To file in numerical order, start by assigning a numerical index to each file entry. The numerical indexes can be computer-generated or based on an existing number system. You could use indexes already being used as identifiers, such as account numbers or product serial numbers. Color codes can be attached to file categories too. A numerical index can be split so that several digits in an entry represent a category.
Numeric ordering of files allow for an infinite entry of records. It enhances confidentiality of files, such as in a hospital where the disclosure of patients' names is undesired. Numerical indexes also make it easier to give unique identities to items with similar names. A numeric filing system with indexes tracked by a computer system allows for easy cross-referencing through search queries or sorting.
Filing systems are not mutually exclusive, and different strategies can be used together to suit an organization’s filing needs. For instance, numerically ordered physical files can have colored spines to minimize the risk of misfiling.
One disadvantage with the numerical ordering of files is that it can’t apply when it’s necessary to quickly identify and retrieve files based on descriptive titles, such as business names or geographic locations.