notebook includes 8 perforated and detachable sheets, which are handy for sharing notes with others or tearing out a page to leave a reminder for someone else.

This softcover notebook features not one, but two ribbon markers. And it’s about as big as your regular tablet, which means it’s easy to carry around and it won’t take up too much space on your desk.

What to Look For

First and foremost, paper quality is crucial. Look for a notebook with paper thick enough to prevent ink from bleeding through to the other side, but not so thick that it feels bulky. A good weight for paper is around 70-80 g/m². Additionally, consider the texture of the paper. Some note-takers prefer a smoother surface, whereas others prefer a bit more tooth to the paper for a better grip on the pen.

Durability is also key, especially for CS students and programmers who may be carrying their notebook around with them all day. Look for a notebook with a sturdy cover, such as a hardcover or a durable softcover, to protect the pages from damage. Rounding can also prevent the corners from getting bent or damaged over time.

Consider any additional features. A notebook with an elastic closure can keep the pages securely closed and prevent them from getting crumpled up in a bag. Also, a notebook with a built-in bookmark or ribbon can make it easier to flip to a given page. Finally, a notebook with a gusseted pocket or detachable pages can be helpful for storing loose papers or sharing notes with others.

In summary, a good paper notebook for programmers should have high-quality paper, a size that suits your needs, a durable cover, and any additional features that make note-taking more convenient. Our two picks, the Moleskine Classic Hardcover XL Notebook and the LEUCHTTURM1917 Medium Plain Softcover Notebook, are arguably the notebooks that fit this description best on the market right now.

Image courtesy of SoloEfrain /Shutterstock. No use without permission.

By Dim Nikov

Editor of Maker's Aid. Part programmer, part marketer. Making things on the web and helping others do the same since the 2000s. Yes, I had Friendster and Myspace.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *