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How To Set Up A Bullet Journal Key (With Designs and Ideas)

How often do you struggle with a messy and unorganized bullet journal? If the answer to the above question is almost all the time, then a bullet journal key is all you need to fix this problem.

Before we get into the intricacies, let’s take a look at a few questions you will need answers to when it comes to this particular journal idea.

What is a bullet journal key?

Now you may be wondering what a bullet journal key is all about but it’s quite simple.

It is an index page at the very start of a journal with a list of key symbols that categorize different sections of your journal.

Why should I use a key in my bullet journal?

Firstly, you don’t have to use one but having a key will ensure your journal and life always stays well organized.

If you’re the kind of person who uses their bullet journal to keep up to date with appointments, meetings, dates, social events, whatever that may be, you’ll discover many benefits to implementing a key system.

What supplies should I use?

When it comes to journaling, it’s easy to get lost in the wave of confusion.

Before you get started, you’ll need a good bullet journal that won’t bleed or tear when you’re layering on colors or using paints.

You’ll also need high-quality pens like Micron fineliners to create awesome doodles and graphics.

Of course, you can start off with a basic ballpoint pen and see where things go.

It’s your journal. Just have fun with it.

How do I create a key?

There are many ways to create a bullet journal key.

It doesn’t have to be complex or detailed but there are much easier ways to have a bujo key that is both simple and easy to implement.

You can personalize it however you want and give them your own style but here are a few great bullet journal key ideas that will help you get started.

Set aside a full-page, preferably at the beginning of your journal.

This may be slightly unconventional but if your first page is already occupied, head over to the back of your journal to create a key.

If you don’t have any space or maybe you’ve already used up the first few pages, try the new ‘fold open’ page

It isn’t complicated at all! In fact, these bullet journal keys are so much fun and exciting when you’re starting a new one.

List of Key Symbols To Use

Now here is the main area to focus on when it comes to a key.

You’ll need to write down every option you’d like to include in the key.

Here are some basic ideas you could include:

⬜  Task ⚪ Event

⬛ Completed Task          ⚫ Completed Event

⏰ Deadline          ⊗  Canceled Event

❤️ Inspiration   Birthday

❗ Reminder        ? Important

⚽ Exercise          ? Expenses

Still Confused?

Not a problem.

Put aside a few minutes to watch this great guide on how to create a key before you start creating your own bullet journal key with the ideas below.

It will give you a good idea on how to start especially if you’re a beginner.

If you’re pretty familiar with journal keys, feel free to skip this part!


And now I’m happy to inform you we’re finally ready to head over to the good stuff.

Use the following journal ideas to give you that burst of inspiration when you’re putting together your own key.

Easily personalize your key with bits of ideas from each one and see what you come up with!

Key Ideas

1. Minimalism

This minimalistic bullet journal key is the perfect one to begin with.


There isn’t anything complicated to this design and you probably will be able to whip this up in a few minutes.

It’s the absolute basic key that has just about everything you need.

If you need a spread that is simple, then this one will work very well for a school or work journal.

2. Key Drawing


This design incorporates simple and detailed together to create a beautiful spread.

Here the artist used a large bold font for the header and drew a detailed key doodle in the middle and separated her main tasks list from her activity list of symbols.

If you’re fond of drawing, this one is a great one to try.

3. Floral


This journal idea is a bit complicated with its floral pattern but if you love to doodle, this is a great way to put your skills to use.

It definitely makes the font at the top stand out.

The artist then goes ahead to use a simple leaf divider to separate the items.

4. With Lines


This is a modern design you might like if you’re looking for something easy to draw.

Even if you’re not so good at drawing, this boxed line art will make you look like a pro.

You’ll first want to start off by drawing a box and then use a ruler to draw different lengths of lines at the corner of the box.

5. Hanging Key Doodle


Here’s another simple and easy bullet journal key design you can try.

You’ll need to doodle a key at the first top of the page and draw the word ‘Key’ in a fancy font or a font of your choice.

6. Simple Key


This key focuses less on design but rather on the importance of the actual items in the key.

It uses simple cute drawings to indicate all the different kinds of activities.

If you want a really simple key idea, then this one will be perfect.

7. Black & White Key


It just hit me that most of these key ideas are black and white but nonetheless, they’re all amazing.

8. Task System


Over here, you’ll be happy to find a full breakdown of a journal task system that includes normal symbols and color-coded symbols.

Here the bullet journal artist uses normal (doodle) symbols for the main tasks while for extracurricular activities, she uses different colors to indicate each aspect.

9. Clean Layout With Flower


I always love adding floral doodles to my bullet journal and only after I completed my journal key did I come across this beautiful and elegant design.

The light shadow around the box not only makes the box stand out but also adds dimension to the flower drawing.

10. Splash of Color


And finally, here we have a loud splash of color. Isn’t this refreshing from all those black and white spreads?

This spread used watercolors to achieve this gorgeous and vibrant splash.

The main focus over here isn’t the key items as such but rather the design.

11. Full Spread Drawing


You’ll need some mad drawing skills for this one but I can assure you, if you don’t try to attempt this design, you’ll be missing out.

This is a two page spread with the drawing on one full page and the items on the next.

There’s also a black and white striped border in the middle which completes the design.

12. Floral Wreath


iSimplicity as it’s best. This floral wreath will steal your heart and before you realize, you’ll be thoroughly taken with drawing wreaths.

It uses different flowers, dots, and lines to achieve this look but that tiny heart detail steals the show.

13. Bookmark


 So, you’ve forgotten to leave a page in the front of your journal and you refuse to use the last page? Well, my friend, here’s a clever solution just for you.

You can easily create a bookmark sort of key to slip into your journal.

When you need to reference a certain key symbol, simply just pull the bookmark out.

14. Symbols


If you’d like to use a table format key, this one is great to draw inspiration from.

Especially if you’d like to add quite a few items, this table will no doubt fit as many items as you want.

15. Aesthetic Key


Clean and neat journal spreads are always a personal goal for me but of course, I still have a long road ahead of me.

This key spread keeps things light and simple by using a fine liner and Stabilo highlighters to decorate.


To quickly wrap things up, I’ve created this awesome chart of all the aspects of a bullet journal key and compiled it into one image.

Hit that pin button to save this post for later so that you’ll always have this on hand.

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