How to Choose the Best File Folders

Posted on October 6, 2009 by Dan Dalton

File folders are such a common sight around the office that you might think that one is just as good as any other, but that couldn’t be farther from the truth. In reality, file folders are created with many different applications in mind. Depending on what you’re storing and how you’re storing it, your file folders may need to be color-coded, reinforced, or archival-quality. This file folder buying guide from On Time Supplies shows you how to choose the best file folders.

There are 3 factors to consider when choosing file folders:

File Folder Size
File Folder Material
Tab Style
Shop all File Folders

File Folder Sizes: what type of filing system are you using?

Universal® Top Tab Manila File Folders


Standard File Folders

At 9½” high, standard file folders fit most filing systems.

Smead® Guide Height Reinforced Heavyweight Kraft File Folder


Guide Height File Folders

10” tall, guide height folders stand higher to seperate sections within a filing system.

Universal® Interior File Folders


Interior File Folders 

Measuring 9 3/16” high, interior folders are sized to fit inside hanging files.

Recommended Standard File Folders

Recommended Guide-Height File Folders

Recommended Interior File Folders

File Folder Tab Style: what type of file folder labels will are you using?

Recommended Straight Tab File Folders

Straight-Cut Tabs run the width of the file folder and are used with multiple labels and/or long headings.

Recommended 1/2 Cut Tab File Folders

1/2-Cut Tabs are half folder’s width and staggered in sets of 2 for visibility. Useful for long headings.

Recommended 2/5 Cut Right Tab File Folders

2/5-Cut Right Position Tabs are 2/5 of folder’s width and positioned on right, and suitable for most filing systems.

Recommended 1/3 Cut Right Tab File Folders

1/3-Cut Tabs are the most popular tab cut and staggered in sets of 3 for visibility.

Recommended 1/5 Cut Tab File Folders

1/5-Cut Tabs are 1/5 of folder’s width, staggered in sets of 5, and ideal for alphabetical or numerical indexing.

Note: Undercut Tabs are the front panel portion folder under the tab area. It is cut lower for improved visibility of tab title. Straight-cut tabs are not undercut.

File Folder Material: what type of documents are you filing, and how often will you retrieve them? 

Colored File Folders

Colored File Folders

Colored file folders allow you to organize your files by sight, using a rainbow of hues to keep each folder distinct.

Manila File Folders

Manila File Folders

Manila folders resist smears and smudges, and are durable enough to prevent minor tears, bursts or folds.

Kraft File Folders

Kraft File Folders

Kraft file folders are highly resistant to smudging or smearing, protecting documents fresh from the printer.

Recommended Colored Folders

Recommended Manila Folders

Recommended Kraft Folders

Plastic File Folders

Plastic File Folders

Plastic file folders are water-resistant, tear-resistant, and ink- and toner-resistant.

Pressboard File Folders

Pressboard File Folders

Sturdy pressboard file folders are ideal for files that see a lot of heavy use. 


Recommended Plastic Folders

Recommended Pressboard Folders


Specialty File Folder Features: what are the special filing needs of your office?

Antimicrobial File Folders are excellent for long-term file storage, especially in moist or damp environments.  These folders are designed to resist the growth of mildew, molds, and bacteria that can damage or compromise the contents of the folder.

Over time, the chemicals used to create and print documents can deteriorate the paper they’re printed on.  In order to preserve documents, archival quality file folders are made free of acids and lignin, which helps to prevent yellowing and fading.

Water-resistant file folders protect documents from spills, including an overturned cup of coffee, and can be cleaned with a quick wipe.

Recommended Antimicrobial Folders

Recommended Archival Folders

Recommended Water-Resistant Folders

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