Looking to Print an Employee Handbook? Here is an Overview of the Binding Options

Employee handbooks, also referred to as employee manuals, are used by companies of all sizes to communicate organizational policies, procedures, expectations, compensation and benefits, terms of employment, and other important information about the company and workplace. These handbooks are often presented to new employees on or before their first day on the job.

Employee handbooks are one of the most important documents distributed by a company. As such, a lot of planning and thought goes into developing the content and layout. Choosing the binding method is one of the final steps toward creating a professional-looking handbook. Below are the most popular options for binding an employee handbook…

Saddle-Stitch Binding

Saddle Stitching

Saddle-stitching is the most economical binding option and works best for handbooks that have a relatively low page count, usually 64 pages or less. The saddle-stitch method uses printed sheets that are folded and nested one inside the other and then stapled through the fold line with wire staples. The staples pass through the folded crease from the outside and are clinched between the centermost pages. Though simple, this method produces a very professional-looking document.

Perfect Binding

Perfect Binding

Perfect binding works best for employee handbooks that have a medium to high page count. With this binding method, the pages and cover are glued together at the spine with a strong, yet flexible, thermal glue. The other three sides of the book are then trimmed as needed to give them clean “perfect” edges. In most cases, the square spinal edge allows for printing on the spine.

Spiral Coil Binding

Spiral Coil Binding 

Spiral Coil binding is well-suited for just about any page count. A durable plastic coil is fed through small holes punched along the spinal edge of the book’s covers and pages. Because the pages rotate around the coil with very little resistance, they will stay put without having to be continually held open to view the contents. Coil binding is also one of the few binding styles that allow a book to lie perfectly flat in the open position.

Wire-O Binding

Wire-O Binding

Wire-O binding offers many of the same benefits as spiral coil binding, but is somewhat more sophisticated in appearance. The Wire-O binding method utilizes pre-formed pairs of wire loops that run along a C-shaped spine unit. These wire loops are inserted through holes that have been punched through the book’s covers and pages. The loops are then crimped closer together until they form a perfect circle, thus securing the cover and pages as an assembly, yet allowing them to open freely.

Comb Binding

Comb Binding

Comb Binding uses a cylindrical plastic shape that has multiple tines along its length. Each tine is pre-formed into a closed ring shape. The curved tines are spread open and inserted through rectangular slots punched along the spinal edge of the book’s cover and pages. When the tension in the tines is released, the spine closes back into its original shape and binds the covers and pages.

Ringed Binder

Ringed Binder

Most Ringed Binders fall within the 1/2″ to 3″ size range (the size of a ringed binder denotes the capacity of its rings, not the width of the binder’s spine). A ringed binder, especially the 3-ring binder, is a popular choice for employee handbooks because pages and inserts can be added or removed very easily, thus making periodic updates a “snap.” Ringed Binders can be completely custom-made, or custom-printed front and spine sections can be slipped into standard clearview-style binders.

Other considerations…

Employee Acknowledgement Page

Many companies ask their employees to sign and date a statement acknowledging they have received/read the handbook and agree to comply with the material presented therein. Instead of creating a separate sheet, an acknowledgement page can be bound into the employee handbook and perforated for easy removal. This page can also be made a different color than the rest of the book’s pages so that it stands out.

Tabbed Section Dividers

Index tabs provide a simple way to organize an employee handbook into logical sections. Custom-printed tabs provide a concise label for each section, allowing the employee to quickly locate specific areas within the handbook. Index tabs are most often used in handbooks that are spiral coil bound, wire-o bound, comb bound, or ring bound.

When printing an important project like an employee handbook, knowing all your binding options upfront will help you achieve the optimal result. Give Formax a call at 866-367-6221 if you have any questions. Or, if you already know your specs and would like a quote, click here to access our easy quote request form. We look forward to assisting with your printing and binding needs!

Take care!  Keith

About the Author

Keith Beaty is the owner of Formax Printing Solutions in St. Louis, MO. Formax provides a complete array of offset and digital printing services. Specialty areas include full-color printing, all types of softcover books, laminated printing, plus fulfillment and mailing services. If you ever have a printing question or project you would like to discuss, Keith is always happy to help. He can be reached at 314-434-5500 or 866-367-6221. Keith and Formax have been providing worry-free printing and related services for over 30 years.

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