The Ultimate Bullet Journal Glossary Every Beginner Can’t Live Without

Every term used in the bullet journal world explained in detail! Gives you everything you need to know about your favorite organization system. Breaks down bullet journal supplies, bullet journal layouts , bullet journal hacks, and a lot more! This is a growing document so please bookmark it as new things may be added!
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(This article contains affiliate links; if you click on items and purchase them, I may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. For more information, read my disclosure.)

Upon entering the Bullet Journal world, I quickly discovered that Bullet Journal has its own language. With a few months of dedication and work, you will discover the terminology on your own. However, since my goal is to help you start building your bullet journal, I figured I may as well go ahead and create a bullet journal glossary help you learn this a little faster.

Bullet Journal Glossary Terminology You Need to Know

This information contains all the primary information that you may run across on bullet journal blogs, websites, and social media groups. If you’ve been around the community for a bit, you likely already are familiar with some of these bullet journal glossary terms.

You may find more value in scrolling down to the other headings for more unusual information, product information, and other miscellaneous bullet journal information.

Bullet Journal: The Bullet Journal, created by Ryder Carroll, is a customizable and forgiving organization system. It serves as a to-do list, sketchbook, notebook, and diary. Likely, you will utilize multiple aspects, if not all of them.

Bujo: The scary ghost named Jo.

Don't mess with Boo Jo.You don’t want to mess with Jo.
You’ll be in even bigger trouble if you mess with his coffee.


It’s the shortened version of BUllet JOurnal. Clever, no?

It’s much easier to type, at least.

Warning- some people absolutely detest this abbreviation.

Key: No, not your house key, or your car key (though, by starting a bullet journal you may forget them less!).

A key is an overview of how you organize your information. Frequently featured in the front of a bullet journal.

Signifier: Found within the key. Signifiers help you label the data in your bullet journal into specific categories.

Categories typically fall into two zones: Types of data, and what is done with data.

Spread/Layout: Shorter version: Every specific type of page (or pages) is considered a spread/layout.

Longer version: Your spread/layout is the utilization of a page (or pages) to a specific task. However, there is no limit to what kind of task needs to be done for it to be labeled as such. Virtually every type of page you may use in your bullet journal will be a spread/layout of some kind. You will utilize multiple types, which I will go into more detailed definitions below.

Monthly Spread/Layout: A monthly spread/layout is typically created at the beginning of each month. It may include some or all these elements: Cover pages, a monthly calendar, tracking, quotes, and drawings.

A post shared by redrose (@redrose.arts) on

Weekly Spread/Layout: a weekly spread/layout is built for each week of the month. Typically these are made following the monthly layout (but not always). A weekly spread/layout may include some or all of these elements: A weekly overview calendar, tracking, quotes, drawings, and a place to write notes.

A post shared by MK (@movingwithmrsking) on

Daily Spread/Layout: A daily spread/layout is built for longer daily posts. Sometimes incorporated with the weekly journal. A daily spread/layout is where you can list more specifics about your day. It may include some or all of these elements: A daily overview, tracking, quotes, drawings, and notes.

Sometimes people will create daily pages over 2-3 pages.

Other people may feature an entire page to one day.

Future Log: A future log is basically want you want to accomplish in the future. This can be implemented as a separate, stand alone tracker. You may also use this in your monthly and weekly spreads.

Tracker: You can literally track anything. (Super helpful again, right?). I’m just going to write a general list here below.

You can track: behavior, sleep, weather, kids, illness, medications, vacation, cleaning, television shows, podcasts, Instagram hashtags, finances, passwords, hobbies, social media followers, food, exercise, water consumption, goals, emotion, big event information, friends, music…

And I’m sure there are tons more I haven’t even listed.

That’s the list of what you can track.

HOW you can track?

Again, any darn way you want.

It can be as small as five dots in the corner if each day in your weekly layout to track water consumption. It can be as large as multiple pages to handle vacation information.

Ok, so this one is actually pretty complicated, so I’m writing another post here if you want to learn more about trackers and ideas to use trackers in your bullet journals.

Collections: Kind of similar to a tracker, but in this case you are just writing down themed data. The information here is nice to have as a reference or reminder tool. Can be interspersed at any point of your bullet journal, but typically made separate from other pages (could be between weeks 3-4, but not actually part of either week).

Commonly Used Bullet Journal Products:

This bullet journal glossary section dives into products and types of products that are commonly used in the bullet journal community.

Dot Grid Notebook: Many bullet journalers use dot grid notebooks. How is a dot grid different? It features little dots in rows and columns. It’s nice because it lets the user of the notebook create their own structure while also allowing for maximum creativity because there are no lines (unless you want to draw them yourself).

If you use a dot grid, get yourself a ruler.

Note: You don’t have to use a dot grid to bullet journal. I’ve seen lovely bullet journals done in graph, lined, and plain paper.

Leuchtturm1917: Pretty much the most ‘God-revered’ dot-grid notebook in the Bullet Journal Universe. Why? I have no freaking clue.

(The Almighty Leuchtturm1917 A5 Dot Grid Notebook along with my favorite Staedtler Fineliner pens)

Many people use them. Many people love them. Some people can’t stand them. They are absolutely fantastic notebooks though. A little expensive (the “standard” size for a bullet journal costs about $20 USD). Well worth it.

Rhodia: The Rhodia dot grid notebook is another well-known notebook variety in the bullet journal world.

Moleskine: Another variety of notebooks. Moleskine in general probably has the best selection of unique covers. They are also a lot more readily available, you can find them at stores such as Target and Barnes and Noble. If Leuchtturm1917 is the golden child of the variety, Moleskine is likely the ‘middle’ child. It has it’s strengths but not utilized nearly as much.

STM: Stands for “Scribbles That Matter”. A newer dot-grid notebook that many people love. The little sibling of the notebooks listed here!

GSM*: This is a number typically attached to notebooks. It basically has to do with the thickness of the page in the notebooks. The smaller the number, the thinner the page. If it’s larger, the page is thicker. Each have their own pros and cons.

A5*: This number relates to a certain size of notebook. Many bullet journals typically are the A5 size, however, you can use smaller or larger. A5 size is approximately 5.83in x 8.27in.

*If you have additional questions about the GSM and A5, along with additional information that is relevant to Bullet Journals, I’d highly recommend reading this fantastic blog post “Paper Notebooks Explained” written by JetPens.

It’s very much a personal preference thing, so you may want to try out various notebooks to see what thickness and notebook size you prefer.

Common Bullet Journal Concerns

This section of the bullet journal glossary 

Bleeding: No, nobody gets hurt. Nobody dies. Maybe an occasional papercut… but that still has nothing to do with THIS kind of bleeding.

In the bullet journal world, bleeding means that the pen/marker markings have bled through to the back page and subsequent pages following. I’ve heard of people tossing their bullet journals over this shit.

Ghosting: No, there is nothing spiritual about the Bullet Journaling world. Ghosting is like the nicer cousin of bleeding… basically it has to do with the pen/marker markings. If you look at the back side and can see the shading of the markings, my friends, you have ghosting.

The jokes one could make about Bujo and ghosting…

Bullet Journal Glossary of Tips and Tricks

The bullet journal community utilizes many ‘hacks’, techniques you can utilize in your bullet journal to make it more simple to manage. Thought the bullet journal glossary could include a few commonly talked about hacks!

Threading: This is a hack actually utilized and made popular by Ryder Carroll himself.

To put it simply, the concept of threading works like this. You have a collection, say it’s on page 12. You are collecting information about recipes (pretty generic!). Finally, after a couple of months, you fill the collection.

But crap! You’ve now filled pages 13-76 with other important things.

And you fall on your knees, crying out “WHAT DO I DO NOW?!?!?!!?!”

Ryder Carroll’s gotcha covered.

You start your recipe collection on page 77.

Then you go back to page 12… and you can draw a vertical line/comma/semi-colon/colon (whatever you want to separate). After whatever punctuation mark you drew, you write down “77”.

Now you know when you are looking at recipes on page 12, you can also find more on 77.


Dutch Door: One of the most common types of hacks featured in the bullet journal world.

Check out this fabulous dutch door layout by Planner Luka over at Instagram!
It looks so easy, doesn’t it?!?!

This is just a clever “hack” to provide some flexible, smaller pages within two main pages. Frequently used for daily pages within a weekly spread. Picture below to explain the concept a little better.

Christina at Christina77Star has a fantastic post all about Dutch Doors in your bullet journal. You can read all about them here, with many different styles and layouts explained in greater detail.

**Also, I quote “hack” because I find this very challenging and frustrating. It’s messed up some of my pages in previous attempts. However, some people love them.. so it’s really up to you whether you want to investigate this or not. If I ever figure out how to implement one, I’ll throw a link here!**

Miscellaneous Bullet Journal Glossary Terminology

Bullet Journal Community: Pretty much the best darn people in the world. You’ll find amazing friendships, endless generosity, ideas galore, conversation, and penpals. It includes the most beginner bullet journalers to the most advanced. You’ll see talent levels of all kinds.

And That’s Everything You Need To Know…

Or is it?

The most beautiful part of this post is that it is continually ongoing. It changes and adjusts with the times and with new concepts introduced to me. So make sure to bookmark this page and keep checking back periodically! I will be adding on!

Now you can see how without a bullet journal glossary it is very easy for people to get overwhelmed diving in! It definitely takes some time and practice, but utilizing the bullet journal glossary as you’re getting a handle on how to create a bullet journal will be super helpful.

Hey guys, is there something I’m missing? Or a definition that you feel needs more explanation? Please let me know in the comments, or feel free to send me an email! Part of this bullet journal glossary involves the community as there is no one specific way to have a bullet journal.

Until then,


7 thoughts on “The Ultimate Bullet Journal Glossary Every Beginner Can’t Live Without

  1. Dede says:

    In reading lots of blogs about BuJo almost everyone recommends the Leuchtturm brand notebook, but I happened on one in Amazon that no one has mentioned. It is a Lemome. It has all the qualities that people rave about: thick paper, dot grid, 2 bookmarks, elastic band and pocket at the back. PLUS it only cost about $10 and came with a very good pen. I thought that others might find this info useful. So far yours has been the most helpful blog I have read. Thank you.

  2. Very useful information, thank you. Also appreciate the comment from Dede on Lemome Bullet Journal which I will order. This blog is very helpful and explains things in a manner that any one can understand. I am just starting my blog and now feel a little more confident

    • mindfulplanner says:

      Glad you were able to find some guidance and confidence!! I’m definitely going to order a Lemome as well 🙂

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