A file storage cabinet (sometimes a file cabinet in American English) is an office furniture that is usually used to store paper documents in folders. In the simplest case, it is a drawer shell for storing items. The two most common forms of filing cabinets are vertical files and horizontal files. Vertical file cabinets have drawers that extend from the short side of the cabinet (usually 15 inches). Horizontal file cabinets have drawers extending from the long sides (various lengths) of the cabinet. In the UK, these people are also called side stalls. There are also shelf files, they are on the shelf. In the United States, file cabinets can usually hold 8.5×11 paper. In other countries, file cabinets are usually designed to hold other sizes of paper, such as A4 paper.

Structural materials

Office file cabinets are usually made of sheet metal or wood. Drawers usually use drawer slides to facilitate the opening of the drawer. Drawer slides include "stops" to prevent the drawer from being completely pulled out of the cabinet. To open the drawer on most metal filing cabinets, a small sliding device called "thumbatch" must be pressed to release and open the drawer. Each drawer has a handle that can be used to grab and pull the drawer. There is usually a label clip on the front of each drawer to allow the user to identify the items in the drawer.

Many file cabinets are equipped with key locks to prevent unauthorized access to stored files. There are two types of locks. Activate the "cam lock" with the key of the rotary lock. The "plunger lock" is opened with a key, but it can be closed only by pressing the lock body. The plunger lock allows users to quickly close and lock multiple cabinets in a short time.

Some file cabinets have a metal plate or wire structure on the back of each drawer, called a driven block. The follower block can be adjusted forward to reduce the length of the drawer, so that the folder contained in it stays upright and is located in front of the drawer for ease of use.


Horizontal file

American inventor Henry Brown (Henry Brown) applied for a patent for "a container for storing and preserving paper" on November 2, 1886. This is a fireproof and accident-proof container made of forged metal, which can be sealed with a lock. The special thing is that it separates the files.

Transverse file

The depth of the lateral file is usually 20 inches and is manufactured in widths of 30 inches, 36 inches and 42 inches and in 2, 3, 4 and 5 drawer versions. 30 inches wide (760 mm), the two-drawer version is commonly used inside small-compartment workstations because it is designed to be installed under or next to the small-compartment work surface. The logic of using 3-drawer, 4-drawer, and 5-drawer files is similar to vertical files. Unlike vertical files, most horizontal files allow files to be placed side by side or from front to back.

For letter-size documents that line up front and back, the most effective are 30-inch and 42-inch wide documents, because the maximum filing volume per file cabinet is enabled. A 36-inch (910 mm) wide document, letter-width document from front to back, has no larger capacity than the corresponding 30-inch (760 mm) wide document, because it wastes extra space.

Some users like to file side by side because they can search for index tags from where they are seated. Although the file capacity has been reduced, full-width horizontal files can accommodate this configuration.

One advantage of horizontal files is that all files are easier to access and view than vertical files because the drawer does not extend that far.

In most cases, the top "fifth drawer" of the five-drawer horizontal file is a flap door with a pull-out shelf because most people cannot enter the top of the drawer at this height.

Shelf file


A shelf file is a cabinet designed to hold folders with labels on the sides instead of labels on the top. The cabinet has no drawers, only shelves. The doors attached to some shelf files will be returned to the cabinet. These cabinets are usually 12" or 18" deep and are used for letter or legal size folders, respectively. Like side files, they are 30", 36", 42" and 45" wide, but are usually only installed in 5 and 6 height applications.

Labeled side files usually use color codes that represent an alphanumeric filing system. This method is a way to ensure that files that are frequently retrieved and returned are not lost. Finding files is easy because the color-coded labels make it easy for the human eye to see the proper location in the file system. Similarly, the wrongly archived folders are obvious, because the out-of-order color codes are obvious to users.

Enterprises such as doctors, dentists, veterinarians, police and government agencies use shelf files and folders with end tags to manage large file systems.

Various changes to traditional shelf files (intended to provide greater capacity for a given floor area) include rotating storage systems.

Technical index

In the United States, the main standard for vertical file cabinets is the Commercial and Public Institution Furniture Manufacturers Association (BIFMA) standard X5.3. [11] BIFMA has maintained a separate X5.2 standard for lateral filing cabinets in the past, but this standard has been withdrawn. These standards provide requirements for cabinet stability, durability and strength. The General Services Administration (GSA) also maintains standards for vertical and horizontal steel file cabinets, A-A-3186 [12] and A-A-3187 [13], respectively. The GSA standard defines two levels of mid-range and heavy file cabinets. They refer to the BIFMA standard for medium-sized cabinets and provide other performance requirements for heavy-duty cabinets. GSA is also responsible for maintaining standards for filing cabinets and secure containers for storing confidential materials; for more information on this subject, please see the US article on confidential information.

In the UK, BS 4438: 1969 and BS EN 14073-2: 2004 cover the dimensions and certain aspects of rigidity, structure and safety.When the drawer is fully opened, the safety standards are specifically aimed at stability. The interlocking mechanism that prevents opening two drawers at a time is not mandatory, but the employer’s responsibility under the Workplace Health and Safety Act makes it desirable. In other EU countries, the EN 14073-2:2004 harmonized standards will be approved by relevant standards bodies, such as DIN in Germany.

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