How To Start A Bullet Journal: 45 Gorgeous BUJO Ideas + Tools To Get Organized

 How to start a bullet journal and what is a bullet journal?

So you want to learn how to start a bullet journal.

If you are clueless about bullet journals, today is the day you’ll discover something new (and absolutely gorgeous).

A bullet journal is basically a space where you get to organize everything from your thoughts to your daily schedule to your meal planning, there are an infinite amount of ways to go about creating one.

Related: FREE Printable Bullet Journal Habit Tracker PDF

Sometimes what we lack is a tad bit of inspiration (which this post will take care of in the next few minutes!).

I loved putting together the bullet journal ideas infographic to the right and I’ll probably spend time (way too much time actually) making more in the future to inspire more BUJO ideas.

Update: I create a FREE bullet journal habit tracker printable that you can download and use right here. 🙂

What is a bullet journal?

Put simply, the point of a bullet journal is to help you organize your everyday life. While it can be likened to a planner, it is SO much more flexible than one because you get to design a bullet journal that works for you and your needs. At a very basic level, the point of a bullet journal is to help you reach your goals by organizing your life in a specifically categorized notebook. In the words of the original creator of the bullet journal system, Ryder Carol, ” It helps you track the past, organize the present, and plan for the future.”

Can you start a bullet journal in the middle of the year?

You can totally start a bullet journal in the middle of the year. You can start a bullet journal whenever you want, really. One helpful thing to do is to take inventory of everything thats happened pre-bullet journal in a spread specifically designed for that. Though you don’t have to, it can always be fun to take notes on everything that you’ve accomplished up til now, and things you can work on to improve.

Starting a bullet journal in the middle of the year is only a matter of dating your entries correctly. That’s about it! 🙂

Is there an app for bullet journaling?

There are many note taking apps out there that can help you reach your goals. Though lots of times they aren’t as effective as a simple notebook and pen approach that you can physically hold. If you’d really like to check out bullet journaling apps, then GoodNotes is a great option. They have built in bullet journal templates that are perfect for a tablet and more.

Related: 89 Bullet Journal Page Ideas To Inspire Your Next Entry

What is the best bullet journal out there?

First things first: you need a trusty bullet journal notebook for your ideas. Yes, you can definitely start your bullet journal with a simple wide ruled spiral notebook and a pencil.

But if you’re trying to get artsy and want to make sure the paper feels right to you when you write all over it and you have so good material to work with then you can always invest in a journal like this A5 Hardcover Dotted Bullet Journal.

It is great if you want to get started with a sturdy journal.

Don’t Know Where To Start? 

bullet journal starter printable kit for beginners

I recently published a set of organizational printables to keep you organized beautifully! If a bullet journal seems hard to start on your own, then this printable kit was created with you in mind.

The Bullet Journal Starter Kit is almost like a pre-made bullet journal. Perfect if you think you aren’t that artistic or don’t want to spend a lot of time drawing monthly or weekly layouts.

It’s a steal of 80 BEAUTIFUL pages to help keep your life on track.


Bullet journal supplies

Now, like I said, the awesome thing about bullet journals is that you get to customize them however you want, but there are always a few basics to get you started that are bullet journal idea must-haves for whenever you want to get organized and creative at the same time.

It’s important to note that you DO NOT need fancy tools to start your first journal. You can literally start your first bullet journal with a dollar store spiral notebook and a simple pen.

The tools listed below are if you are wanting to go the artsy route and invest in your bullet journaling (like these GORGEOUS pastel tombow pens!). Lots of people find the artistic part and the organizational part of bullet journal therapeutic. But you definitely don’t need fancy markers or notebooks to bullet journal successfully. ?

NOTE: If you really want to try bullet journaling, but don’t quite want to dive in and buy a bullet journal, download a FREE dot grid page and get some practice in to see how you like it! If you don’t want to invest in a bullet journal, you can always print out a couple of pages of dot grid paper and bind them together or keep them in a binder. How’s that for a bullet journal hack?

Most of the bullet journal essentials are pretty affordable if you’re willing to create an awesome journal full of organized ideas.

Related: 35 FREE Gorgeous Adult Coloring Pages To De-Stress

Dual tipped tombow pens

Most Bullet journalers swear by any type of Tombow Pens.

They are just that good, and the colors they come in are just gorgeous. Best of all they’re dual tipped, meaning there is a different size tip on each side so you can choose how thick or thin you want your line.

Now, there are plenty of other color combinations out there in terms of Tombow markers for any kind of bullet journal ideas imaginable. It all depends on what your style is and what you’re looking for. If you like these pastel bullet journal pens then you should definitely check them out!

Washi tape

Now, after you’ve made your bullet journal purchase, Washi Tape is a great way to color coordinate each section of your bullet journal. It keeps all your bullet journal ideas nice and findable.

Related: 53 Clever Washi Tape Ideas To Decorate Your Whole Life In Bright Colors!

You can do endless things with them, from creating nice little boxes, tabs, or even helping you trace straight lines. I love that they come in an array of colors so you can pick out your favorites or theme each BUJO entry.

Tombow fudenosuke outlining pens

Your bullet journal ideas kit isn’t complete without a good set of outlining pens. These Fudenosuke outlining pens are durable and don’t bleed like a lot of regular gel pens do (I’ve ruined way too many pages with runny pens to count).

These are definitely an investment, and a set of pens you can use over and over.

Sticky notes

Need I say more? 🙂 Sticky notes can be used as dividers or colorful add-ins to your bujo pages depending on what you’re working. You can use them along with bullet journal stamps to create your unique designs.

I find they are great for creating a mini calendar by using each sticky as a day and lining them up. I love these colors too! So pretty.

Learn lettering and calligraphy

Maybe you want to start bullet journaling but think your artistic skills aren’t up to par? Then you should learn some hand lettering and calligraphy with this comprehensive bullet journal book! Beyond having the bullet journal notebook as the basic foundation for your BUJO journey, the next step is learning how to bring your organized creations to life.

Instructional books like the this best seller below are great to either brush up on or learn completely new hand lettering techniques to make your bullet journal ideas look like a pro made them.

Related: 53 FREE Printables To Organize Your Whole Life

Bullet journal set up

Before you can fully dive in to your bullet journal and to make sure its a useful addition to your busy life, here’s a quick guide on how to set up your first journal.

Related: FREE Printable Planner Pages

Once you get the hang of it you can start personalizing it and adding or leaving out sections to fit your BUJO style.

Start with the index

what is a bullet journal? how to start a bullet journal, index

Now to start a bullet journal, you’ve gotta know that basics on how to set it up. You don’t have to stick to a strict bullet journal design, but knowing the basics can help make sure your journal stays organized.

You usually start with the first 2-4 pages being the Index. The index can be as simple as titling two blank pages ‘Index’  and leaving a space for you to list all the pages that come after your index along with their page numbers, which you can add to the bottom of each page (like I did above).

Then the future log

what is a bullet journal? how to start a bullet journal, future log

After you’ve set up your Index, you can set aside about four pages for your Future Log.

This is where you’ll list all the tasks you didn’t get done in a certain month as ‘migrations’. More on that later. For the Future Log, you can divide each page into three sections and label them each with the month.

This is why you need about four pages for your Future Log, because four pages divided into three sections each equals 12 spaces for the 12 months of the year. Remember that’s if your bullet journal will be set up for use for the whole year.

If you’re only creating a bullet journal for six months then only make space in your Future Log for those six months. It all comes down to creating something that works for you while working around the basic bullet journal set up.

How to use migrations

At the end of each month, as you go back and read through the tasks that you weren’t able to complete, you can mark them with a right arrow (see bullet journal signifiers below) and rewrite them into the month in the Future Log that you want to migrate the task to.

This is one of the geniuses of bullet journals because this way you make sure no task slips through your fingers. If you don’t get it done on the date you thought you would, you can migrate it and keep it as a sort of ‘memo’ in the Future Log to complete later.

genius, right? ?

The monthly calendar

what is a bullet journal? How to start a bullet Journal, monthly calendar

After you’ve set up your Future Log, then you move on to creating your first month’s spread. There are lots of ways you can do this. I’ve Illustrated a simple way above.

On the left side you can list all the days of that month to keep tasks in order, and on the right facing page you can create a list of all the tasks that need to get done for the month.

The daily log

what is a bullet journal? how to start a bullet journal, daily log

After setting up your monthly spread, you can start adding your daily BUJO entries.

If you want to keep it simple, all you have to do is make sure that you label the top of each page with the date. Then you can go ahead and start listing you tasks for the day.

The collections pages

what is a bullet journal? How to start a bullet journal, collections page

Once you’ve got a bunch of similar tasks jotted down, it’s a great idea to create a collections page. Flip to your next set of blank pages, and label them the corresponding collection. For example, I labeled the left collection page ‘Cupcake Business Tasks’ because I have a bunch of those similar tasks I want to group together for future reference.

The bullet journal key and signifiers

what is a bullet journal? how to start a bullet journal, bullet journal key signifiers

Bullet journal key signifiers help you log tasks, events, and notes quickly on your daily, weekly, or monthly spreads. Each signifier stands for something important, like ‘migration’ or ‘event.’

Congrats! You’ve learned how to set up your first simple bullet journal!

Now here’s the fun part, where you get to add your own flair, colors, and personality to your journal if you want to. You can always keep a minimalist bullet journal if that works best, its completely up to you.

Bullet journal page ideas

Now that you know what it takes to have a good sturdy set of tools for a perfect bullet journal experience (especially if you’re a complete beginner) let’s look at all the BEST bullet creations out there to inspire your own journal. Take this as your very own bullet journal index of sorts.

But first, here is a list of the most popular bullet journal spreads and bullet journal page ideas:

1. Daily tasks page

2. Bullet journal key

3. Books to read or movies to watch

4. Favorite quotes

5. Weekly meal planner

6. Savings tracker

7. Spending tracker

8. Workout log

9. Weight loss chart

10. Habit tracker

11. Week at a glance

what is a bullet journal? how to start a bullet journal

Image Credit: @Thatjournal

When I came across this bullet journal idea my jaw dropped. The color coordination is PERFECT and its just sooo nice to stare at (imagine creating a log like that for yourself).

Related: Bullet Journal Key- Here’s How To Keep Your BUJO Perfectly Organized

This is an awesome meal planning layout is perfect if you’re trying to be more organized when it comes to what you eat. It’s also great if you have a big family, and can help you keep track of expenses (and have fun creating it while you’re at it). Layout ideas for these types of bullet journal spreads are truy endless, which is one of the reasons why they’re so fun to make.

what is a bullet journal? how to start a bullet journal

Image Credit:

This one from Sarah’s Chapter almost looks like a bullet journal print out its so symmetrical and nice to look at. 🙂

I love the colors she uses for the flowers and it’s a great bullet journal idea if you’re trying to get a bigger picture look at each month. It’s also perfect for spring themes BUJOS.

Image Credit: Aka.Sinting

If tracking is definitely your thing then this bullet journal spread is the perfect one for you! I can see how it could be usable as a weekly or even a monthly bullet journal spread for all sorts of things in your life.

This bullet journal design caught my eye from the start because of the time blocking format. It’s a list type of layout and I’m a sucker for a good list. I also love how colorful it is. It goes on to show that you don’t have to have major artistic skills to start a BUJO. A ruler, some straight lines, and some color will do just fine!

what is a bullet journal? how to start a bullet journal

Image Credit:

This bullet journal idea is a great example of how you don’t ned absolute structure to succesfully create a spread/layout that works for you and still keeps you organized.

I love how it uses the dotted paper to make sure here lists are generally neat and tidy.

what is a bullet journal? How to start a bullet journal- best bullet journal notebook

Image Source: @Bujo_nina

I like to think of this one as the perfect bullet journal idea for a minimalist. There isn’t too much going on in the page that it’s overwhelming but it still manages to look like a beautiful piece of art.

I love the blue tone of the flowers and the nice touch of playfulness they can add to an otherwise plain calendar spread.

what is a bullet journal? how to start a bullet journal bill tracker

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If you’re looking for a bullet journal bill tracker I can’t think of any other one that will do for inspiration than this one. It’s so clean and put together. You definitely won’t miss a due date with this BUJO idea. It’s a genius bullet journal idea organization idea if you ask me.

what is a bullet journal? How to start a bullet journal- best bullet journal notebook

Image Source: @Mylittlejournalblog

Oh, watercolors! They’re a great way to make sure your bullet journal has a bit of artistic personality to it. It can also be so stress relieving to create an organized layout that includes lots of color and careful illustration.

I absolutely love the watermelon colors.

what is a bullet journal? how to start a bullet journal

Image Credit:

Here is yet another beautiful idea for a bullet journal habit tracker. It’s a great way to measure what you are and aren’t doing enough of (like keeping off social media and other time-consuming habits).

what is a bullet journal, how to start a bullet journal

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I really can’t think of a more perfect way to track ll of your diet and exercise progress than with a daily bullet journal spread (or even a weekly bullet journal spread an work too).

This one is a perfect example of an endless list of BUJO ideas!

what is a bullet journal, how to start a bullet journal

Image Credit: Unknown

This bullet journal idea reminds me of the Google calendar spread that you can use online. It’s an organized and pretty way to make sure you’re making it to all your appointments on time and not overlapping meetings.

In terms of awesome bullet journal ideas, this one makes it into my top five bullet journal ideas.

what is a bullet journal, how to start a bullet journal

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Can we take a minute to gawk at the hand lettering of this BUJo spread?? It’s simply beautiful and you can tell they used nice pens to make it all happen.

I love the flower in the corner because it adds a lot more personality and colors!

what is a bullet journal, how to start a bullet journal

Image Source: Breeeberry

Here is another beautiful weekly spread by Breeeberry. The color combination is absolutely gorgeous. And it goes on to say that you don’t need to be an absolute artist to make your bullet journal creations nice and neat. With some bullet journal supplies like bright colors and a ruler for straight lines, you can be well on your way to bullet journal awesomeness.

As a side note, you can always make your own bullet journal and create your own bullet journal stamps. You don’t necessarily have to buy the bullet journal notebook if you can’t quite afford it.

what is a bullet journal, how to start a bullet journal

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I still can’t decide between all of these but this one is definitely one that stands out to me as a favorite on the bullet journal ideas list. It’s a beautiful bullet journal monthly spread.

I love the exact edges each section had and how they’ve been carefully outlined. If you notice, they use grid paper, which is another great alternative to dotted paper that you can use to bullet journal.

That’s especially true if you love tracking.

 what is a bullet journal, How to start a bullet journal- best bullet journal notebook

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I love the neon pink and yello of this spread. It goes on to show that the combinations are endless and there is absolutely no limit with what you can do with bullet journals. A bullet journal for work tasks can be a great way to destress while keeping on top of your daily duties.

This one especially reminds me of a planner.

what is a bullet journal, How to start a bullet journal- best bullet journal notebook

Image Source:

Here is another great example of how you can use grid paper successfully create a bullet journal weekly spread. It also shows how you can use sticky notes to add a special touch to the page.

Bullet Journal Weekly Spread // These tips and tricks will help make your move into a new bullet journal feel seamless and stress-free, even in the middle of the month!

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I absolutely LOVE the strong colors in this one, it makes the whole layout stand out! This calendar type bullet journal idea is another great way to organize yourself.

You’re basically creating your own planner in a way (and in the colors) that work for you. It’s absolute BUJO bliss. 🙂

what is a bullet journal, how to start a bullet journal

Image Source:

I love this ‘NO Hustle list’ idea. It helps you to slow down and reminds you to take care of yourself better by napping, stopping to meditate and pray, and just taking in the moment.

This is a great mental health bullet journal idea spread for sure.

I love the floral accents of this weekly journal spread. I still haven’t made up my mind if I like monthly bullet journal planning or weekly bullet journal planning.

Both of them have their pros and cons but the best part is that I get to artistically express myself and de stress.

When it comes to original bullet journal ideas, this one blew my mind. I love the scaley mermaid type of accents it has.Doesn’t it make you just want to keep staring at it?

I can’t even imagine wanting to write anything on there, I’d probably want to frame it, ha. 🙂

This buller journal spread has a ton of awesome things in it I don’t even know where to start. I love the colorful border and the flowers ( I think they were cut out?)

I love how everything is snug in it so next time you look through your journal its almost like an adventure since you’ll be surprised by all the things you find written.

Now, not every page has to have some sort of organizational theme to it, take a whole page and fill it with an awesome illustration, like ‘Yu Bullet Journal’ did here!

It’s a breath of fresh BUJO air and a nice way to add meaningful art to your bullet journal.

Here’s yet another way to use watercolor in a creative way. It’s also where a pair of sticky notes would come in handy too.

I love how each color blends into each other and creates a nice soft background to organize all your thoughts on. Pure BUJO genius.

Wanna coordinate all the colors you own? There is a BUJo spread for that, haha.

This is still another way to get organized and let out your creativity. I love how everything is nice and straight.

I really like the white space in this bullet journal and how it makes everything look even prettier. When it comes to trying out bullet journal ideas, this is one to try for sure.

It’ll give you a better idea of how space can work to your advantage when getting BUJO organized.

Isn’t this December spread the prettiest? I love how each section is divided by numbers (you’ll miss it if you don’t look close). This specific bullet journal spread is by my fellow BUJO friend Rachel at Planning Mindfully, who has a whole blog dedicated to creating and maintaining your own bullet journal.

You should definitely check her Instagram and blog out for more gorgeous bullet journal inspo!

AREN’T BUTTERFLY BUJOS GORGEOUS?! Sorry, I just had to shout that. But they are, I’m not sure if they are watercolored it but hey, it’s yet another bullt journal idea to inspire your own creations!

Tired of drawing the same old things on your bullet journals? Create some bubbles, they look easier to make than they are but with some practice you can start filling your BUJO with bubbles!

Here is a bullet journal idea for all my vintage loving friends. This spread reminds me of like fall and the 70’s for some reason ( I think its the colors).

The image is so nice and I love the hand drawn flower in it!

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New weekly. ????☕? Inspo: Pinterest

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⭐DAY 2: make a self love bingo:⭐ do you like playing bingo? . . Here goes my second entry for the #20before2020challenge ? it was so much fun thinking of different activities to do! The idea of this bingo is to finish it before 2020 begins! I’m excited to see some entries, remember to use the hashtag so I can share them! . . I’ll give a shoutout in my stories to whoever guesses which is my favorite hobby by looking at this bingo ? . . #art #planner #aesthetic #bulletjournal #bulletjournalist #bulletjournalideas #bulletjournalinspo #bulletjournalspread #bulletjournaladdict #bulletjournalingcommunity #bulletjournalcatalog #bujo #bujoinspiration #bujoideas #stationery #stationerylover #studygram #studymotivation #handwriting #notebooktherapy #blog #medlife #medstudent #bujotripgroup #digitalart #smallpicassos #zbeesgroup

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▪️Werbung / Ad▪️ ___________________________________ D E C E M B E R C O V E R P A G E ✨ Slowly the ‘pre-christmas-season’ starts. So here’s my coverpage for december. Quite early this time – at least for me? Spreaking of ‘early’ – do you already have all christmas presents? ________ Langsam aber sicher fängt die Vorweihnachtszeit an. Passend dazu gibt’s heute mein Cover für Dezember. Für meine Verhältnisse sogar ziemlich früh ? Apropos früh: Habt ihr schon alle Weihnachtsgeschenke? ___________________________________________________ #bulletjournal #coverpage #bulletjournaling #monthlycover #bujo #bujojunkies #monthlyspread #bulletjournalgermany #bulletjournalinspiration #planneraddict #bujolayout #bulletjournalcollection #bujoideasrepost #bulletjournalss #christmaswreath #bulletjournallove #bulletjournals #handlettering #bujobeauty #christmaslettering #bujodaily #bujoinspire #bujospread #bulletjournalideas #plannercommunity #bulletjournalspread #bujolove #showmeyourplanner #bujocoverpage

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“Christmas is not a season, it’s a feeling” • Feeling blessed!

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Sorry I didn’t post yesterday team, it was my birthday so I was celebrating with some friends ? here’s my social media log from last month though; wasn’t very consistent towards the end of the month!

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“>Oct 11, 2019 at 11:00pm PDT

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currently watching all of the Christmas episodes of the office and Christmas Party wins every time ?

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Weekly spread!!?? 2nd December to 8th December!! . This weeks spread is not a lot, I think I didn’t have a lot of time doing spreads since I’m not at home most of the time that week to perfect it.?? Therefore, this isn’t my best one? . Recently I’ve been thinking a lot about my style and felt conflicted about my ability to do art in my bujo, I’ll try not to think too much about it but it’s been affecting me in quite some ways? . #bulletjournal #bujo #bujoloversnl #bulletjournalideas #bulletjournaljunkies #bulletjournallove #bulletjournals #bulletjournaljunkie #bulletjournalcommunity #bujo #bujoweeklyspread #bujoinspiration #bujoideas #bujoinspo #bujoweekly #bujoaddicts #bujospread #study #studyblr #studygram #journal

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So this isn’t really a bullet journal entry but I found it and thought it’d be a great way to end this bullet journal ideas list. Check out the Instagram for more gorgeous illustrations ( I probably stayed scrolling for a little too long).

Bullet journal ideas are endless

I think I’d break my site if I tried to include all the awesome bullet journal ideas I found online. Hopefully, this list inspires you to start your own and it takes the anxiety away from actually starting your own BUJO.

Whether you choose to start with a legit bullet journal dotted notebook or just a cheap bullet journal, the key is starting and making it a habit. There is plenty of inspiration to take away from his beautiful list of bullet journal collections.

You definitely don’t need a fancy notebook to learn how to start a bullet journal the right way.

Was there a bullet journal idea that stuck out to you the most? One that you’ll try on your own journal? A bullet journal discount I should know about? Make sure you let me know.

19 thoughts on “How To Start A Bullet Journal: 45 Gorgeous BUJO Ideas + Tools To Get Organized”

  1. love love love it.., used for these bullet journal ideas, but thats digital journal not paper one..

  2. I just got a bullet journal, and it has been keeping me very organized. Your ideas are really helping me. Thanks!

  3. Hay man, I am passionately into posts on your site. They are structured clearly, easy to digest and memorize, despite English being my 2nd language. All the best.

  4. It’s so great that your daughter is getting you into bullet journaling! It’s the best for organizing and getting peace of mind. Really, it doesn’t matter how fancy you make it (lots of people opt to be ‘minimalist’ bullet journalers) as long as you create it in a way that works for you and your needs. I’m glad the ideas rounded up from other fellow bullet journalers helped inspire you. Good luck!

  5. My daughter has been doing a Bullet Journal for several years now, and now she’s trying to get me started. Hers looks so pretty with all the colors and different ideas, that I’m being really intimidated by it, since I know mine is never going to look that nice! Going over your ideas has helped me come up with a few ideas of my own on how to get started, and the “necessities” I should include. Mine may be a lot simpler than hers, but I really think it will help me get everything more organized in my life, and that’s something I badly need! Thanks for your ideas!

  6. Thanks for all the concentrated setup help. Been gathering examples & ideas for 3 months & studying the process. Now into the actual organization & setup. I’ve taken a batch of notes & Ideas from this post, thank you. Not sure how pretty it will be, but it will be me.

  7. Wow..i love this post. Thanks for sharing! I learned quite a bit about bullet journaling. I am a plannet mom but wouldn’t mind starting a bullet journal as well!

  8. Hi my dear,
    There is one spelling mistake: Headline: Here is how to keep Bujo perfectly…
    After: Layout ideas…are truly endless.
    You typed truy.

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