What Is A Bullet Journal Key? The What, Why, Examples + FREE Bujo Key Printable

Posted by Design Team on

 Hi Friends! It’s Rose here from @littlemissrose on Instagram and YouTube.  I’ve been bullet journaling for at least 5 years and I’m excited to share one of the main bullet journal spreads that you need at the start of your bullet journal!  A bullet journal key!

Remember you can use my affiliate code ROSE10 to get a discount on your Notebooks or any other Archer and Olive products (excluding bundles).  Check out how I created a bullet journal key in this video:

What is a Bullet Journal Key?

A bullet journal key is a reference list of symbols or signifiers that is usually kept at the start of your bullet journal.  The symbols or signifiers are just icons you use as shorthand in your bullet journal.  For example, instead of always writing “appointment”, you can use a circle icon to quickly note down an appointment:

❍  Doctor @ 2.30am

As per the official Bullet Journal website, the symbols from the original system are:

standard bullet journal key

However, you’re free to use whichever symbols you want.  These may even change and evolve over time depending on how you use your bullet journal

Why have a Bullet Journal Key?

The whole reason you have a bullet journal key is so that you can quickly note/write things down (rapid log).  Using symbols from your bullet journal key makes the use of your bullet journal:

  • More efficient and effective
  • Easier to read
  • Neater and tidier

How to Use a Bullet Journal Key?

Now that you have an understanding of what a bullet journal key is, here’s how you would go about using one.

First off, you need to decide what symbols to use and assign them to actions.  You may have a large list of actions that you consistently write in your bullet journal.  Make a list of these.  Then choose some symbols you like and assign them to your list of actions:

key layout example 1

When I use my bullet journal, I personally like to use little squares for my tasks and fill them in each time I complete a task.  To indicate an appointment, meeting or something that is scheduled I use a circle and fill it in when completed.

If I haven’t completed a task on the day that I’m supposed to, I will draw a little arrow in the square to indicate that I’ve migrated the task to a future date, usually the next day.  This is the same thing I do with appointments etc that have been rescheduled.

For items that get canceled or are no longer needed I will add a cross to the symbol.  

If I have random notes I need to write down, then the symbol I like to use is a simple dot.

You can use any symbols you like in you key.  I’ve created a simple key page for you so that all you have to do is print and add your symbols and meanings.  You can download that here.

Here is my final Bullet Journal Key:

key layout example 2

Here are some cute examples of bullet journal keys:

  • Here is a gorgeous floral bullet journal key created by @essjay_florals on instagram

key layout example 3

  • This bullet journal key decorated with a beautiful key drawing by @jashiicorrin.

key layout example 4

  • Get creative and create a flip out key, so you can easily reference it like these:

key layout example 5


key layout example 6

  • If you have a black out book - then create your key using white pen as Dano from @danosbujo has:

key layout example 7

  • And here is another beautiful bullet journal key decorated with washi tape by @crafteinated

key layout example 8

I hope this blog helped you understand how to use one of the standard bullet journal pages. If you would like to start, but still don't know how, feel free to print out this free bullet journal key spread printable:

free bullet journal key printable


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