Types of filing : traditional and modern

Types of filing system


1. Traditional system

It is old method of filing. It is used in small and medium scale organizations. There are 4 types of traditional filing. They are


A. Wire fling

It is also known as spike filing. It is the oldest filing method. In this method a piece of wire is fixed in wooden stand and that stand is kept on table or hanged somewhere. The letters and documents are inserted inside the spike. Whenever letters and documents are required for reference all subsequent letter are taken out. It used to be used in banks, retailer shop, hospitals etc.


Advantages of wire filing

  • It is very simple
  • It is cheapest method.
  • It uses less space
  • It uses less time


Disadvantages of wire filing

  • Used only in small and medium scale organization
  • Limited number of documents can only be filed
  • The documents are not protected by fire, dust, water etc.
  • It is inconvenient
  • There is possibility of leakage.

B. Pigeon hole filing

This filing is also known as docket filing. A small cabinet is used for filing. The holes look like pigeon hole and each hole is given alphabet label. Letters and documents are kept into related holes. It is usually kept in post office. Here, the unnecessary files are destroyed.


Advantages of pigeon hole filing

  • It is simple and easy
  • It protects files from dust and water.
  • It is economical
  • It takes less time


Disadvantages of pigeon hole filing

  • It is only suitable for small organization
  • The cabinets are small
  • Only limited number of documents can be kept
  • It is difficult to keep old records


C. Cardboard filing

It is one of the popular traditional methods of filing. In this, a thick cardboard file and folding sheet are placed one upon another. The two ends are tied with each other with the help of rubber. The papers are kept in chronological order. It is used for few transactions. The files can be kept in cabinet for protection


Advantages of cardboard filing

  • It is simple and easy
  • It is economical
  • It helps in fast recording of documents
  • It requires less space


Disadvantages of cardboard filing

  • It is useful only for few records
  • It needs cabinet for protection
  • It is time consuming
  • There is chance of loss of documents

D. Box filing

In this filing method, boxes are made up of wood or cardboard. The spring clips are fixed inside the box to hold papers. Whenever letters and documents are required for reference all subsequent letters are taken out. The documents are kept chronologically one upon another.


Advantages of box filing

  • It is simple and easy
  • It protects the documents from fire, dust, insects, water and so on.
  • It is cheap
  • It is convenient


Disadvantages of box filing

  • The spring becomes very loose because o constant use
  • Sometimes papers cant be held properly
  • It is difficult to locate documents timely.

2. Modern filing system

Filing system is very simple. Traditional system of filing didn’t fulfill the requirement of the business. So it has been replaced with modern filing system. Modern filing system is the improvement of traditional method of filing. It can be classified into 2 types. They are

A. Horizontal filing

In this system, the documents or letters are chronologically placed in folders one upon another in a horizontal way. It is of two types. They are

I. Flat file

It is made up of cardboard or thick paper. Each flat file is attached with a pair of metal clips or laces on the left hand side of it to tightly hold the papers. Pair of holes is made on the left hand side of the paper using a punching machine. Then the papers are inserted into the clips or laces and the clips are locked or the laces are tied up to tightly hold the papers. The papers are chronologically placed one upon another in a flat position in a file.


Ii. Arch level file

It is made up of cardboard or thick plastic. The metal arches are made for holding papers or documents. Pair of holes is made on the left hand side of the paper using a punching machine. Then the papers are inserted into the arches and the arches are locked to tightly hold the papers. The papers are chronologically placed one upon another in a flat position in a file in alphabetical order. In this papers can be taken out or inserted without disturbing other papers.

Advantages of horizontal filing

  • It is simple to understand and easy to operate
  • The papers are chronologically placed in alphabetical order which helps in easy location of documents
  • The documents are protected by fire, dust, water etc
  • It requires less space


 Disadvantages of horizontal filing

  • The files are kept one over another so they are difficult to locate.
  • It is time consuming.
  • It is difficult to take papers out and insert them in.
  • It has less expansion and flexibility.


Vertical filing:

It is the most popular type of filing in modern offices. In this method, documents are kept on upright position in especially pre prepared folders or files. The folders or files are made up of cardboard or papers which are folded in the middle to hold the documents in them.  Documents are placed in a chronological order without punching and typing them up in a pair of clips. It requires following tools and equipments.


1. Folders

They are made up of strong cardboard papers to hold the documents. The back of the folder is higher than the front part. They are placed in cabinet and their external part is visible.


2. Cabinet or drawer

It is necessary to keep the folders properly. Folders are kept vertically inside it. The size of drawer is dependant upon the number of papers to be kept in it. Generally 5000 papers are kept in one drawer.


3. Guide cards

The files are kept in a drawer of filing cabinet. A guide cared is placed between the folders to divide the drawer.


Advantages of vertical filing:

  • It is easy to file the documents
  • It is economical
  • It is flexible
  • It provides safety to the documents
  • It maintains the secrecy of the documents


Disadvantages of vertical filing

  • It is costly compared to horizontal filing
  • There is more chance of wearing and tearing of letters and documents
  • There are chances of mixing up of files.


Suspension filing:

It is an improved form of vertical filing. In this filing, drawer containing documents are fitted metal frames in which folders are fitted with hinges or hooks to suspend the file. Here, the headings or caption are found in the folder. It is the best method of filing. It contains all the merits of vertical filing method. In this filing when the drawer is opened all files names can be clearly seen. It contains folders and cabinet which is expensive. Therefore, it is its disadvantage.


Lateral filing

It is modified version of suspension filing; it is one of the most popular forms of filing system used in modern offices. In this filing system, envelop type of folders are used which is made up of metal strip. It uses hinges or hooks that can hold papers better than shelf. The top of the folder is fitted with an indicator. It is useful for larger organization. It uses less space and folders are also quickly located. It is less expensive and can also expand its space


Open shelf filing

In this stage, high shelf is used to keep folders. The files are laterally kept in open shelves in numerical order. In some cases, files are horizontally kept in the shelves. Guide cards can be used in between folders. The open shelves may be of any height. It may even touch the ceiling of 9-10 feet. It includes all merits of lateral filing. The main disadvantage is that it lacks secrecy and safety. It is not suitable for small offices.

Have a question? Ask us in our discussion forum.