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Advantages & Disadvantages of a Lateral Filing Cabinet

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Office furniture and equipment are a major expense for any business, and care must be taken in choosing functional, long-lasting pieces. Good lateral filing cabinets are essential to any office that deals with large numbers of files.


In a lateral filing cabinet, the files are side by side through the length of the drawer. This makes it easy to store large numbers of files and still be able to locate needed papers quickly, making these cabinets perfect for high-volume businesses. The long, wide top surface can be used for additional storage.

The cabinets come in a variety of sizes -- two-drawer to five-drawer models are available in 32-, 36- and 42-inch lengths -- so you can choose the ones that best fit your needs. Two-drawer cabinets are perfect next to your desk, as they can extend your work space dramatically.


Lateral files can be awkward to use. Regular file cabinets have the file folders facing out; with lateral files, an individual has to review the files from the side, which can mean maintaining a rather awkward stance.

Also, lateral files are bulky and difficult to move, especially if filled with paperwork. They can also be quite expensive and take up large amounts of floor space.

Making Your Decision

The No. 1 consideration in choosing a file system is determining what best fits your business needs. Whatever you decide on, make sure it is sturdy and well made. The best file cabinets, including lateral cabinets, are made of metal or wood and last for years.

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