Classification of files refers to the process of selecting heading under which documents are grouped or classified on the basis of common characteristics. The bases of classification are as follows:
1. Alphabetical Classification
- Documents are filed according to the first letter of either name of the sender or subject.
- Similar to words in English dictionary or telephone directory.
Advantages of Alphabetical filing
- Convenience of grouping paper by name of the company etc.
- Direct filing with no need for index i.e. the first letter will tell you where the document is located
- Simple and easy to understand even explaining to new staff
- Its possible to open one file for miscellaneous papers which can’t make up their own files
Disadvantages of Alphabetical filing
- In large systems it takes longer time to find papers
- Congestion under common names
- For large organizations ,papers may be reasonably be filed under different headings
- It’s difficult to forecast space requirement for different letters of the alphabet.
- There are possibilities of a document being filed under a different name due to differences in spelling etc.
2. Numerical Classification
Correspondence are arranged according to numbers rather than letters
This system is useful for filling orders or other items kept in numerical sequence
An index is necessary for locating the correct file
Advantages of Numerical filing
- They have unlimited possibilities for expansion
- Highly accurate system
- Cross referencing is simpler than with other systems
- The file number can be used as a reference for correspondence
- The filling index may be used for other purposes e.g. mailing lists as well
Disadvantages of Numerical filing
- It takes longer to free material as it involves two operations i.e. the recording of paper on the card index and the filling of the document
- Filing and finding in indirect
- A separate index must be provided
- It takes time for a new employee to fully understand the system etc
3. Geographical Classification
Files are divided according to their places of origin e.g. countries or by provinces in a country
File within each group are arranged alphabetically
Advantages Geographical of filing
- Suitable for companies that have several branches spread over different parts of the world, country, county etc.
- Convenience of reference where the location is known
- Direct access for filling purposes
Disadvantages Geographical of filing
- Possibility of error where knowledge of geography is weak
- Geographical location must be known in addition to the correspondents name
- Index is necessary for occasional reference
4. Chronological Classification
All documents are filed in order of their dates of receipt
Advantages of Chronological filling
- Useful if dates are known
- It provides for unlimited scope of expansion
Disadvantages of Chronological filling
- It is not always suitable
- Incoming letters might become separated from outgoing ones .
- Subject classification-files are classified according to subject headings or topics
5. Subjective classification
In a subject classification, all letters and documents relating to a subject are arranged in the same file. A separate file is maintained for each subject. The files can also be arranged alphabetically.
Advantages Subjective classification
- All documents referring to a particular subject are kept together in one place
- The files can easily be expanded or contracted by simply adding or subtracting old ones
Disadvantages Subjective classification
- Determining the list of divisions is difficult and requires someone with a knowledge of the business and its files
- Determining under which subject heading it should be filed, requires a trained and careful employee