Numeric Filing Solutions

Numeric filing is commonly used for larger systems. Government offices, courts, financial institutions, insurance companies and similar organizations have created thousands of numeric filing systems.

Straight numeric filing is probably the most common of all number-based systems. It works quite well in some locations, but can be cumbersome in others. Straight numeric filing systems are typically color-coded, illustrating all of the digits within each number. As a result, when color-coded folders are lined up, they create unique ribbons of color that allow quick identification of records.

Transposing digits is a common filing error. Color-coding virtually eliminates misfiles due to transposing, because it immediately flags the error and cues the user to correct it before it leads to problems. The system work well when the numbers are issued in sequential order. Filing departments that can rely on consistency in their numbering system find straight numeric filing workable.

Some organizations, however, do not have sequential systems. Many have random incoming numbers. For example, many organizations use a person's social security number as their filing number. In such cases, the irregularity of incoming numbers makes planning adequate shelf space throughout the system very difficult.

Sequential Numbers Work Best For Straight Numeric Systems

Constantly shifting records to make space for incoming files results in a large amount of lost time and labor - as well as inefficient access when records are being moved. This is also true of sequential systems where a large number of records - yet not necessarily all the records - are retired.

The file room must be shifted in order to retain proper sequence. With each shift and change in location, users lose their sense of file location from low to high numbers. From a physical standpoint, the disruption of the file system's numeric pattern means that all employees would need to be reoriented. After a shift of folders, the number 116,000 would no longer be found in its prior location.

End File Room Shifting Forever

Terminal Digit systems are the only orderly way to keep files based on random incoming numbers efficiently organized. Terminal digit systems accept all kinds of variations in numbers and number formats. These extremely effective systems offer many advantages to file room operations.

Terminal Digit Performance With Random Numbers

Consider the problems random numbers cause when trying to maintain a straight numeric order file. With straight numeric systems, it is impossible to accurately predict how much space to allocate to the randomly based numbers coming into the file system. Gaps caused by missing numbers result in some sections of the shelves left empty, while other shelves within the file can become tightly crowded with folders.

  numeric filing system
Jeter's Series 8800 straight numeric color-coded filing system features bold, large digits for improved visibility.

Terminal Digit Filing Makes It Simple To Divide And Equalize Folders

Terminal Digit systems treat the last 2, 3 or 4 digits in a number as a single unit. For example, the numbers 036 represent the last three digits of a longer number. The numbers 036 are then considered ending or terminal digits, and all folders ending in 036 are grouped in one T.D. section. The lowest file section possible is 000, and the highest number combination is 999. This is called a 1 000-division T.D. system because the file is divided into 1,000 groups (000 through 999).

Once all the numbers in the file are sorted by their three ending digits, the next three digits are filed in straight numeric order within their section. Each section from 000 through 999 contains approximately the same number of folders, so the file is divided and equalized for easy management.

You Use The Same Numbers, But Sort Them Differently

Terminal Digit filing doesn't re-create the numbers you use. It is simply an organizational technique that uses available numbers to divide files into unique, easily located groups.

Any Numbers Can Work Together

When two companies merge, the file folders involved will most likely have two different numbering methods. Jeter T.D. systems adapt well to a variety of numbers, so they are helpful in situations like this.

When combining file folders of 7-digit numbers with 6 digit files, those with 6 digits will be found to the left side of the correct sections, because their numbers are lower. Those with 7 digits will be to the right side of the section, because their numbers are higher.

  T.D. Systems
With Jeter color-coding, transposing numbers doesn't result in misfiles. The error is impossible to overlook, and simple to correct.

Most 1,000-Division T.D. Systems Require Only 6 Digits

With T.D. you donít have to reference an entire number. Number 291-81-3036 would be looked at as 813-036. A 6-position number yields one million possible combinations. If a number has a duplicate, simply reference the three digits normally unused to file the smaller number before the larger number. The two folders are filed side-by-side, with 282 before 291, both coded 813-036.

Reduce Transposed Digits

Using part of a number makes sorting and all other filing activities easier to accomplish. The chance of transposing numbers using 9 digits is far greater than when using only 6 digits.

Pre-Sorting Is Faster

Another significant advantage is that when you pre-sort documents and folders, you only reference the ending last three digits. With one simple sort, the material is practically ready to go into its folder. When using whole numbers, 9 or more digits may be involved which makes pre-sorting considerably more time consuming.

  Reduce Transposed Digits
A 1,000 division Terminal Digit system with random numbers

Sense Of File Location Is Immediate

Consider retrieving folder 291-81-3036 from a straight numeric system. Approximating the shelf location of the 291 file group would be difficult. When dealing with social security numbers, gaps and groups of missing numbers simply do not allow for the predictability of number location within a straight numeric file system. With T.D. it is easy to understand that T.D. shelf section 501 would be approximately half way into the system. This immediate sense of location means file personnel don't waste steps going in the wrong direction.

Activity Is Equally Distributed Throughout The File Room

Another advantage of T.D. filing is that it spreads filing activities equally throughout the file room. Typically file folders with the newest, most recently issued numbers have the highest file activity. Straight numeric systems cluster activity around these new files. But T.D. systems spread higher, most recent numbers throughout the sections. This means filing staff is not constantly at the same shelves trying to retrieve or file documents.

Equalize Work Assignments

T.D. systems also enable filing work to he assigned clearly and equally. In a 1,000~division system, one file clerk could be assigned T.D. sections 000 through 499, and another assigned to T.D. sections 500 through 999. Each file clerk would have the same amount of file folders. Document filing, file folder pulls and other activities would be practically equal. With mobile systems, each worker is responsible for distinct ranges and aisles.

  Terminal Digit system
A 1,000 division Terminal Digit system containing numbers of 5 and 6 digits.

T.D. Performs In Mobile Systems

The location of T.D. sections never changes. You can always count on them to remain in the aisles to which they were first assigned. This makes T.D. filing very helpful in organizing file space in mobile systems. It is troublesome and time-consuming to open a mobile aisle only to find the number you thought was in that section has overflowed into the following range. But with T.D., file section 036 stays in the same location, even after file purges. You save additional time by converting your folders to T.D. before moving them into a mobile system. Limited aisle access makes conversion after files are placed in mobile units far more difficult.

Planning Shelf Space For T.O. Filing Made Simple

To determine the physical shelf space required, just take your total file room space and divide it into 1,000 T.D. sections. If your file room contains 1,050 shelves, each file shelf section would contain one T.D. group. Shelf number one would be 000, and the last shelf would be 999. The extra 50 shelves would most likely be divided and allocated equally into the other 1,000 shelves. This would allocate the file room into 1,000 equal-sized shelf spaces. If 500 shelves are available, two T.D. groups could easily share one shelf. And if 250 shelves are available, four groups per shelf could also work.

T.D. Lets You Use Maximum Capacity Of File Equipment Because File Shelves Fill Equally

Distribution of file folders is equal in each T.D. file section. So file shelves fill equally and predictably. When shelves become full, a new file room layout could be considered to add needed shelf space. Another alternative would be to retire inactive folders to a separate, inactive file area, freeing space within active T.D. sections.

Retiring Old Folders Is Easy

In many Systems the inactive folders are not necessarily those with the lowest number. With T.D. systems, the newer, higher-numbered folders can be purged simultaneously as their activity reduces to closure. Once a file purge has taken place, the shelf space awaiting new arriving folders is equalized.

Frequently, systems based on numbers issued in consecutive order are filed in T.D. sequence. In these systems, it is common practice to retire only the oldest lower numbers. If you retired the lowest-numbered file folders from T.D. section 000, space would be created only at the left of the section. To make space available for new consecutive numbers-which are higher-merely move the folders in section 000 to the left. This frees new space at the right without the need for a major file room shift.

End File Room Shifting Forever

The purging activity just described for shelf 000 would occur throughout the system. The pattern of file folder removal would yield equal results with straight numeric numbers or random numbers. Jeter T.D. Systems do the best job possible of utilizing the maximum capacity of your filing equipment.

100 Division T.D. Filing Works Well In Smaller Systems

T.D. systems can be designed to accommodate any size filing system. Those with smaller systems of up to 15,000 file folders may want to consider a 100-division T.D. system. This choice divides your filing space into 100 equal sections, 00 through 99.

T.D. Also Performs In 10,000-Division Systems

In larger systems of over 200,000 records, a T.D. system of 10.000 divisions might be considered. This system divides total file space into 10,000 shelf units of equal size. Records collect in each section by color matching like and ending terminal digits 0000 through 9999.

  10,000-Division Systems
100 division Terminal Digit systems maintain efficiency in smaller files.

The Traditional T.D. System

The very first T.D. systems had only two positions of color-coding. Traditional T.D. numbers are divided into three groups of two and the final two digits gather by their like and ending digits. These systems were mostly used by hospitals.

Traditional T.D. is similar to other T.D. filing systems but the second two numbers are also grouped by their like digits. In the example shown 06-90 is followed by 06-91. As shown the third position is not traditionally color-coded. The next group of two digits is filed in sequential order. Why Jeter Recommends A 3-3 Color-Coding Pattern

Most people today choose a 1,000-division T.D. system of filing. At Jeter, we believe that a 3-3 color-coding pattern (i.e. 654-036) is easiest to understand and use. This pattern is less complex than the double-matching sequential nature of the Traditional T.D.


numeric filing systems
This 5-position straight numeric system uses Jeter strip label folders designed to match tab colors.