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Advantages & Disadvantages of Traditional File Organization

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Traditional paper filing has been largely replaced or aided by file storage in computer databases. There are advantages and disadvantages to traditional filing. Although paper files are at your fingertips and easily accessible, they also take up a large amount of space and waste paper. Determining whether a traditional filing system is right for you depends on your business. Legal firms and companies that hold medical records might find that their files change or grow so quickly that traditional paper filing is the only way to keep up with daily developments.

Easy to Access

Traditional file organization is easy to access. Files are physically in a central location. If you can't find something, you can spend as long as you need going through each file until you find exactly what you're looking for. The ability to see, touch and read your files whenever you need to may help you think about how to innovate aspects of your business.

Easy to Understand

Traditional filing systems are typically easy to understand. Files can be arranged in several ways, including alphabetically, by topic or skill sets, numerically, by date, by location or in order of importance. Even if you don't initially understand the filing system being used, you can figure it out by going through the files and paying attention to their defining factors.


On the other hand, traditional paper files have been replaced in many organizations with computer filing. More companies are scanning and downloading their files into office computers. With this method, workers can find files and upload them instantly with search database software, saving time and increasing productivity.

Difficult to Protect

Traditionally organized files are difficult to protect. Fires or other natural disasters can destroy files, which may result in lost business. Backing up traditional files is time consuming, and takes hours of copying, labeling and re-filing.

Lack of Space and Efficiency

Traditional file organization can get out of hand. The number of files to organize grows with your business; it can be a pain in the database to find space for all that paperwork. Filing items efficiently can also become a challenge.


Oubria Tronshaw specializes in topics related to parenting and business. She received a Bachelor of Arts in creative writing from the Santa Fe University of Art and Design, and a Master of Fine Arts in creative writing from Chicago State University. She currently teaches English at Harper Community College in the Chicago area.

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