After determining a filing system for managing your paper records, it is important to choose appropriate supplies. 



Folders come with tabs which appear in different locations and in different widths on either the top edge or side (end) edge of the folder.

Tabs are cut in specific sizes which also indicate their actual location on the folder edge.

Tab cuts are:

  • full cut
  • half cut
  • third cut

Although different record series may use different tab cuts, one tab cut should be used uniformly throughout an individual record series.



Folders are produced using many different weights of paper. The weight of a folder depends on its thickness which is usually an indicator of strength and durability. Manila and press board are the most commonly used materials for file folders. A 14-point manila folder is considered average in an office setting. An average folder is designed to hold about 50 sheets of paper. Folders of less than 14-point thickness are not recommended. 24-Point press board is recommended for folders with high volume and high activity. 


Hanging folders

Hanging folders are used to bring order to a drawer. They are effective only when used in the right circumstance. As hanging folders take up 1/3 of the available drawer space, they should be used only for record series with high retrieval activity.


Labels are used to facilitate identification of a folder and its contents. Visibility on the folder and use as a visual retrieval aid should be major considerations when choosing labels.


Color coding is a method of identifying file folders within a filing system. Color, when used appropriately, can make misfiles visible at a glance, facilitate retrieval, and facilitate weeding and purging. Color is used as a visual aid to highlight a record series or the date. It can also be used to highlight a specific folder e.g., vital records. Color coded filing supplies include hanging folders, hanging folder tabs, manila and press board folders, color bar name labels, color code alphabetic and numeric labels, solid color labels.