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The Perfect Bullet Journal Key For Rapid Logging

The Perfect Bullet Journal Key For Rapid Logging

Bujo key ideas for rapid logging

What are bullet journal keys and how to use them? Read below to learn everything you need to know about how to use a bullet journal key for rapid logging!

When you start using a bujo, one of the first things you have to determine is how to set up your bullet journal key.

But what is a bullet journal key exactly and why do you need one?

In this post, I will walk you through how to use the bullet journal key symbols for rapid logging and I will share a few examples to inspire you on bullet journal key ideas.

If you are new to bullet journals you might want to check out my guide for starting a bullet journal. It’s the best place to start if you are a Bullet Journal beginner as I give you an entire overview of the system for you to start up. 

A bujo consist of the following parts:

Bullet Journal Key – we are talking about this in this post!

Bullet Journal Index

Bullet Journal Future Log

Bullet Journal Monthly Spreads

Bullet Journal Weekly Spreads

Bullet Journal Daily Spreads

Bullet Journal Collections

What Is A Bullet Journal Key?

When you first start looking at Bullet Journals online you often see lots of symbols next to entries. This isn’t some strange language or bullet journal code you need to learn before you can start a Bullet Journal.

These bullet journal symbols are a kind of quick reference guide. 

Here are some reasons to use a bujo key:

  1. More efficient
  2. Saves time and effort
  3. Can make you more organized
  4. Easy to personalize
  5. Saves space in your bullet journal
  6. Looks neater


Bullet Journal Key Original Set up

The concept of bullet journal keys was created by Ryder Carroll, the Bullet Journal method creator.

The key to bullet journal rapid logging is the bullet key (pun intended!). Rapid Logging is when you can capture the information with a lot less content and organize it with bulleted lists.

For rapid logging, each bullet journal icon is a visual demonstration to classify an entry into either task, event, or notes, and you change the symbol as you get on with your tasks.

The original bullet keys are as followed:

Bullet journal keys original method

Simple bullet journal key

However, as with everything with a bullet journal, you are also free to optimize your rapid logging symbols to suit your own needs. Many people do it, including me.

And it makes total sense. For instance, if you use your bullet journal as a student you will probably need a different set of keys for school than you would for work.

So don’t be afraid to experiment and try different systems and ideas. You can’t make a mistake.

If something doesn’t work for you or is seeming to make things harder rather than easier then use it as a learning experience and try something new. 

Bullet Journal Index - Do you really need one?


Bullet Journal Keys

Here are some bullet journal key examples:

  • • = Notes

A small dot or a bullet symbol is used for entries that are notes.

  • ⬜ = Task

You add this square sign every time you want to enter a task on your daily spread.

  • ⚪ = Event

When there is an event you need to add to your calendar you add a circle.

  • △ = Appointment

Add a little triangle when your entry is an appointment.

When tasks have been completed, events and appointments have been attended then you can color the symbol of each respective entry.

  • ⬛ = Completed task

  • ⚫ = Attended event

  • 🔺 = Attended appointment

Sometimes though you are not able to finish a task in the same month or week, then you must migrate the task. Migration is basically rewriting items you haven’t finished in another current spread.

Use the ᐳ sign to classify a task as migrated (some people might also use an arrow – ⥅):

  • ⍄ = Task migrated

And sometimes you have to cancel either a task, event, or appointment. Then you just put an ✕ on top of your bullet journal key, like this:

  • ⊠ = Cancelled task

  • ⊗ = Cancelled event

  • ⨻ = Cancelled appointment

Sometimes we need an extra bit of information to differentiate similar entries where just using the keys isn’t enough, that is when the bullet journal signifiers come in handy!

The signifiers are extra symbols that give additional context to your entries.

For instance, I use the exclamation mark to mark tasks or appointments that need reminding and therefore need to be prioritized.

I just add the exclamation mark to the left of my entry when rapid logging.

When I scan the page I am working on I can see immediately what are tasks that I need to concentrate on first.

  • ♡ = inspirational ideas and personal mantras.

The heart symbol is useful to mark favorites and inspirational notes.

  • $ = expenses or budget

The dollar symbol is useful to mark expenses or invoices to be generated.

  • 🕒 = Dates or deadlines

The clock symbol is handy to add beside an entry with a deadline and due dates.

  • ❊ = Important

Use this signifier to mark important things on your list that needs prioritizing.

  • ᆝ= Reminder

You can add an exclamation mark for something you need to verify.

You get the idea! You can create your own signifiers, that will make sense to your entries.

Don’t feel like you have to use the same ones or mark them for the same thing! Do your thing! These are just a few to get you started.

But before you go overboard making millions of bullet journal legend and signifiers in an attempt to log your entries fast, just be aware that too many signifiers can actually make you less effective.

I suggest only using a few key symbols to make entries easy to scan.


Bullet journal key color code

An alternative for keys and the bullet journal signifiers list is to color-code your entries.

You can also add color to help you classify your entries.

I love this beautiful bullet journal key layout from Rachel at Planning Mindfully, she uses her favorite bujo notebook Scribbles That Matter.

bullet journal key and index

Instead of using bullet journal keys, you can add color to differentiate entries

This is a simple way to block time in your schedule too. And the bullet journal keys add such beautiful colors to your bujo.


How to use a bullet journal key

I like to keep the keys and signifiers to a minimum because I can get confused if I use too many. Less is more, right?

For work, I add my tasks and mark them as I progress, complete them, or cancel/mark them as irrelevant.

Sometimes I have to migrate tasks when I try to do too much in a day and run out of time. I simply use a little arrow to remind me that the task has been moved. When that happens, I repeat the task on the next day/week accordingly on the page.

I use dots/dashes for notes and reminders.

Finally, I have appointments, that are mostly related to my personal life.

I use a circle to differentiate them from other tasks and notes.

If I need to prioritize something I use the exclamation mark! I find that these simple symbols help me log my lists so easily and keep on track of everything seamlessly.

Bullet journal keys and signifiers


How to make a bullet journal key

Now I’ve shown you how I create my personal key bullet journal, now it is your turn! Don’t worry as it is super simple. Just follow these basic steps:

1 ⎮Sit down and think about all the things that you need to keep organized in your life.

You may want to do a brain dump to help you do this. Some ideas of what you may want to include are appointments, work commitments, personal commitments, family tasks, fitness routines, the list goes on as you can really have a symbol for anything!

2 ⎮Create your own bullet journal code. These can be as simple and minimalist as you like, or more extravagant.

Just keep in mind that the idea is to save time and be more efficient so don’t make them too complicated.

3 ⎮Write down your signifiers in a bullet journal legend or key


Where to add a key for bullet journal

If your bullet journal notebook doesn’t come with the specific key page, you just need to write it on a page as I did. Put it somewhere that is easy to find such as the first or back page of your journal. 

Another idea is to create a fold-out key or even bookmark the page you create your bujo signifiers on. 

8 things to put in a bullet journal


Bullet Journal Key Page Ideas

Here are a few of my favorite accounts that have some great inspiration for bullet journals, I love the designs. Be sure to check their beautiful bullet journal pages for more ideas.


key for bullet journal

You can make your bujo key fit in with the theme of your journal, like this floral bujo theme from @archi_journal.

Learn how to doodle flowers in our HUGE flower drawing post. We show you how to draw over 50 different flowers!


bujo key

This is a stunning minimalist bullet journal key from @themapimethod

If you want to try more of a simple style like this then come and take a look at these gorgeous minimalist bullet journals ideas


bullet journal keys

Use washi tape to make your bullet journal key really stand out like this design from @lala_bunt

Find our favorite washi tape shops here. 


bullet journal key

From @bujobyki


bullet journal signifiers

This is a great example of using signifiers and colors in your bujo legend from @loashleydoodles


bullet journal keys and signifiers

If you have a lot of things you need to keep a track of and organized then you may need a more complicated key like this one from @greyzonepages

Although it looks like there are lots of symbols, when used in your bujo it is actually a really easy way to see what you have on in your life in one simple glance. Especially if you use the same bullet journal legend for a few years.


I hope this post has shown you what a bullet journal key is and how to use one. Although it is not necessary to use a bujo key I think it is a great tool to help you use your journal to be more productive and simplify your life. 

It can take a little while to get used to using a key and the symbols, it won’t be long before they become second nature and you are rapid logging. You may even find you start using the same signifiers in other places outside of your bullet journal such as at work!

Have you created your own bujo key? Did it help you use your bujo better and faster? Be sure to let us know in the comments below.

What are your favorite bujo key ideas?



Perfect Bullet Journal keys to help you log your bujo tasks


Amazing bullet journal key ideas and signifiers

Your guide to bullet journal keys and signifiers

How to use keys bullet journal keys for rapid logging.

How To Make A Key For Bullet Journal. Find lots of great Bullet journal key ideas to help you create a key that is perfect for YOU! #bulletjournal #bujo #bulletjournalkey #bujokey #bulletjournalideas

Bullet Journal Key Ideas


Sunday 31st of October 2021

Brilliant website. My 2022 Bujo plan starting to get into action on these pages. Thanks for your freebies to help the process.

Diary of a Journal Planner

Sunday 31st of October 2021

So happy you found it useful! Happy journaling :)


Tuesday 31st of August 2021

Cute! This really helps me alot!


Monday 2nd of August 2021

I am glad found this and has helped big time. I didn't know what from what and now I'm understanding so thanks you've been a great help thank you


Thursday 26th of November 2020

I'm so glad to have found you, thank you for helping to clear up my thoughts and how a bullet journal is designed to work. Its a relief to see such a great descriptive explanation! I know it'll take me a little while to get the hang of using a bullet journal but I feel like its not really out of my grasp now. Thank you again! ~Wanda


Monday 11th of November 2019

I love your website. Awesome. Full of info. Easy to browse. Great place to get started. Thank you.

Diary of a Journal Planner

Wednesday 13th of November 2019

Thanks so much Charlotte for taking the time to write to us! We love hearing that we are helping our readers. Happy journaling!