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Hanging File + Manila Folder Labeling Q

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  • Hanging File + Manila Folder Labeling Q

    like many users, i place manila folders inside hanging files. but i've run into a problem.

    when the manila folders are placed in the hanging files, their printed labels are partially obscured; the tabs aren't tall enough to clear the edges of the hanging files.

    has anyone else encountered this? if so, i'd love to know how you worked around it.

    if it's possible to purchase hanging files that weren't quite as deep, that would solve the problem, i guess. but i have no idea if such a thing exists.


  • #2
    I have the same problem and would love to hear how people have addressed it. My cabinet does not allow the option of going wihtout hanging files.


    • #3
      Label the hanging folders

      I label my hanging folders.

      When properly used and labeled, it is extremely easy to see file labels of hanging folders and pull out the papers you need.

      Some of my hanging folders contain sub-categories. For these, I use the slightly smaller internal manila folders which are designed so that their labels sit below the hanging folder. I don't want to see the "2004" internal folder label until I open the "Checking Account" folder.


      • #4
        I don't label my hanging files at all. It looks too junky. I just label the manila folders. Their tabs are still visible.


        • #5
          a possible fix...

          thanks for the input. though it doesn't really solve my problem. i want to continue using both hanging and manila folders, and i like the ease of use--touted by DA--of labeling the manilas with a labelmaker.

          the only viable workaround that i can think of is to put a few staples along the bottom edge of the hanging folders, effectively shortening them. but if anyone's dealt with this issue in a more elegant way, would love to know about it.



          • #6
            I label only the manilla folders and put two or three in each hanging file. That way my hands don't hurt when I try to fit a folder back in the file (and yes, my drawer is only 2/3 full and I still have that problem...which is why I use the hanging files). That way it's still easy to add more files because I don't have to make two folders and the hanging files are full enough that you can easily see the tabs of the manilla folders and read them.


            • #7
              Originally posted by pbrav
              i like the ease of use--touted by DA--of labeling the manilas with a labelmaker.
              If you personally find hanging folders hard to label, that's fine, as long as you try it for yourself. No one is right about everything.

              Staples will solve your original problem of seeing the manila folders, but what about ease of use? Labeling them probably won't be any more work than stapling them.

              For me, I do not find it hard to label a hanging folder. Keep the tabs, labels, and labelmaker at hand and ready to go. That is the key no matter what product you use. After printing the label and slapping it on the tab (which takes no more time than slapping it on a manila folder), there is one small extra step of sticking the tab into the hanging folder. That takes about 3 seconds.

              After labeling lots of manila folders and lots of hanging folders, I just don't see the reason for the discrimination against hanging folders. Assuming that the materials needed are equally at hand.

              And an advantage of labeling the hanging ones is gaining an extra level of hierarchy.

              Maybe I just don't understand DA's rationale against hanging folders. It does not seem reasonable to me to be willing to spend quite a bit of extra time and effort to use a labelmaker -- but then think it is too much extra work to stick a tab into slots. It probably adds at least 30 seconds of overhead to print vs write a label. It probably adds about 5 seconds to use hanging vs manila folders. If absolutely the fastest creation of folders is the goal, one should just write the label on the manila folder.

              But if fast retrieval is the goal, then hanging folders with printed labels are great.

              When considering ease of use, both creation and retrieval count. Retrieval more heavily than creation, IMO.
              Last edited by andersons; 09-03-2005, 10:18 AM. Reason: editing


              • #8
                I use something called a Box Bottom Hanging File Folder (Staples has them). These file folders are specifically made to hold multiple manila folders.

                Now if you fill it too full, then it will obscure the first manila folder, but overall I think it does a better job than the regular hanging folders.


                • #9
                  hanging folders demaracate position/place well

                  The main value of hanging folders as I see it is that you have a specifically designated place for items be returned to and retrieved from, but since it is twice as much work to set it up so you need to be certain of the advantages that offers in your situation. Here are some situations where it is advantageous but the overall guiding principle is how will it work for you and meet your needs.

                  You have a known and limited number of categories and only rarely might you add another category. The categories are a set by itself that are not part of a larger and more fluctuating A to Z system. For example, all the rental properties you own. Or a teacher wants to return student's corrected homework in as way that lets the students easily find it.

                  When there are multiple users-such as every one in an office needs access to various forms and the forms need to be replenished at various intervals.

                  When putting stuff in is more frequent than taking things out and the stuff that is going into any folder within the set is somewhat heterogenous and it will be okay to take it out that way. For example, I have a hanging folder for each of the states and countries I am interested in going to. As I find clippings,maps, etc. I put them in knowing that I will only be looking through stuff on a given country or state every few years. In other words, you will know ehere to look for something whem the time comes.

                  Set up your system so that you do not remove the hanging folder itself when you want something from it. These folders are hard to manage, the hooks catch in clothing, etc. If there is more than one of a kind item or there is any risk of losing small pieces of paper, then have some type of "container" in it such as the smaller size folder with or without sides, CD hangers, or whatever. Label the "container" and the hanging folder so you know where it goes back.


                  • #10
                    Easy Solution

                    Actually, there is a simple solution. There is a type of file folder designed with a tab that is high enough to be visible within the hanging folder. The key words to look for are "guide height" in the description. They can be a little hard to find. I discovered them in the Chesapeake Office Supply catalog (pg. 739), and if you're Federal, you can get them on the GSA Advantage site. One of the better products is from Smead. Their on-line catalog, shows both letter (#10786) and legal size "guide height" folders.



                    • #11

                      thanks, steve. i figured there had to be a simple fix. very much appreciated.



                      • #12
                        Solution to Manila Folder not viewable in Hanging Files

                        Smead® Top-Tab Guide Height Folders, Reinforced Tab, Right of Center, Letter Size

                        Here is a link to buy them at



                        • #13
                          Originally posted by andersons View Post
                          After labeling lots of manila folders and lots of hanging folders, I just don't see the reason for the discrimination against hanging folders.
                          For me, the strongest argument against hanging file folders is that 50 hanging files, even if they're empty, take up a significant amount of space in my file cabinet. Skipping the hanging files and using manila folders directly allows me to put a lot more stuff in my filing cabinet before it gets over-full.

                          Originally posted by andersons View Post
                          And an advantage of labeling the hanging ones is gaining an extra level of hierarchy.
                          Assuming this is actually an advantage for you, of course. For myself, I try to reduce the amount of hierarchy and structure in my system to the minimum needed to keep it all going. Doing otherwise is, at least for me, a recipe for getting out-of-control in a big hurry.

                          Of course, the ultimate answer is that if it works for you, go for it.

                          -- Tammy


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by lritchie View Post
                            Smead® Top-Tab Guide Height Folders, Reinforced Tab, Right of Center, Letter Size

                            Here is a link to buy them at

                            Sadly Staples UK doesn't seem to do them, which is a great shame as I too have the same problem



                            • #15
                              Hi Ruth

                              Avery do a tabbed folder which is available from Viking online


                              Not quite sure if it is the same as the Smead ones mentioned though.