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Binding for beginners: everything you need to know

Would you like your documentation to be bound professionally? Binding allows you to achieve an elegant look for your paper documents, which is especially important for design, advertising and sales materials. Here are the essentials and tips to impress your business partners with professional binding. And there are many ways to bind...


When is it worth opting for binding?

The professional appearance of documents helps to create a positive first impression among customers or employees of an organisation. Therefore, we encourage you to find out more about the advantages and possibilities offered by document binding.


Binding is a method of binding loose sheets of paper together in a secure and aesthetically pleasing manner. The binding process requires the use of binding machines, either manual or electric. Classical binding machines allow the necessary holes to be made and special spines to be passed through. Types of binding machines and spines are discussed in more detail later in this guide.


Channel binding machines make the binding of paper-prepared material much more professional. It is also a great way to prevent individual pages from getting lost. C-BIND and METALBIND binding systems make it possible to debind a document without damaging the pages. If necessary, a sheet of paper can be removed from a previously bound file or a new one added and the document re-bound.

 METALBIND channel prepared using the OPUS Easy 120 binding machine
METALBIND channel prepared using the OPUS Easy 120 binding machine

Amongst others, we recommend binding for the following documents: 

  • business reports and analyses;
  • theses, dissertations and research papers;
  • artistic portfolio;
  • project documentation;
  • advertising brochures and catalogues;
  • school and academic notes;
  • scripts and scenarios;
  • financial statements.


Brief overview of types of paper binding machines

We can distinguish between several types of binding machines with different functions. The first of these are plastic comb binding machines, which punch holes in the given documents and then pull a special plastic spiral through them. This is the basic and cheapest binding method and provides a good visual effect.

Binding machine for plastic combs OPUS Officer
Binding machine for plastic combs OPUS Officer

Next we can distinguish spiral binding machines used for notebooks, notebooks, calendars and project documentation. They allow up to 280 sheets of paper to be bound together in such a way that they can be rotated through 360 degrees.

Binding machine for spiral combs OPUS Coil Bono
Binding machine for spiral combs OPUS Coil Bono

Those who want to achieve the maximum professional effect should pay attention to channel binding machines. Their advantage is that there is no need to punch the paper. It is with this technique that diploma thesis bindings are made.


Thermo-binding machines are an interesting alternative, binding the pages together in the spine with a strip of glue that is dissolved by the temperature. We must remember that this method bonds the pages permanently, making debinding impossible.


It is also worth mentioning multi-function (multisystem) binding machines, i.e. those that allow the use of several different types of binding, e.g. METALBIND and C-BIND.

What type of binding spine should I choose?

In order to make it easier for you to choose a spine for a particular type of document, we have prepared a simple table. Thanks to it, you will easily choose an option that is suitable both in terms of aesthetics and functionality.

Plastic back

school and academic notes, user manuals, reports and internal company documentation, exercise books

Wire back

annual reports, presentations, financial documents, conference materials, company reports calendars

Spiral back

brochures, catalogues, photo albums, calendars, notebooks, restaurant menus

Channel back (metal channel)

theses, professional portfolio materials, luxury catalogues, contracts, reports, books, studies, notarial documents

Glued back (thermobinding)

publicity material, books, conference materials, brochures, financial statements


Selecting a cover for binding

As well as choosing a spine, we need to pay attention to the cover itself, which will give the documents an aesthetically pleasing finish and protect them from damage.


Covers for binding are most frequently encountered in A3, A4 and A4+ formats. Depending on our needs, they can be used for vertical or horizontal binding. In the case of photo albums or less standard documents, we can choose from covers in square formats.

The cheapest option by far is covers made of soft PVC plastic. The front section can be mono-coloured, translucent or transparent. Bindings of this type are used almost everywhere, whether for ordinary notes or more professional documentation, such as company or financial documents.


If you are keen to ensure the longevity of your document, we encourage you to choose hard covers. They are the perfect choice for binding materials such as theses, contracts, certificates or luxury catalogues. They can also be found in the most prestigious restaurants in the form of menu cards. This type of binding is most often used in thermo-binding or METALBIND and C-BIND systems.

Hard cover OPUS for METALBIND system

Preparation of documents for binding

When starting to bind, arrange all the pages in a logical order. Check several times that the documentation contains all pages. Make sure that none of them need to be reprinted, e.g. because they are dirty.


After arranging and aligning the sheets, check the margins and interlines. Depending on the type of binding, it is recommended to leave at least 2 or 3 cm margins from the edges of the sheet. This will prevent the text from being damaged by gluing or pre-punching.


When binding, pay particular attention to ensure that the sheets lie evenly in the machine. Set up the binding machine to suit the material to be bound, according to the manufacturer's instructions.

Preparation for binding
When starting to bind, pay special attention to whether the sheets of paper lie evenly

Binding - the most common mistakes

Poorly planned margins are by far the most common mistake made when binding. We therefore urge you to pay particular attention to their setting in your word processor. The aforementioned 2 or 3 centimetres are sufficient in most cases to ensure that the text is not damaged.


Depending on the binding method chosen, it may be necessary to glue or perforate the sheets. We therefore recommend that you use offset paper of at least 70 g/m2 for printing your documents. Using thinner paper may damage the paper.


Each binding system allows for binding a specific number of sheets of a specific weight. For example, a thermo binding machine can bind approximately 500 sheets, while the choice of wire binding will limit the number of sheets to 120 (depending on the model). Sometimes the operator does not follow these recommendations and tries to bind more sheets. As a result, the sheets are inadequately bound or the binding machine is damaged.


Bind like a pro - useful tips

Remember that practice is the key to getting the best results. To make the binding process easier for you, we have put together a handful of useful tips to help you bind your documentation in the best possible way.

  1. Invest in high quality tools and materials

A good quality binding machine, covers and binding spines are essential if you want to achieve a professional result. Avoid devices manufactured by untested companies. Remember that savings can in some cases result in even greater losses. Choose only paper of 70 g/m2 or higher.

  1. Test bindings

Before you bind your entire document, do a trial bind on a few sheets of paper. This will allow you to assess whether the chosen binding method and materials are suitable for your project.

  1. Pay attention to detail

Ensure that the sheets of paper are evenly aligned. Check that the text has been properly edited so that a margin remains for where the spine will be run. Carefully check all pages in case one of them needs replacing. Remember that in the case of thermo-binding, subsequent debinding is impossible!

  1. Opt for ecological materials

The role of ecology in our daily lives grows with each passing day. Therefore, when choosing covers for document binding, opt only for materials that can be recycled (PVC covers) or are biodegradable (hard cardboard covers).

 Documentation bind with recyclable combs and covers
Don't forget about ecology - choose covers and combs that are recyclable or biodegradable

Remember the advantages of binding:

Binding allows different sections of a document to be consolidated into one coherent whole, making it easier to navigate and present material.


If you intend to store documents for a long period of time and want to ensure that they are protected from damage, binding can be an effective solution. Bound documents are more durable and less susceptible to physical damage such as tearing or getting wet.


If you are planning to create your own book, booklet or album, document binding is essential. With binding, you can join the pages in the correct order and create an aesthetically pleasing publication.


Binding documents can help to organise documentation, especially when it comes to collections of documents on a single topic. Bound documents are easier to store and review, and protect against individual pages getting lost.


If you want to present your sales proposals or project proposals, document binding can give your documents a professional look and make them stand out from other materials. Binding also allows you to add a cover, bookmarks and other elements to enhance the impression.


Bind, add a cover, it's really worth it!