Guide To Bullet Journal Key For Beginners


If you are new to bullet journaling, it can get quite confusing. You may have many different areas of your life to plan out like your work, personal life, meals, workouts and so on.  You start using dots, dashes and other symbols and eventually, it gets too complicated. If you relate to this, then identifying a simple bullet journal key (also known as bullet journal legend) is the way to go. 

In this blog, we will talk about what a bullet journal key is, how to create your own bullet journal code and also how to use it. If you read on, you will also find a list of bullet journal key ideas that you can recreate to achieve a higher level of organization in your bullet journal.

If you’re just getting started with bullet journaling, you can go through our blog – How To Bullet Journal – The Complete Guide To Bullet Journaling

Table of Contents

What Is A Bullet Journal Key?

First things first, before we get started, let’s address the elephant in the room. What is a bullet journal key and why do you need one?

Simply put, a bullet journal key (also known as bullet journal legend) is a key for your journal. It is a page or a section in your bullet journal where you keep a record of all those symbols and colour codes that you use in your journal and what they stand for.

You’ll be surprised to discover how maintaining a simple key for your bullet journal can almost double your efficiency. It saves time and efforts by making it super simple to plan out the different spheres of your life in the same journal without making it too messy or complicated. 

A bullet journal key is easy to personalise and makes you more organized. And to add to all of that, it also makes your bullet journal pages appear neat as you are able to use symbols and colours instead of writing everything down. 

How Do I Create A Bullet Journal Key?

To make a bullet journal key is simple. You can use symbols, colours or a combination of both. You can even use doodles to create a key for your bujo. Even if you have a variety of tasks, you can use different colours to categorise and represent those tasks. You may also colour code different areas of your life or assign a symbol to each of them.

Personalise and have fun creating a key that is unique to your needs. But remember to keep it simple. Do not overcomplicate stuff. Your goal is to get organised and not complicate your pages further. 

You can scroll further to look at different bullet journal ideas so that you can create one too!

The Original Bullet Journal Key

The concept of bullet journal keys was devised by Ryder Carroll, the creator of the Bullet Journal method. The purpose of using these keys was to help with rapid logging – the method of capturing more information with the help of bulleted lists. 

The keys, also known as bullet journal icons, are visual elements that classify every entry into either task, event or notes. You change the symbol to denote the progress level of your tasks.

The original bullet journal keys are mentioned below –

original bullet journal key

Source – menwhobullet

However, you need not stick to these icons and symbols. When you bullet journal, you are free to define your own rapid logging symbols that suit your own needs. 

Depending your profession, your tasks and your schedule, you might require completely different type of keys. 


How Do I Use The Bullet Journal Key?

As mentioned earlier, you may use different symbols, colours or a combination of both in your bullet journal key.  For example, instead of writing ‘email’ every single time you have an email related task, you can simply assign a symbol for the task. You may use different colours along with that symbol to indicate if that email is work-related or if it is a personal task. 

You can come up with your own unique symbols. But just to get you started, I decided to come up with a compilation of bullet journal key symbols.

  •    To Do

o      In Progress

✔     Completed

✖    cancelled task

✈ travel

>     Reschedule

✉ send an e-mail

📞 make a call


!      Priority 

$    expenses

🎤 karaoke night

⚽ soccer practise

  *    Important

  !!!  reminder

 →shift task to next day

  ❤ date/ meeting with a loved one

  💧drink water/ hydrate

You can also use simple doodle as icons/keys for your bullet journal. 

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Bullet Journal Key Ideas

Here are some bullet journal key ideas that you can create to take your organization skills to the next level. For your convenience, we have divided it into 4 different categories. The first one is a bullet journal key using only symbols. The next category is key using colour codes. The third category is to maximise efficiency using a combination of symbols and colours. And the last one is a bullet journal key using doodles. So read up!

Bullet Journal Key Ideas Using Symbols

Using symbols is probably the easiest way to log information in your bullet journal. It’s not only quick and saves time but also makes it easy to understand. Symbols are a great way to identify your tasks that need to get done, what’s in progress, what is completed and what needs to get transferred to the next day. 

We have already seen some examples of symbols that you can use in your planner in the previous section. Here is a list of bullet journal key symbols ideas.

bullet journal key using symbols

This minimalist bullet journal key idea by is very easy to create. If you are someone who doesn’t have the patience to colour or decorate your bullet journals, then this one’s for you. It has all the important symbols related to school or work. You can always customize them according to your needs. 

bullet journal code

I love the aesthetics of these bullet journal key symbols by The symbols look so cute and add a level of organization to your bullet journal at the same time. With icons for everything you need in order to plan your work day, this makes for a perfect bullet journal key. 

The hand-lettered title is the highlight of this key. To know how to create a similar one for yourself, check out our blog post on How To Get Started With Hand Lettering.

planner key code

This bujo key page by is very attractive and efficient. The simple bullet journal key symbols used avoid confusion. The floral detailing adds to its beauty. The key is highly functional and will ensure that you are the most productive version of yourself. Do try it out and don’t forget to personalise it to match your needs.

key for bullet journal

This simple bullet journal key page by is very succinct and minimal. What makes it absolutely gorgeous is the leaves doodle on the top and the intricacy with which the word key is embedded in it. 


bujo key

These bullet journal key symbols are by cheapscaitcreates. The symbols are simple and easy to follow. The cute doodling at the bottom and those washi tapes are a perfect way to decorate the page.

Related Post – 35 Creative Washi Tape Bullet Journal Ideas

floral key for bullet journal

This is yet another floral themed bullet journal key page. This one is by hellobonjournal. What I love about this key is that it includes symbols for work as well as personal life. That way, you don’t have to maintain two separate keys for the different areas of your life.

easy key code

I just love how simple and clean this key page looks. This key by Diary Of A Journal Planner is just very elegant and orderly. The leaf design on the page also adds to the whole minimalist vibe going on this page. 

Related Post – Minimalist Bullet Journal Ideas For Your Bujo Pages

Since we have already seen different bujo key page ideas using symbols, here is an example of how you can use them in your bullet journal. As you can see, you can refer to the pop-up key page in the side while planning your day.

Bullet Journal Key Ideas Using Colour Codes

Colour coding is another effective way to organise the various tasks in your bullet journal. You can assign different colours to different tasks or different areas of your life like work, home, etc. If you have to coordinate the tasks of your family, you may assign different colours to each family member as well. Here is a list of bullet journal key ideas using color codes for your bullet journal.

colour key

This cute bullet journal colour key page by is the perfect way to ensure that your bujo stays useful and clutter-free. It has used colour coding to denote different activities like sleep, self-care, class, work, blog, journaling, leisure and so on.

key for bullet journal

This colour code key by is made by using stickers of different colours. This is highly efficient and saves time as you don’t have to spend time colouring and highlighting your bullet journal. Simply use different coloured stickers to represent the different tasks that you have to make your planning easier.

colour key ideas

This coloured flip out key by is very ingenious. Simply stick the bullet journal key to the edge of your journal using decorative washi tape so that you can view it from every page in your journal without having to flip through pages.

washi tape key

If you are someone who loves using washi tape, then you must try out this colour key for your bullet journal by Instead of using colour pens or highlighters, use different coloured washi tape for your different tasks or aspects of your life that you’d like to plan. 

bujo key ideas

This colour key from is very similar to the previous one on the list. Simply use different washi tapes for different tasks related to your work, blog, expenses, etc.

activity tracker key

Here is an example of how you can use colour codes to organize your bullet journal. This is an activity tracker by The key is right next to the tracker showing different colours for warm up, cardio, yoga and so on. 

Related Post – 25+ Fitness Bullet Journal Ideas to Keep You Motivated

Bullet Journal Key Ideas With Symbols & Colour Codes

You have already seen examples of bullet journal key ideas using symbols and some using colours. Why not combine the two to double its efficiency? Here are some key ideas using a combination of colours and symbols. 


bullet journal key ideas

This perfect bullet journal key page by Christine Goslin will ensure high productivity. This key has two columns, one for your bullet code and another one for the colour code. While entering a task in your journal, you can use a combination of the two. For example, a blue circle will mean that you have an appointment on Thursday.  


key page for bullet journal

This key by my_blue_sky_design has a pretty simple key code with just 5 symbols. However, it has a detailed list of colours to go with it. The colours indicate different days of the week, occasions and people.

bujo key page ideas

This simple bullet journal key page by literally has a key on it. Unlike the previous one, the colour code is limited to just four colours. You can personalise it according to your needs but remember to keep it simple and handy.

minimalist bullet journal key

I love the whole minimalist vibe on this key page. It’s very simple and easy to follow. This key is the creation of Mara (profile no longer existent on Pinterest). You can decorate it with doodles or stickers if you prefer it that way.

This simple bullet journal key by bujoncoffee is effortless. I love the 3D look of the boxes. It’s easy to follow and is sure to increase your organization skills.

key page ideas

This bullet journal key page by is unique and different from the rest on the list. Apart from the regular key using colours and symbols, it also has trackers and a  key for the weather.

planner key ideas

Here is an example of how you can use this type of key in your bullet journal.

Bullet Journal Key Ideas Using Icons

If you are someone who loves to doodle, then why not use it to create icons for your journal? Here is a list of bullet journal icons that you can use in your planner. 

bullet journal icons

This bullet journal icons key by the petite planner is very easy to create if you are someone who loves doodling. I love how cute these icons are. Head over to her page to get the full list of icons.

planner icons ideas

This is yet another icons list for your bullet journal by It’s more for your personal journal rather than for planning work-related stuff. I just love those cute mushroom and paper clip icons. Do try it out in your personal planner.

bullet journal doodle key

Here is another key for your bullet journal icons by This one includes icons for a workout, doctor’s appointment, mani/Pedi and many more!

chores doodle for bullet journal

Here is a list of chores icons by It includes many different chores that you will have to do right from doing the laundry to cleaning and watering the plants. It’s a fun little way to make your boring chores seem exciting.

Related Post – 45+ Bullet Journal Doodles For Your Inspiration 

FAQs about Bullet Journal Key

Now that we have almost reached the end of the article, and you have a fair idea of what a bullet journal key is, let’s answer some of the most frequently asked questions.

Q1. Where do you put the bullet journal key?

Where you decide to put your bullet journal key is totally up to your convenience. You can make one right at the start of your journal or at the last page of your bullet journal. But if you are someone who doesn’t like flipping through pages, then you can create a flip-out bullet journal key and paste it onto the edge of your journal.

Q2. Is there a bullet Journal app?

You can use any note-taking app as a bullet journal. You can also check out apps such as Trello, NotePlan, Taskade and Goodnotes.

Q3. Do you have any tips for a bullet journal beginner?

It’s not about what you see online. It doesn’t have to look perfect. It just has to work for you. So don’t stress about how your bullet journal looks. It is important to adjust your mindset because no planner or bullet journal is going to work for you unless you make an effort and have the will to make it work.  My ultimate tip for all bullet journal beginners is to keep it simple. Do not try to be over-organized that you lose the interest to journal anymore. 


So there you go! That was all you needed to know about bullet journal keys. Hope you found this article helpful. Remember that there is no perfect key to follow. What works for someone else might not work for you. Try out different options and figure out what works best for you. Don’t forget to customize your key according to your needs. Your needs keep evolving and so will your bullet journal key!

If you loved these ideas, you can use the Pin image below to your to save this article on your Bullet Journaling Pinterest board, for future reference. 



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