How to Work a Comb Binding Machine

Updated January 11, 2018

Comb binding machines are an inexpensive way to bind reports, documents and books. A plastic strip with regularly-spaced teeth is fit into holes punched on one side of the papers you're fastening together. Materials bound this way can be easily unbound so you can add or take out pages. The comb and the plastic covers can be reused and come in a variety of colours. Comb binding machines are an easy way to create a more professional look for your paper presentations.

Adjust the margins and the guides on the comb binding machine for the book you're creating. Do a test run with one sheet of paper to make sure the holes are correctly lined up. Place plastic covers at the front and back of the pages that will be bound. These will also be punched.

Select the number of pages to be punched first according to the manufacturer's recommendations. Using a slightly lower number will increase the lifetime of the comb binder and ensure the holes are tidy.

Put the edge of the papers to be punched firmly in the machine and pull the lever or push the button, depending on your machine. Make sure you keep the pages in order as you punch each section and set them aside.

Remove the last section of paper and insert a comb into the machine with the spine facing the back of the machine. Line up the holes you've punched in the paper by tapping the stack against a hard surface.

Spread the comb open by turning the knob at the back of the machine and slide the comb through the holes in the paper. Then close the comb by turning the knob and removing the book.


If you have difficulty putting all the pages on the comb at once, do a few at a time. Remember to keep the pages in order.

Things You'll Need

  • Comb binder
  • Paper
  • Covers
  • Comb
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About the Author

Meg Jernigan has been writing for more than 30 years. She specializes in travel, cooking and interior decorating. Her offline credits include copy editing full-length books and creating marketing copy for nonprofit organizations. Jernigan attended George Washington University, majoring in speech and drama.