File folder

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Image 1: Set-up folder with 45 mm spine width, cloud marble lids, glued-on spine label, grip hole and space-saving slots.

A file folder or ring binder is used for the orderly combination and storage of laterally perforated single sheets with the help of separable metal rings, whereby the sheets can be inserted and removed individually, even afterwards, and therefore according to freely definable criteria (e.g. chronological , alphabetical , thematic) ) sort. There are also various uses such. B. to store floppy disks and CDs. The main difference compared to the traditional lacing of files, which is also widespread, is the possibility of easy subsequent addition or removal of individual pages without binding the files having to dissolve altogether.

Layout and function

Fig. 2: Ring mechanism with operating lever and clamp (tip clamp).

A folder consists initially of sturdy cardboard , which is divided into a front and a rear cover and a folder spine by means of two kinks and can be opened and closed like a book (see Fig. 1). The cardboard is usually laminated with paper (design often in dark gray cloud marble) or colored plastic ( polypropylene ) . Folders or folder spines are available in different colors or can be individually printed. The lid can also be provided with a pocket on the inside or outside, in which business cards, CDs or pages that have not (yet) been filed can be inserted. The lower edges of the lids are often reinforced with sheet metal .

On the inside of the rear folder cover, the metal ring mechanism is usually attached with rivets on the left-hand side (see Fig. 2). To be filed a sheet of paper, are in this by means of a punch punching two or more holes in the left margin, wherein the perforations are standardized. Then the sheet is threaded into the open retaining rings. The rings can be opened and closed again to insert or remove sheets. Common two-hole systems open and close using a lever-operated eccentric mechanism, and multi-hole systems use a snap-in spring mechanism.


For additional fixation of the sheets against slipping on the rings, a clamping bracket is used, which is also threaded into the retaining rings, then pressed onto the top sheet and clamped by sliding it on the retaining rings. In the case of files with two rings, the tip clip , which is around 15 mm wide and 130 mm long and made of metal or plastic, has two parallel wires made of strong spring steel on the underside . By pressing a rocker on the top, the wires are spread apart in the middle and thereby pressed together at the ends and clamped firmly against the retaining rings.

Folder back

The back of the folder usually has a back label for labeling, either glued on or exchangeable for insertion in a transparent pocket. A grip hole underneath makes it easier to remove the folder from a shelf or cupboard.

Space-saving slots

The front covers of most files have been provided with space-saving slots spaced apart from the perforations since the 1950s. When closed, the upper edges of the filing rings protrude slightly from the slots and are locked in place in the space-saving slot by small metal tabs. This fixes the front and back covers in the width of the back of the folder and prevents them from opening, which results in greater stability and a smaller folder width.


Image 3: Filing shelf with filing folders

In Germany and most other countries with paper in A4 format , double holes at a distance of 8 cm are common. There are also four-hole systems, for example for ring binders in A5 format or for mobile briefcases. Organizers mostly use proprietary six or seven hole systems. In the USA and Canada , where other sizes of paper such as letter and legal are the norm, a three-hole system is used (see Figure 4). Even within Europe, the systems are not always compatible; For example, a four-hole system with different hole spacing than in Germany is used in Sweden .

Most systems work with holes on the left, but there are also systems where the top of the sheet is attached to the folder.

File folders are offered in various standardized sizes. The most common folders are for A4 paper with two rings and a spine width of 80 mm and the dimensions 280 mm × 80 mm × 320 mm (W × D × H), the approx. 600 sheets with a grammage of 80 g / m² as well as smaller files with a spine width of 55 mm for approx. 350 sheets. Other common formats are file folders for A5 and 13 A4L or A6L (e.g. for bank statements ).


Fig. 4: File folders, transparent sleeves and hole punches according to US standards.
  • The grouping, the sorting and the overview of the filed files are used by perforated dividing strips or register sheets or cards with staggered protruding sections ("register tabs"). Adhesive notes specially designed for use as tabs are also available in stores . Tabs made of solid material with tabs arranged on the right are usually used for a rough subdivision, further tabs protruding to the right or above provide access to individual files or groups of files. Within the subdivisions, the respective documents are stapled in the file folder, if necessary in a transparent cover with a perforated edge. For the removable grouping of files in the file folder, clip- on filing strips and perforated loose-leaf binders may be used.
  • Folders of so-called loose - leaf collections are not used to collect files. References to extracts are used in internal administrative processes in quick stitchers passed.
  • The filing carousel is a stylish storage solution , especially for offices with customer contact.
  • In order to avoid holes in documents and for better protection, you can put them in transparent sleeves that have their own holes.
  • In private households , current documents may be kept in one or a few easily accessible files, archived documents sorted by topic and / or year in less accessible rooms, e.g. B. in basement rooms. According to a survey by BITKOM, German citizens store an average of seven files with contracts and bills at home. Extensive collections year-based documents (such as bank statements , pay stubs and -jahresübersichten, tax returns with associated evidence, job references , certificates, educational certificates and certificates, medical records) are often in file folders or hanging files housed -Aktenschränken. Important lasting documents (such as passports , patient ID cards , family register , securities . Such as savings accounts and insurance policies , wills , Testament , overviews) are often in lockable document boxes or in deposit boxes kept; the BKK recommends keeping a handy document folder for the most important documents .


The folder in use today was invented in 1886 by Friedrich Soennecken from Bonn , who also invented the associated hole punch . The folder was further developed to its current form by Louis Leitz in his company of the same name in Stuttgart-Feuerbach . The Göttingen entrepreneur Emil Mehle created a similar file folder with different details and received a patent for it in 1905. "MEHLE" folders were widespread across Germany. In addition to them, Erich Kraut was also involved in the development of the files with the ELBA company in Wuppertal . In 1953 he patented the space-saving slots. In Switzerland, files were first produced in 1908 by the Biel writing books and paper goods factory (later Biella ), which was founded in 1900 . The Herlitz AG in Berlin produced in 2007 more than 90 million letter files, making it the world leader in the production folder. In 2005 Leitz presented a new lever mechanism in which the lever can be opened by 180 ° so that the opened lever no longer blocks the left half of the ring.

  • Leitz folder is also used as a generic name in Germany . "Letter folder" is also used in sales.
  • Federal files have also been used for file binders in Switzerland since 1908. Biella only registered the term as a trademark in 1989.
  • In Austria , instead of the Leitz folder, the Bene folder has changed from a brand name to a colloquial generic name.

See also

Web links

Commons : File binders and ring binders  - collection of pictures, videos and audio files
Wiktionary: File folder  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

Individual evidence

  1. 3-ring binder specs . ehow, accessed on September 11, 2014.
  2. Early cleaning: These documents must never be in the shredder. Welt online, March 10, 2014, accessed April 5, 2014 .
  3. Hamelin GmbH: ELBA in the 1950s. In: Elba. April 12, 2017, accessed December 9, 2019 (German).
  4. Who invented it? Office classics as reflected in the times. Episode 10: The file folder. In: Das Büro 4/2010. Retrieved December 9, 2019 .