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How to Choose the Right Hanging File Folders for Your Filing Cabinet

Posted on November 30, 2017 by Alyssa Ochs

Filing cabinets with hanging file folders are an ideal way to keep important documents off your desk, organized, and all in one place. They may look a little "old school" in the modern office. But this classic piece of furniture continues to help us keep track of non-digitized papers and back-up documents. However, if those papers are tossed into the cabinet haphazardly or not placed into the appropriate folders, that big hunk of metal isn't doing much more than taking up space.

Many professionals who work in offices, firms, schools, and other businesses aren't utilizing their filing cabinets to the fullest extent, simply because they aren't choosing the right folders to place inside. So, to make the most of that trusty filing cabinet in the corner of your office, here's our buying guide for choosing the right hanging file folders for the job.

Topics Covered in this Buying Guide

1. Filing Cabinet Style

While many of us have an image in our minds of what a filing cabinet looks like, there are actually a few different types that are used in offices today. For example, there are lateral filing cabinets, vertical filing cabinets, mobile filing cabinets, and even open-shelf filing cabinets that look more like bookcases. This means that the type of hanging file folder that you choose must fit with the type of cabinet you already have or are thinking of buying.

But fortunately, file folder manufacturers haven't made life too terribly difficult. Most filing cabinets are able to accommodate hanging file folders that are letter-size, legal size, or both. Hanging bars hold up these types of folders, but you may need to buy additional bars to make a lateral filing cabinet work for a front-to-back filing system, for example.

2. Letter or Legal Size Hanging File Folders

The next consideration that comes to mind is whether to choose letter-size or legal-size hanging folders. Contrary to what the name may suggest, law firms aren't the only type of offices that use legal-size folders. If you've never seen a piece of legal paper in your office and don't expect to anytime soon, you may be better off with the more standard letter-size variety of hanging folders. Also keep in mind that larger size hanging folders may be available for specialized projects.

Recommended Letter Size Hanging Folders

Recommended Legal Size Hanging Folders

3. Metal or Plastic Hooks

What sets hanging file folders apart from all the other folders that we sell is that they have metal or plastic hooks that hold them onto the file cabinet bars. Most modern hanging folders you'll see for sale have plastic hooks these days. These hooks are always included in the box, so you don't have to shop for them separately. Alternatively, hanging clamps in file cabinets may be useful for large file folder documents, such as blueprints and construction plans.

4. Number of Tabs for Hanging File Folders

Most hanging file folders have positions for either three tabs or five tabs, with three tabs being the most common. The 1/3 Cut Tabs are staggered in sets of 3 for visibility, while the 1/5 tabs are great for alphabetical and numerical indexing.

However, choosing between these two options largely comes down to personal preference. Having more tab positions may help you identify the folder you need in the cabinet more quickly. However, more tabs may also make you go cross-eyed while trying to make sense of a drawer stuffed with documents.

Recommended 1/3 Tab Hanging Folders

Recommended 1/5 Tab Hanging Folders

5. Colors for Organization

Some office workers become borderline-obsessed with color-coding, although colors may not be as important for certain types of documents. Colored folders are designed to help you designate different colors for different purposes, much more than just adding some cheer to your space. But if color-coding feels arbitrary for your line of work, monochromatic folders may be a more sensible and cost-effective option.

Recommended Color-Coded Hanging Folders

Recommended Monochromatic Hanging Folders

6. Interior File Folders

To provide even more document organization, interior file folders stand about 9 3/16 inches high and are designed to fit inside hanging folders. So, as you're shopping for folders, don't forget about this important component of the filing cabinet system!

Recommended Interior File Folders

Regardless of what type of folder you're looking for, differences in the quality, durability, and eco-friendliness of the materials may also influence your buying decision. If you have any questions about which type of hanging file folders can meet your needs, we're here to help. Give us a call at 866-501-6055 or use our live chat for some expert advice before you buy!

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Document printed / saved on 04/03/2020. Prices subject to change.
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