How to Use an Ibico Binder

By Patricia Smith Michaels

Updated September 26, 2017

binding booklets for a professional look
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Ibico binding machines are used to assemble document pages and can be powered by hand or with a foot pedal. The binder works with plastic comb binds that act as book spines. Binding a document involves inserting stacked pages in the machine's teeth and then, pulling down on the arm lever or stepping on the foot pedal to penetrate the papers' left edge. Finally, the perforated papers can be inserted into an outstretched plastic comb bind, hole by hole. The arm lever on the binding machine is then pulled forward to close the plastic comb bind, hence, releasing the stack of papers from the teeth of the machine.

Assemble the front cover, inside papers and back cover of your document into one stack. Tap the bottom edge of the stack onto a table to get the edges as straight as possible.

Slide the left edge of the paper stack into the binding machine to perforate it with holes. Make sure that the left edge of the paper is aligned with the opened comb bind. If the overall document won't fit into the binding machine, split it up and perforate each smaller stack one at a time.

If the binding machine is manual, pull down the arm lever toward you using a quick and smooth motion. This will ensure that all papers are perforated evenly. If the machine is powered by a foot pedal, then gently tap on the pedal with your foot.

Insert a plastic comb bind between the metal teeth of the binding machine. When placing the comb bind onto the teeth, its spine should be facing away from you, and the front side (rings) should be facing toward you. Make sure that it is aligned evenly from top to bottom with the teeth of the binding machine. If done correctly, each metal tooth will appear to sit in between each ring of the comb bind. Push the arm lever of the binding machine away from you. This will open and set the comb bind onto the metal teeth securely.

Insert the perforated papers (start from the back of the pile) onto the outstretched comb bind at the top of the binding machine. Make sure that each hole in the paper stack matches a ring on the comb bind.

Pull the arm lever down toward you to release the comb bind from the metal teeth. Carefully, lift the entire bound document up from the metal teeth of the machine.

Items you will need

  • plastic comb binds

  • stack of paper

  • heavyweight cardstock paper


For a more professional looking booklet, use heavyweight (at least 24 pound) cardstock paper. You can purchase this at any office supply store.

If your booklet is smaller than 8.5 inches by 11 inches, cut the plastic spine and align it to one side of the teeth, either the top or the bottom.

If the overall document is more than 25 pages, you will need a larger sized comb bind. Typical diameter sizes for comb binds are 0.25 inches (up to 25 pages), 0.50 inches (up to 50 pages), 1 inch (up to 100).

For larger documents, you will need to perforate smaller stacks at a time. First, divide your document into smaller stacks beginning from the last page of the document. For example, if your document has 50 pages total, the first stack would be from pages 26 to 50 and the back cover. The second stack would be the top cover and pages 1 to 25.


Do not try to perforate too many pages at one time. Large stacks of paper will jam the machine.

Do not try to bind too many pages onto small comb binds. Purchase the correct size comb bind for the number of pages needed.