Posts Tagged ‘Side Tab Folder’

What is the difference between top and End tab filing? And how do you decide which would work best for your needs? Keep reading for answers to these questions.

Top Tab Filing

Top tab filing is where the tab is located on the top of the folder. This is the type of folder to use if the folder will be filed into a drawer.

If you try to put a side tab folder into a file drawer it will probably not fit.


-Most people are familiar with this type of filing.

-Using a top tab allows the indicator (name, number, code, etc.) to be seen when you open the file drawer.

-If records are going to be drop filed (no fasteners) the records may be more secure in a drawer.

-Good choice if the filing system is very small.

-Very inexpensive top tab folders are often used with file drawers which lessens cost.


-Usually need to use hanging files which add to expense and tend to break.

-Drawer filing uses more floor space than a side tab option.-More difficult to spot misfiles

-Limited choice of folder style-Risk of cutting hands while reaching into the file drawer to retrieve files.

End Tab Filing

End tab filing is where the tab is located on the side of the folder. This is the type of folder to use in an open shelving situation.


-Good choice for large file rooms.

-Using a side tab allows the indicator to be seen while standing in front of the shelving.

-Allows for efficient use of color-coding designed to spot misfiles.

-More folder style choices are available in side tab.

-Using open shelving and side tab folders allows for more efficient use of floor space.

-Reduces risk of cutting hands on folders while retrieving files.


-People are not as familiar with side tab folders.

-A side tab filing system is more difficult to lock.

For situations where a folder will filed both in file drawers and open shelving combination top/side tab folders are available.

Based on my filing system experience I would recommend a side tab/open shelving system if you have or are expecting more than a couple hundred records. Much time and aggravation will be saved by starting with the most efficient system to begin with.

What has your experience been regarding top/side tab file folders?

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