Study and Organize Using Index Cards

Index cards are great for tasks like cataloguing and studying. Their small size and unique thickness make them easy to flip through, and their standardized sizing makes indexing possible.

The word "index" refers to a guide, list, or sign, which is where the term "index card" comes from. Originally used to create an indexing system for quick information retrieval, these cards were cut from card stock in the late 1700s and have been used ever since.

How Thick are Index Cards?

If you've ever used an index card, you'll know that they're noticeably thicker than a standard sheet of paper. Like the card stock that they're cut from, they feel crisp and sturdy, and support their own weight when held up. Standard index cards can be printed on with many consumer printers, but extra-thick versions are often incompatible with home printers.

Paper thickness is measured in grams per metre squared, which tells you how thick each sheet is and therefore how much it weighs. While copy paper (which is used as a "regular" piece of paper) tends to be about 75 grams per square metre, index cards are a substantial 200 grams per square metre. These weights are sometimes also referred to using a pound system: copy paper is described as a 20lb bond, printer paper is a 24lb bond, and index cards are a 110lb index. This extra thickness gives them the sturdiness to be held up from one corner, and makes them durable enough to repeatedly flick through.

Sizes of Index Cards

Your typical index card is a 3x5 index card, which fits in a standard index card box. However, blank and lined index cards are also available in other sizes, including 5x8 and 6x9 index cards.

Large index cards are less common, but can be effectively used for tasks such as event planning and studying. The larger space gives you more space for brainstorming, recording key concepts, or even fully copying and citing quotes or data.

Can I Study with Index Cards?

Physical indexing has become less common as workplaces, offices, and libraries switch to digital formats. However, index cards remain popular with students. Their small size and heavy paper weight make them an excellent choice for studying and self-quizzing.

Index cards are a great way to quickly note down key points, and their thickness means that they're an ideal choice for making homemade flash cards. While white index cards are most common, coloured index cards can be a great way to differentiate between subjects or topics.

Index cards are an excellent choice for studying, but are also great for presentations and meetings. They're sure to help you get your facts and figures right, whether you need them for a big test or a big presentation.