How Does an Alphabetical Filing System Work?

An alphabetical filing system for paper files works by organizing papers into folders that represent projects or categories of documents and placing those folders into hanging file folders that represent letters of the alphabet. This physical system allows for quick retrieval of desired documents without having to file through massive quantities of sheets from unrelated projects.

To make your alphabetical filing system, clear a space on a large desk or surface, and place all of your papers into the space in one big pile. Gather a few blank sheets of paper and a marker so that you can create labels for groups of documents as you organize. Now sort through your pile and place papers into associated stacks, write the name or category of each stack on one of your blank sheets of paper, and place that sheet on top of the stack it identifies.

After all of the papers are sorted into categories, place each stack of papers into a manila folder, and write the title of the stack in black marker on the folder tab. Purchase or make a hanging file folder container that has a hanging file folder for each letter of the alphabet. Label each folder with a letter, beginning with the letter A for the front folder and ending with the letter Z for the back folder. Place each of your manila folders into the hanging file folder whose letter matches the first letter of the manila folder label to complete your alphabetical filing system.