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Vertical Filing Cabinets

Vertical Filing Cabinets

Like all filing cabinets, vertical filing cabinets are an essential component in the smooth operation of a business. They help keep documents and paperwork organized and safely stored. Although many businesses are moving towards digitization of records, print records are still a critical part of operational and financial processes. Given how much paperwork can pile up, filing cabinets can help keep these documents organized, easily accessible, and secure.

Source carries vertical filing cabinets from Steelcase, Hon and Performance that can meet all your filing and storage needs. Keep your important papers organized and filed in vertical filing cabinets designed for functional style and choose from 2- to 5-drawer models in laminate or steel to fit into any office environment or functional space.

What is a Vertical Filing Cabinet?

A vertical filing cabinet is a particular style of filing cabinet, which is a piece of furniture that stores documents in an organized manner. Unlike lateral filing cabinets, where the drawer extends out from the long side of the cabinet, vertical filing cabinets have drawers that extend from the short side. This keeps the vertical filing cabinet compact in terms of width.

Vertical filing cabinets have rails that run along the side of the drawers, and folders are filed from front to back of the cabinet. Because of this arrangement, vertical filing cabinets tend to be deeper than they are wide and are able take a compact footprint in an office.

Purpose of a Vertical Filing Cabinet

Filing cabinets provide convenient and accessible storage of important print records. Having a dedicated space to store information in an organized manner makes operating an office more efficient. Rather than rifling through piles of paper or searching through stacks of invoices, office workers can save time and energy by knowing exactly where to go.

Filing cabinets also reduce the chance of losing important or confidential information by keeping them secure and under lock, ensuring that only those who are authorized can access them.

They also clear desks and other surfaces from clutter. Being able to file away paper and records allows workers to work on their desks or put other, more frequently used, items on their work surfaces such as notepads, stationery – and of course, their coffee (or tea, if that’s what they prefer).

Vertical filing cabinets in particular have a small footprint, making them ideal for offices that are tight on space but need certain records easily accessible.

Difference between Vertical and Lateral Filing Cabinets

The most common orientations of filing cabinets are vertical and lateral.

Vertical filing cabinets are taller than they are wide, and can accommodate one row of folders, organized from the front to the back of the cabinet. Most vertical filing cabinets are built for letter-sized paper, although some also accommodate legal-sized paper as well. They multiple drawers, allowing storage and categorization of many records. Documents are usually filed front-to-back, parallel to the drawer. Because of their size and configuration, these cabinets are great when space is limited, or if you don’t have a large amount of paperwork to store. Some offices start with one vertical filing cabinet and add more as their office and document storage needs grow.

Lateral filing cabinets are often wider than they are deep and can hold folders arranged sideways or front to back in two or more rows. Lateral filing cabinets can accommodate both letter and legal-sized paper and can come with multiple drawers, allowing storage and categorization of many records and paper sizes. These cabinets work best in offices that need to keep large volumes of paperwork on hand and are more convenient than splitting up records across multiple vertical filing cabinets.

Your decision to buy a vertical or lateral filing cabinet depends on your space and your needs. Vertical filing cabinets take up less floor space, but they don’t store as much paperwork as lateral filing cabinets. On the other hand, due to the size and weight of papers they hold, lateral filing cabinets are bulky and difficult to move. They also take up more floor space and could cost more.

Common Materials for Vertical Filing Cabinets

Vertical filing cabinets can be constructed from different materials, including metal and laminate.

Metal filing cabinets are usually made of steel and are extremely durable. They come in a variety of colours to fit into your office’s colour scheme. Metal filing cabinets aren’t considered traditionally attractive but have found popularity in offices with an industrial chic aesthetic, usually with exposed brick and reclaimed wood. They’re also a popular choice for offices that keeps their file storage in a separate room where they don’t need to blend into the design off the space.

Laminate filing cabinets come in a variety of colours and grains, making it easy to match the design of other furniture pieces in the office. You can likely find an exact match in the laminate between filing cabinets and workstations if you purchase both from the same brand.

Both materials can be customized to fit a more whimsical or unique design when modified with paint, coloured tape or even wallpaper. Because of their flat surface, changing up their look is much easier than other office furniture.

What to Consider When Buying a Vertical Filing Cabinet


Many vertical filing cabinets have a similar footprint, but their exact dimensions can differ, especially if you choose a filing cabinet with many drawers. If your space can only accommodate very specific dimensions, be sure to measure the width, height, and depth of the space to ensure that you find a filing cabinet that fits in it.

Document Size

Do you deal mostly with letter-sized paper, which is 8.5 inches by 11 inches? Or do you also have to accommodate legal-sized paper, which is 8.5 inches by 14 inches? When choosing your vertical filing cabinet, ensure that it can accommodate the size of documents you work in. If you need to file both sizes, find a vertical filing cabinet that can accommodate both.

Storage Space Needed

If most of your records are digitized and stored online, you may be able to get away with a smaller vertical filing cabinet with fewer drawers to hold only the occasional paper records. However, if you have to store a lot of paperwork, you’ll need a larger filing cabinet. You may even need multiple filing cabinets to keep all your paper records.

Drawers Needed

If you deal with a lot of paperwork that you need to keep in the office, you’ll more drawers to store everything. Sometimes it’s easier to purchase a filing cabinet with a few more drawers than purchasing more than one cabinet to hold your paperwork, especially if space is limited in your office. Purchasing a taller filing cabinet with more drawers would require less floor space than having multiple shorter filing cabinets.

Changes in Documentation Volume

Our filing cabinets are of great quality and will last a long time, so they’ll contribute to the functioning of your office for a long time to come. If you know you are going to be filing much more paperwork in the future, it’s better to purchase a filing cabinet that has more drawers than what you need at the moment than have to purchase a whole new cabinet in the future, especially if your space is limited. On the other hand, if your paperwork stays more or less the same from year to year, or if your records can be cycled through, you could get away with purchasing a size that is suitable for your current needs.


If you deal with confidential information, you’ll need filing cabinets with locking mechanisms to keep your documents safe and secure. Even if your records don’t hold sensitive information, we recommend ensuring your filing cabinets have locks to prevent theft of valuable documents that hold information about a company or its clients. Even if the documents themselves are not valuable, they could be inconvenient and time-consuming to replace if they were to be taken.

Locks also control access to sensitive documents so only authorized employees can interact with the information. For companies who have personal client information, this is essential to ensure confidentiality of that information.


Consider how long you need your filing cabinet to last, and how professional they need to look.

Metal filing cabinets show their age more easily and are prone to dents. This material is more appropriate if function is more important than look.

High-quality laminate filing cabinets can be just as strong and durable as metal filing cabinets, without being as vulnerable to dents.

What’s the Best Vertical Filing Cabinet?

Made of Durable Material for Frequent Use

Whether it’s in laminate or metal, the best filing cabinets need to stand up to the wear and tear imposed by frequent daily usage. And depending on where they are placed in the office, they may be prone to dings and scratches caused by chairs, dollies, and the occasional knee banging into them.

Ballbearing Drawer Suspensions and Vertical Reinforcements for Easy and Quiet Operation

When filled with paperwork, each drawer in a vertical filing cabinet can be heavy to move. Get a vertical filing cabinet that has supports for the drawer to make sliding the drawers in and out easier.


For confidential documents, a filing cabinet that locks is crucial for liability and privacy purposes.

How to Organize Information

Documentation and archival science is a complex field of study that applies the principles of collecting, organizing, preserving and disseminating of information resources. Entire degrees and years of study can go into understanding the categorization and retrieval of immense amounts of information.

Most offices don’t need to go into such depth, and how they organize information in their filing cabinets depends entirely on how the business functions.

Offices that deal primarily with clients and patients may want to file their information alphabetically based on the clients’ names, whereas financial institutions and departments that need to pull information by fiscal year would probably prefer to file their documents by year. A research institution may need to store their files categorically.

In the end, the best way to organize your information will depend entirely on how you use it.

Our Vertical Filing Cabinets

Source proudly carries HON vertical filing cabinets. With durability at their core, the filing cabinets are reinforced at every corner to withstand the rigours of frequent use. Available in two or four drawer styles, they can accommodate both legal and letter-sized papers.

If you’re still not sure which style of cabinet to purchase for your office or how many to get, don’t hesitate to reach out to our furniture specialists who can walk you through the process of not only purchasing a vertical filing cabinet, but how to set up your entire office.