I had to print out a couple of PDFs for a research project. Each is over 15 pages long and they have been stapled. How can I hole punch them? They are so thick! Does anyone have any suggestions?

  • Two 15 page reports. A total of 30 pages?
    – paparazzo
    Feb 21, 2017 at 18:46
  • While it won't help you out of your current predicament I highly recommend using paper that has already been 3-hole punched. It has saved me hours of pain.
    – chicks
    Feb 22, 2017 at 18:57
  • 3 holes? Oh, you are American. In Europe most people use two or four holes. I would not buy pre-punched paper for printing, but I would punch the holes before stapling them together.
    – Willeke
    Feb 23, 2017 at 17:28
  • 2
    Ask a secretary at your school if there is a heavy duty three hole punch available. These are very common and can easily handle 40+ pages at once. google.com/?gws_rd=ssl#q=heavy+duty+three+hole+punch&*
    – James
    Feb 24, 2017 at 13:39

2 Answers 2


Option 1:
Printers and some large stationery stores (such as Staples or Office Depot) offer a service called "drilling". They can create perfect holes through thick stacks of papers.

Option 2:

  1. remove the staples
  2. take the top 5 pages
  3. punch holes through them
  4. take the next 5 pages
  5. punch holes through them
  6. repeat until done
  7. staple the pages again (if needed at this point)
  • 1
    Solution but not really a hack
    – paparazzo
    Feb 21, 2017 at 17:37
  • @Paparazzi Agreed. Feb 21, 2017 at 17:38

Home version of the drilling solution.

Get your papers stacked and clamp it between to boards and onto a sturdy work bench.
Mark your needed holes on the top board.
Now get a drill, the diameter the size of the hole you need, and drill through the top board, the paper and into the bottom board.

I have never seen it done but I have seen the results.
With this method you can not only get holes on the edges of the paper but all over the paper if needed, and all the same spot, guarantied.

If possible test on an other stack of paper, so you can work out what speed you want to have the drill. And maybe even which drill and drill bit to select.

  • 4
    The drill bit used by stationery stores is different from the drill bits you're likely to find at home, I suspect a home drill bit (meant for steel or wood) will try to tear the paper instead of making a clean cut. You also need to lubricate the drill to prevent burning the paper. Ordinary hand soap works. (preferably in bar form, liquid soap makes too much of a mess)
    – Hobbes
    Feb 22, 2017 at 12:42

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