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  • Prem Sundaram

How to Print Index Cards (Using an Index Card Template in Word or an App)

Updated: May 11

You can create index cards using a number of different apps for example Microsoft Word, where you will need to use an index cards template, carefully create cards on different pages, and then print your index cards to your printer. However, it is much easier to use a dedicated app to make and print index cards, like NoteDex - the only index card app available designed to create and print index cards. Learn How to Print Index Cards Easily.


In this article we discuss all you need to know about how to make and print index cards, both using Word with an index cards template, and (or) using a dedicated app like NoteDex, and provide a checklist for you that is guaranteed to work and put you into a state of index card happiness!


If you are reading this article then you already know that it is not as easy as it sounds. When using Word - it can be difficult, tedious and time consuming. The next hurdle is to print the cards. This can be even trickier, especially regarding the paper choice and printer choices you must make. So, let's get into this!


Photo by Eva Elijas

Overall Steps How to Print Index Cards

In this article we will discuss each of the following important steps in more detail:


Here is our Printing checklist:

  • Select the paper type and size you want to use

  • Select the printer you want to use

  • Confirm that paper and printer are compatible

  • Decide if you are doing double sided printing

  • Confirm if printer is capable of double sided printing or not and if it can handle chosen paper size for double sided action (e.g. maybe it can do letter size but not card size stock) - define your paper flip strategy!

  • Finalize your printing strategy (i will use this size paper, flip strategy, on this printer)

  • Purchase correct paper and printer if you don't already have

  • Select application to print index cards

  • Create index cards using an index card template or dedicated app

  • Insert paper into printer

  • Configure paper size in applications (print options)

  • Print!


Step 1 : Select Paper Type and Size for Cards

Ok, we're only at step 1 but this is already hard! Why?


Well, an index card is by it's very nature is a small note card on card stock usually thicker than paper.


So, you need to first decide are you looking to print 3" x 5" size cards? or 4" x 6" cards?

Then you need to decide whether you will use real blank index cards, or larger paper that you intend to cut to size afterwards. Or a paper stock template like those from Avery.


Furthermore, you will need to check that the paper can work in your printer - including:


a) Is it too thick to go through the printer?


b) Is it too small to go through the printer? Sometimes individual small cards can't pass through properly through a printer - the roller mechanism is not suited and your card will get stuck inside. This happens if the roller mechanism of the printer's print tray that pushes the card through vertically may not be able to press against the card properly and continuously - and sometimes the paper printer guides can't press against the card sides to ensure the cards move steadily through. The mechanism of the rollers needs to be able to move the card through fully so that it not jammed in the printer. You need to make sure the paper can it in the printer tray and printer guide its snugly against them.


Ready to give up already? Perhaps just use our digital index cards app to print index cards and view the cards on your phone!


So, before purchasing any paper cards, make sure your printer's print tray can handle it - 3 x 5 can be more problematic than 4 x 6 due the slightly smaller size.

Step 2: Buy the Card Paper Stock

Ok, now you are ready to get your cards you have a few choices about where to buy your index cards and paper stock from. Obvious choice is of course Amazon, and is a convenient option for purchasing index cards. Popular choices of what to buy include:

  • Amazon Blank Index Cards both 3 x 5 and 4 x 6 size

  • Paper stock for index cards

  • Avery 5388 format perforated cards stock

Whichever you choose do take into account how thick you want the cards to be. We discuss this issue in our article 'Index Card Sizes' - it can make a difference if you are wanting to create double sided cards for studying as flashcards and don't want the answer to show through!

Step 3: Select the Application

There are number of options to create index cards. There is one software in this list that is actually designed to be an index card app and so you can start creating cards more naturally. The other apps need you to configure page paper sizes as part of their word processing software or solution.


App options are:

  1. NoteDex

  2. Microsoft Word

  3. Apple Pages

  4. Google Docs

  5. Microsoft PowerPoint

  6. Google Slides

  7. Scrivener


Step 4: Create the Index Cards

We will outline two examples of how to create your cards. Hopefully you will see the advantage of using a dedicated app like NoteDex compared to using Word or other.


Using NoteDex to Create Index Cards

  1. Open NoteDex App

  2. Create a Stack

  3. Create a Card

  4. Start Typing or using digital stylus to draw ink

  5. Click + to add a new card and keep going until you have created all your cards.

  6. Print Cards to PDF and then print cards.

index card
Example of Index Card created in NoteDex

Using Microsoft Word to Create Index Cards.

(or any other word / layout processing software)

  1. Open Microsoft Word

  2. Create a New Document

  3. Adjust paper size in 'Page Layout'- setting in Microsoft Word and set margins as you like - not more than 0.5" max since cards are small.

  4. Alternatively, you can try and find an index card template. There are templates that can be available on the internet. The Avery 5388 is useful for 3 x 5 size and gives you guidelines where to edit. You should also set page orientation to landscape or orientation in 'Page Setup' if the template needs it (this might be different depending on which application you use but in general look for the page layout tab or menu option).

  5. Type on card area / draw if your app can handle ink

  6. Duplicate the page/add a new page to create a new card and keep going until you have created all your cards.

  7. Print Cards


word avery 5388 template
Example of Avery 5388 Word Template for Index Cards

Step 5: Printing Index Cards

Continuing our example we'll use NoteDex and Word as the two methods:


Printing in NoteDex

When you see all your cards in the thumbnail view click on the '...' menu and select 'Export as PDF'. You will get a series of options to print - choose either Standard or Avery depending on which card stock you have selected. Once the PDF is generated then open it and print it. Ensure that the page settings are correct. Then click print. Check the printer settings page layout tab - it needs to be set to the right size paper and orientation, and also if you have selected to do double sided or not. Then click 'Print' and you are done!




print index cards
NoteDex features a range of Print to PDF Options

And here is an example of a finished process - so simple in NoteDex - just create your index cards and then export to PDF in the format you want - even with borders around an Avery 5388 format in case you need to cut your cards out yourself on standard paper!


Printing in Word

Select 'File/Print' from the menu and make sure your Page Setup is correct for the choice of paper sizes you have decided. Then click 'Print' and also check the printer settings are correct - landscape orientation, paper sizes, and double sided as needed. Then click 'Print' and you're done, all ready for your printable index card!

A Note About Double Sided Printers

Tricky is perhaps the best way to describe. You need to plan out your index cards carefully to make this work well if it is automated.


If the printer can automatically flip the page in duplex/double sided printer settings then you will need to make sure that the odd number index card on your set is the reverse side. There is a setting in NoteDex for this choice. In Word you will need to layout your cards accordingly. If the printer does not handle double sided then it will be best to print all front cards first, then put them back in and print the back of cards.



Microsoft Word Index Card templates


If you decided to use an index card template along with your favorite word processor to create a printable index card we have listed a few resources for you:


30 Simple Index / Flash Card Templates [Free] - TemplateArchive

Template for Avery 5388 Index Cards 3" x 5" | Avery.com


There are many other index card templates available and also not just for Microsoft Word.

Conclusion

We hope this article has been helpful for you to learn how to print index cards and flash cards. It's as much as an art as a science actually, and there is going to be little bit of experimentation!


Even though it is expensive, if you want to make cards the easiest way then we recommend the combination of making the cards with NoteDex and printing them onto Avery 5388 paper stock. This will the way to make the cards the easiest way (and they will look the best with all the options available) and the Avery paper makes it easy to print onto virtually any printer. Of course, you can use a word processing software like Word or Google Docs but it's not the simplest or designed for that, especially when you want to create double sided index cards.


If you're printer supports actual cards even better - if you are a writer and think you are going to print a lot of cards then investing in a printer that really supports printing on small cards will be worthwhile in the long run (the Avery paper is not cheap- about $20 or to make 150 cards - each page can print 3 cards). We can't endorse any specific printer but we've include some articles below that talk about some printer options.


We wish you good luck in your journey to index card happiness!


Prem

Resources

10 Best Printers For Cardstock in 2021: Reviewed, Rated & Compared (bestreviewslist.com)


How to Print Index Cards on your Brother Printer | TonerCity


Best printer for printing on index cards - Customer Support Forum (xerox.com)

Solved: 3X5 index cards - HP Support Community - 8006296


NoteDex - Index Cards, Flashcards, Note Cards App


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