How Did Color-Coded Filing Become "The Thing" In The World Of Records Management?

How Did Color-Coded Filing Become "The Thing" In The World Of Records Management?

So back in the 50's and 60's, someone had the brilliant idea of adding color to traditional batches of files, mostly in the medical office.  That someone was TAB Products Company, based in Palo Alto, California.  They devised a rather intelligent system of adding consistent colors to associated letters and numbers, which would in turn create bands or rows of matched color along the group of files.  Here, a picture is worth a thousand words - have a look:

Quickly, key benefits were identified.  If a file was accidentally placed in the wrong location, the color band would be broken, and the misfile would stand out, allowing easy identification of the error.  Without this (color) feature, misfiles could be 'lost forever'.  Additionally, records managers found it far easier and faster to access, retrieve and replace files, learning quickly to associate the color with letters, words and numbers, minimizing the need for detailed reading of the file names or numbers.  

This method of filing, using colors to speed and improve the process, was ideal for the administration of medical files, as the operation demanded accurate and speedy access to patient records.  Soon, every doctor, dentist, clinic and hospital caught on, and TAB Products Color-Coded Filing became the go-to for all.  

It didn't take long for businesses, law firms, government offices and universities to catch on.  Today, the most well run hard copy records environments, medical, corporate and institutional, utilize these systems, available now from a wide variety of sources, and enhanced with computerized printing, automated application and other added features to make your filing system sing, dance and perform like a star. 

For more information on how to set up your color-coded filing system, visit our "How To File" section here:

Indeed, filing never felt so good...

Feb 26th 2017 Curtis Dadian

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