Stationery Nerd Approved SealI can’t even begin to tell you how excited I am that this journal is in the world! No really… I don’t think I’ve ever been this excited to write a product review than right this very minute! Humor me and go with it, ok? First, let me just get this part out of the way. I LOVE this journal.

Go buy it immediately! It’s in stores at Walmart all over the United States (and other countries?? not sure yet). And it’s only $8.64. If you need the whole story, fine… read on, my nerdy friend!

I didn’t use to love it…

Let’s take a step back in time to the olden days of Stationery Nerd (August 2017) when the original Exceed Dot Journal review was first published on this website. In fact, if you look back at my YouTube videos, the Exceed Journal review video was the second video I ever made. (Wait… don’t go look. That video is horrible. I had no idea what the heck I was doing!) To refresh your memory… I hated the Exceed Journal. It failed the pen tests, the bleeding and ghosting were horrible. And I pretty much told you not to buy that notebook.

But wait. I’m getting ahead of myself. I’ve got big news to share first! 

I helped make the Exceed Journals better!

And a few months after I published my first Exceed review, I got an email from the folks at Exceed. It’s never a good sign when the vice president of a journal company wants to talk to you shortly after you publish a terrible review of their product. DUN DUN DUUUUN!!!

Imagine my surprise and delight when they asked me to help them improve their journals!

For the past year, I’ve been working with the fine folks at Exceed … I KNOW! I’ve been dying to tell you! I’m so sorry that I kept secrets from you. But let’s put that behind us, ok? Forgive me?

They asked me what the perfect journal would be – paper, construction, size, page configuration, everything – and then they went about making that dream come true. Bit-by-bit, we worked through the details of changing the paper, journal size, and page configuration. Over the past year I’ve received happy mail from Exceed – each box containing several journals to inspect, test, and give feedback on. Each new prototype was better than the last until finally we were happy with the new version of the journal and it officially went into manufacturing.

And now they are FINALLY in stores and ready to be loved by the journaling community. And if you don’t have a Walmart near you, don’t worry – you can buy the Exceed journals on the website. But before we go too much further, let me tell you about this amazing company.

Supporting a U.S.A. Company

The company that makes Exceed notebooks is called Norcom, Inc., located in Griffin, Georgia, a small town just south of Atlanta. Yes, folks, they are an American company, the largest paper manufacturing company in the United States, in fact. The Exceed journals are manufactured in China using socially conscious practices to choose responsible partners. From their website:

Norcom, founded in 1978, is committed to U. S. manufacturing and manufactures the majority of its products in its facility in Griffin, Georgia. For highly specialized items, or to supplement our domestic supply, we import products from countries and companies who have demonstrated sensitivity to human rights and environmental sustainability. 

We’ll dig into the details below, but if you’re impatient (like me) here are the links to the new 100gsm paper versions of the journals. There are more than just these three, but this should get you started, anyway.

Large Exceed Soft Cover Dotted Book

100gsm | 78gsm
Dotted | Ruled

A5 Exceed Hard Cover Dotted Journal


Medium Exceed Hard Cover Notebook

100gsm | 78gsm
Dotted | Ruled

Small Exceed Hard Cover Notebook

Dotted | Ruled


New Exceed Dot Journal … the full review!

Let’s get into it! Below is everything I know about the new Exceed Dot Journals (yes there several) with as many photos as I could possibly share with you. Plus, all the nerdy specs you would expect from a girl who calls herself a stationery nerd.

4 Journal Sizes

Large – 7.5″ x 9.75″
Medium – 5.0″ x 8.25″
Small – 3.5” x 5.5”
True A5 – 8.3″ x 5.8″

2 Paper Weights

100 gsm – available in A5, medium and large
78 gsm – available in small, medium and large

4 Color Options


What is new vs. old?

PAPER – In the past, all the Exceed journals were 78gsm paper with no coating (just a matte finish). However, the paper stock has been upgraded in both the 78gsm and 100gsm variation to include a slight coating on both weights – this helps to prevent bleed-through from wet inks or fineliner markers. The old paper had major bleeding with many of the pens I tested. But with the new paper style, bleeding is no longer an issue with the 78gsm paper. And when you look at the 100gsm paper, not only do you not have any bleed-through, but you also have very minimal ghosting for any of the pens I’ve tested. More on this below.

SIZE – There’s a whole new size option in the Exceed journal lineup. The A5 Dot Journal is new! However, they have kept the old size – which is now called Medium and is the same size as the Moleskine notebooks – which is slightly narrower than A5. I’m so glad that I was able to stress the importance of competing in the A5 size category because I think the new journal in this size is absolutely beautiful.

PAGE DESIGN – You’ll notice the addition of page numbers in the A5 Dot Journal, as well as four new Index Pages in the front.

LABEL & BRANDING – You can tell the difference between the old Exceed journals and the new journals by the label. There are still plenty of the old notebooks on shelves in Walmart stores, so be sure you’re getting the new version. This photo below shows the new branding — big, bold “Exceed” name across the entire width of the notebook. You can also clearly see the paper weight (78gsm or 100gsm) on the front cover label (the old journals don’t mention paper weight at all).

Exceed Journal Old vs New  

Exceed A5 Dotted Journal


  • Key Features: Great value for a quality journal
  • Size: True A5 – 8.3″ x 5.8″
  • CoverPU leatherette, hard
  • Bindingsewn binding
  • Lays Flat: Yes
  • Pages: 240 numbered pages + 4 index pages
  • Additional featuresbookmark (extra long), back pocket
  • Page styles availablelined | dotted | blank
  • Paper Quality: 100gsm | coated
  • Ghosting? Minimal
  • Bleeding? None
  • Feathering? None

This is a NEW size for the Exceed lineup of notebooks and the one I was most adamant about introducing. I’m glad they kept the narrower size but I’m super happy that we have a “true A5 size” journal with good quality paper …. and one that’s easily accessible in a local store at an amazing price. At only $8.64 for this one, you can’t beat the price.

This 100gsm paper is also available in the Large Soft Cover Notebook and the narrow Medium Hard Cover Notebook. The paper is the same and both sizes stand up to the full pen test in the same way as the A5. The photos below demonstrate the quality improvement of the paper. 

I’ve used a full range of pen types – fineliner markers, gel pens, ballpoint pens, fountain pen, water-based markers, highlighters … and just for fun, I even tested a Sharpie Marker! I fully expected the Sharpie to bleed through but I was surprised at how well it stood up to that tough test (Sharpies should NOT be used in these types of journals, they bleed through everything and you’ll be very sad if you use them in your journal). 

Exceed Hard Cover Dotted Notebooks 

Large | Medium | Small


  • Key Features: Great value for a quality journal
  • Size: 3 size options:
    Large – 7.5″ x 9.75″ (half-inch wider than B5)
    Medium – 5.0″ x 8.25″  (same as Moleskine)
    Small – 3.5” x 5.5” (same as Field Notes pocket notebooks)
  • CoverPU leatherette, hard (Large notebook is soft cover)
  • Bindingsewn binding
  • Lays Flat: Yes
  • Pages: 240 pages (not numbered)
  • Additional features: bookmark (extra long), back pocket
  • Page styles availablelined | dotted | blank
  • Paper Quality: 78gsm or 100gsm | coated
  • 78gsm Paper:
    – Ghosting? Yes
    – Bleeding? None
    – Feathering? None
  • 100gsm Paper:
     – Ghosting? Minimal
    – Bleeding?  None
    – Feathering? None

The photos below illustrate how the 78gsm paper stands up to the pen test. Even though this paper weight is the same as last year’s version of the Exceed Notebooks, the paper is SO MUCH BETTER!! It’s that slight coating they’ve added to the paper that makes all the difference.

Last year we had feathering, bleeding, and excessive ghosting – but this new paper is amazing! Yes, we have ghosting but not as bad as it used to be. And there is absolutely no bleed-through (except on the Sharpie, which we expected) and no feathering either. Wow! I’m seriously amazed by this paper. 

And the price is right! The prices are:

SMALL – 78gsm – $4.64
MEDIUM – 78gsm – $6.84 (for 100gsm it’s $2 more)
LARGE – 78gsm – $8.64 (for 100gsm it’s $2 more)

Let’s look at some pictures of the pen testing.

Hitting Stores Now!

The new Exceed Notebook line is hitting stores right now. My local Walmart only just got the full stock set up in the past couple days so you might need to check back over the next week or two if you don’t find it at your store yet. There appears to be limited stock available on the Walmart website, so grab it there if you can’t find the notebooks locally. Here are some photos from my local store (so you know what to look for). 

So what do you think?

Have you picked up your new notebooks from Walmart? Either in the store or online? I’d love to hear your impressions of the improvements. Do you have any other requests or ideas that I could pass along to my friends at Exceed that could make this lineup of notebooks even better?