Notebook Tabs Still Allowed?

One of our team members recalls reading somewhere in a VEX update or document last year that VEX frowns on the use of tabs to draw attention to specific entries in engineering notebooks now. Does anyone else remember seeing this? If so, do you know/have the official document this guideline came from? Typically my kids know more of the nuanced rules than I do, but I’d like to see this one in writing.

I’m not aware of this. I have judged at four events this season and this has never been raised as an issue.

editted: That being said, the judges’ guide is the ultimate authority on this. I can be found here: I haven’t scoured the judges’ guide, but can’t recall ever seeing tabs addressed.


my team uses different colored tabs to represent different things in the notebook and i see other teams doing similar things as well, hasn’t been a problem yet so im assuming they are still legal

Why would notebook tabs be not allowed “for drawing too much attention to entries?” First of all, the entire premise of tabs is to draw attention. Second of all, I would be more drawn to a notebook with tabs on them, because they put further effort into being organized and convenient for the readers, not becuase they are merely a vibrant color sticking out.


I’m thinking it is a sentiment that the students are, perhaps, hearing from the judges. I tell my students that - “if they tab everything, they tab nothing.” Tabs can easily be overdone and serve no useful purpose. In using tabs, I would recommend a team only highlight what they feel is important - and bring the judges attention to things that are in the rubric. I’ve heard judges state that they really like tabs - so it can be a positive. But just avoid overusing them.


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I don’t recall seeing anything or any reasons why this wouldn’t be allowed. But if you wanted to keep your notebook organized and just to get to a certain page quickly, you could probably use sticky notes and take them out before the tournament.:money_mouth_face::money_mouth_face::money_mouth_face:

I have never heard of any rule against using tabs. However at first glance, judges might only look at the first 10 pages. If they like what they see, then they will look at your tabs. So, make sure that the first 10 or so pages are great before you focus on tabs.

The strongest case for adherence to design process is table of content that is dated chronologically and properly titled entries. As a judge, the only value tabs serve is if it is clear that it serves the team a purpose with their project management. What judges are looking for is described in the Design Rubric.


One of our sister school team has colored/notebook tabs and they have won design twice so I don’t believe that it is an issue.

I agree with @lacsap that in the ideal world tabs are unnecessary, as the table of content and the quality of entries should speak for themselves.

However, in the real world judges don’t have time to read entire notebook, unless we are about to give you Design or Excellence at the higher level tournament. Then we would take time to make sure the award goes to a team with the best notebook.

Don’t overwhelm us with gazillion of tabs - if there are too many of them, it just makes it annoying to flip through the pages. But we will appreciate if you help us by highlighting the most important turns in your robot development.

I would be looking for 3-5 tabbed pages and will make sure to read those, but will also read few more random pages to ensure that the overall quality of the notebook is on-par.


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