Bullet Journal Keys | Should You Have One? + Examples

Hello bullet journalists! I know my posting schedule is a little messed up, since I usually do bullet journal posts on Saturdays, but I’ve already done a few bookish posts in a row and figured it was time for some bullet journal fun. I’m actually planning on starting a new journal in January, so keep your eye out for lots of posts geared towards starting a new journal in the next few months!

Today’s post is all about bullet journal keys: the page at the beginning of your journal where you keep a little legend of which symbols mean what. I’ve experimented with keys over the time that I’ve been bullet journaling, and one thing I’ve debated with myself is this: are key pages really necessary? 

And that is what I’m going to be talking about today. I’ll have a pros and cons list (of course, because lists are the best) and I also have some different examples of keys to show you all.

Bullet Journal Keys | Do You Need One? + Examples

Reasons to have a key:

Generally, I think having a key page is nice because if you’re new to bullet journaling, it can take some time to get used to all the different symbols there are. I also think having keys is great if you have a specific color code that you use throughout your journal. (More on this later!)

Reasons NOT to have a key:

I drew legends at the beginnings of my first two bullet journals, but eventually, it felt sort of unnecessary for me personally since I had all of the symbols memorized and by now I know them like the back of my hand.

The verdict:

Overall, I think having a key is a good idea if you’re starting out your first bullet journal. You could keep creating keys with new journals if you want, or if you have a more complicated symbol/color-coding system, but otherwise, you might not need one after you’ve been bullet journaling for a while.

Examples of bullet journal keys:

Now that we’ve talked about whether or not you should have a key in your journal, we can look at a few examples of different types of bullet journal keys!

Keys from my previous journals:

This is the key from my first ever bullet journal, back in the day.

Key #1

I laid it out a little differently, but the key in my second journal, inspired by @rebel.lux.designs on Instagram, is fairly similar.

Key #2

Later into my second journal, I was inspired by Kara @ Boho Berry to begin color coding pages with this color key: I cut a small piece of paper from the back of my notebook which I taped onto the back cover and used to color code the edges of various pages.

I don’t use this technique anymore, mostly because I didn’t feel like I needed it that much, but if you like categorizing your pages, this sort of color index could be a good thing to have.

Color Index

Some other keys that I think are really cool:

And you can check out my Pinterest board for bullet journal keys if you’re looking for more ideas!

Let's Chat

How do you feel about bullet journal keys? Talk to me in the comments!

♥ Annie

Bullet Journal Keys | Should You Have One? + Examples

8 thoughts on “Bullet Journal Keys | Should You Have One? + Examples

  1. letteringbyusha

    I don’t like the bullet journal keys much. I just like to go with the flow and just do what feels right to me. But I understand the need for the keys as its part of the overall bullet journaling process!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. As much as I love colour coding I don’t feel it very practical to me sadly! But I think the idea of a key is something I want to incorporate into my new journal because I don’t like just leaving things left in my current one. xo

    Liked by 1 person

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