How to File Folders Alphabetically

Things You'll Need

  • Alphabetic separators
  • File folders
  • Pen or marker

Many offices create multiple file folders each day to keep track of clients or patients. All of these files must be stored in a way that make it easy to find the next time. Alphabetic filing is the simplest and most traditional way to store files. Keep alphabetic files in your office and you will have no problem retrieving information every time your patient walks in the door.

Insert alphabetic separators into your file drawer. These separators are generally large file folder holders with a tab that sticks up on top of the folder. Each tab will have a letter of the alphabet on it, indicating which file should be stored within its space.

Separate out your folders into piles. Each pile should be for one letter of the alphabet. All the files beginning with the letter "A" should be in the first pile, and so on.

Organize the "A" pile in alphabetical order. Begin with the second letter in the file name. Place the "Aa" files first, then the "Ab" files, then the "Ac" files and continue on in this manner. If there is more than one file with a two-letter designation, put them in order according to the third letter in the name.

Place all of the "A" files into the "A" file holder in the file drawer. Do the same with all of the other letters of the alphabet and their corresponding files.

Add any new files in the correct place in each file holder. Do not simply place new "B" files in the front in the "B" holder. Search through the file in order to find the correct place in the collection of files to store the new file.


Make sure to mark each file folder using the same system. All patients must have last name and first name, or all house listings filed by street name, for example, are good ways to mark each file.