Why Use Sheet Protectors

Sheet protectors are the best solution to keeping papers safe and organized.  In the past, papers were punched with holes and inserted into binders.  This seemed like a good idea, until the holes on the paper started ripping when pages were turned over time.  Although stickers were invented so they can be stuck on top of the holes to prevent them from ripping, it became such a hassle and was very inconvenient.  On top of the inconvenience with the holes ripping, papers also started to get damaged on the corners and sides over time.  It was an okay way to organize paper, but did not offer a great deal of protection over time.

This is when sheet protectors started to become popular and used more commonly.  In the beginning it started with a simple plastic sheet wrapped around a stiffer card (sheet) of paper. The document would be placed on top of this card and then holes were punched through the plastics (with the paper inside) so it can be organized into a binder.  This was great because the punched holes no longer ripped as easily and the paper was well protected inside the plastic.  Unfortunately this idea became a bit of a hassle as well because when paper need to be taken out, it required flipping through the whole binder, take the pocket with the paper inside out from the rings, and then remove the paper from the pocket. People also started to want something that did not require punching holes into the document they wanted to protect. Lucky with the invention/refinement of the welding process of thin plastic, it led to the invention of the sheet protectors used today with pre-punched holes in a separate reinforced hole-line along a separate pocket that would hold the document safely.

Adding pre-punched holes onto these pockets allows people to simply put in and take out paper from their binder without having to actually remove them from the rings.  Flip to the page as needed, take the paper out and then just insert it back into the protector when done.  No holes are punched, it’s simple, and it protects paper nicely.


Probably the number 1 reason why people should use sheet protectors is for protection.  Having paper inserted into the protector will prevent it from getting damaged, whether it’s from everyday wear and tear or from accidents.  If sheet protectors are not used, sometimes the paper corners might wrinkle up, or the paper can get ripped when it’s being flipped through. By using sheet protectors, the plastic material prevents stains and finger prints from smudging the document and preventing it from getting wrinkled.

Protecting paper with sheet protector
- On the left is a piece of paper not inside a sheet protector - wrinkled and in fairly bad condition. -
- On the right is a piece of paper in a sheet protector - in excellent condition. -

It’s important to get into a habit of inserting papers into sheet protectors because accidents happen and sometimes cannot be prevent.  Ask yourself how many times have you accidently knocked over a cup and spilt its content onto an important document?  If that document was in a sheet protector then it’s safe because it will almost certainly prevent water, coffee, or whatever is in the cup, from getting all over the document and damaging it. 


Aside from protection, sheet protectors are also great to use for organizing purposes.  Used together with binders, sheet protectors offer an easy to use and convenient option for people to organize their documents.  First of all, it’s easy to use and convenient because holes don’t need to be punched anymore.

Documents are simply inserted into the sheet protector and then organized into a binder.  In the past, without sheet protectors, hole punching was required and sometimes it was a hassle to make sure the holes were aligned and punched correctly in order for It to fit into the binder.  With sheet protectors, all holes are pre-punched with exact measurements so it can fit standard 3 or 2 ring binders.  Sometimes people might want to organize and keep documents together in a folder.  That works too of course, but what sheet protectors and binders offer is also a great way to browse the documents.  While it keeps documents organized neatly, it also makes it easier for browsing because pages can be flipped like a book.

What’s also great about using sheet protectors for organizing is that fact that there are so many types of protectors for different things.  There are normal sheet protectors for paper, and then there are also protectors for CD, DVD, floppy disks, business cards, etc. 

Unorganized desk
- Loose paper lying around results into a very unorganized work desk. Best to keep papers in sheet protectors and binders to be organized. -

The fact that these protectors are mostly pre-punched with 3 holes, a simple 3 ring binder can be used to organize several items together.  In some cases, there are even sheet protectors where you can store together paper with CD/DVD or floppy disks.


Another reason why sheet protectors are used is because they help prevent paper from turning yellow and slows down deterioration. This is especially important for keeping important and memorable papers safe. The reason why sheet protectors can do this is because it adds an extra layer on top of the paper to prevent oxidation. Paper is made from wood, and wood contains a substance called lignin. So naturally, paper would also contain a certain amount of lignin. When exposed to heat or sunlight, the lignin molecules begin to react and that is what causes paper to turn yellow. So with sheet protectors, the plastic material will help prevent molecules from reacting to sunlight or heat as fast and thus slowing down the pace at which the paper will turn yellow.

It’s important to note that different types of paper will contain a different amount of lignin depending on the process of which it was made. For example, because newspapers need to be produced economically, the paper which newspapers are printed on will contain more lignin hence will turn yellow faster than say, high-end expensive paper that has been processed to remove lignin from its structure. So as a newspaper collector, for sure sheet protectors must be used in order to keep the newspaper in mint condition, otherwise they will deteriorate very quickly.

With all that in mind, that is why sheet protectors are also used for archiving purposes as it helps prevent paper from deteriorating and allows important or memorable papers to be kept longer in better conditions.