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Terminal Digit Filing
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Terminal Digit Filing System by KARDEX Systems, Inc.

Kardex’s Terminal Digit Filing System utilizes ten (10) different colors for your numeric files.

The main advantage of this system is that it helps to prevent misfiles unlike any other system on the market. Additionally, unlike other systems where filing is consecutive, terminal digit filing by Kardex Systems, Inc. eliminates the need to ever have to back shift records. In consecutive numeric filing, low (old) numbers from the beginning of the file are periodically purged, which creates gaps, and high (new) numbers are always added at the end necessitating shifting the entire system backwards when the end of the shelving is reached and additional space is needed for new folders. With terminal digit filing, gaps from purging folders occur evenly throughout the entire file.

In addition, when using a 10,000 folder system as an example, consider the problem associated with misfiling a folder. In a system that does not use color, a misplaced folder could be in one of 10,000 places. With color-coded Terminal Digit Filing, if a folder is misfiled, it can only be one place and that place will have only ten (10) folders in it. This is far superior to any other color-coded system on the market, especially where manila folders with color-coded labels are used.

Also, with straight numeric filing, what starts out as consecutive numeric filing quickly becomes skip number filing (providing opportunity for errors in filing) when old (low) numbers are purged. Adding to this is the confusion of smaller and smaller bands of color that develop as folders are purged. In a terminal digit system, old and new folders are evenly distributed throughout the entire filing system, therefore, the number of folders in each color grouping in each terminal digit section will statistically be the same. This is because new folders that are created and added to the system and old folders that are purged from the system are evenly distributed throughout the entire file.

Additionally, the only way personnel can be assigned to a certain section of a consecutive numeric filing system is when terminal digit filing is used. Otherwise, the person getting the end of the file does most of the work, i.e., creates all the new folders, files those folders, retrieves folders and re-files folders. The person getting the beginning of the file only purges older folders from time to time. With terminal digit filing, each person assigned an equal number of terminal digit sections will statistically have the same amount of work as every other person, who is assigned the same number of sections.

Another advantage of Kardex Terminal Digit Filing can be seen whenever a folder is out of the file and needs to be found on someone’s desk. In a system using manila folders, every folder is looked at until the missing folder is found. In the Kardex system, knowing the number identifies the color of the folder. Therefore, 90% of a person’s search is eliminated. If you are looking for a red folder, you will not be looking through the other nine colors.

These are but a few of the reasons for using Kardex’s terminal digit system.

When working with Kardex System’s Terminal Digit Numeric filing system, it is best to break any number, large of small into units of two. For example, let us use the number "123456". Breaking this number into units of two, it will read "12-34-56". The number is read from right to left, starting with the last two digits "56". This number is referred to as the Terminal or Primary Number. The next group, "34", is referred to as the Secondary Number and the final group, "12", is referred to as the Tertiary Number. Note: The last group can have more than two digits; for example, "412 34 56" or when using a social security number, "26388 65 05".

In some instances, the number will consist of less than six digits. Should this be the case, merely add zeroes to the left of the number. For example, the number "56" would be read "00 00 56". The number "123" would be read "00 01 23". Please note that the zeros never change the numeric value of the number.

0 White   5 Brown When a file folder is created, the folder color that will be used is determined by the fourth digit from the right of the folder number (regardless of the digits on either side of the fourth digit from the right):  Therefore, if you are numbering your folders with consecutive straight numeric numbers starting with 00 00 01 as opposed to numbering your folders with a SSN or FEID number, which produces skipped numbering, you would use 1,000 folders of one color before using the next color. For example, for folder numbers 00 00 01 through 00 09 99, the folders would be white; for folder numbers 00 10 00 to 00 19 99, the folders would be red; 00 20 00 to 00 29 99 yellow, etc. (01 00 00 to 01 09 99 white, 01 10 00 to 01 19 99 red, etc.)
1 Red 6 Blue
2 Yellow 7 Orange
3 Pink 8 Violet
4 Green 9 Tan
After selecting the proper colored folder to use, simply wrap two numeric labels on the right hand edge of the folder. These two numeric labels will correspond to the last two digits of the folder number, i.e., the terminal (primary) number.

In order to appreciate what your file will look like with 10,000 folders, consider, for purpose of explanation, using 100 shelves to house your folders and labeling each shelf with its own unique number. The first shelf would be labeled 00, the next 01, then 02, 03, etc. The last shelf would be labeled 99. (100 shelves with 100 file folders on each shelf will house 10,000 file folders.)

On every shelf you would find every file folder whose last two numbers matched the label number on the shelf. Not only would this be the case but because each folder has its last two numbers wrapped on the edge of the folder, there would be no folder on any shelf whose last numbers were different from all the other folders on the shelf. If a folder were misfiled, it would distinctively stand out because its two color-coded numeric labels would not match.

Additionally, on every shelf there would be 100 folders – the first 10 of which would be white, the next 10 red, the next 10 yellow, etc. (Similarly, if a folder was on the correct shelf, but was misfiled on the shelf, it would distinctively stand out because the color of the folder would not match the rest.)

The only way a misfiled folder would not stand out would be if it were misfiled within the correct shelf (i.e., terminal digit section) and within the correct color on the shelf. And as explained, that location would have only 10 folders in it. Compare this to misfiling a folder in a straight numeric system without the benefit of color – the misfiled folder could be in one of 10,000 places.

As further explanation, consider how 100 folders are filed on a particular shelf. As an example, consider the shelf labeled 49. The first 10 folders are white of course, and the first folder number is 00 00 49, then 00 01 49, 00 02 49, . . . , 00 09 49 (10 folders total). The next 10 folders are red and the first number is 00 10 49, then 00 11 49, 00 12 49, . . . , 00 19 49; the next 10 folders are yellow, 00 20 49, 00 21 49, etc. The last folder on the shelf is 00 99 49 and it would be a tan folder. The next shelf is the shelf labeled 50 and so the process continues.

If this seems confusing it is not because as your system grows imagine having 100 guides on each shelf. The first guide would be 00, the next guide 01, then 02, 03, 04 up to 99.

Now think how easy the system is – when someone goes to file a folder for the first time, or to retrieve a folder, or to re-file a folder, all that person has to do is to go to the correct "shelf", i.e. terminal digit section (by merely looking at the two numbers wrapped on the edge of the folder), then to the correct "guide" on the "shelf" which matches the folder’s secondary number (the second set of two numbers from the right), and there will be the folder. Note: The use of 100 guides on each shelf is generally not needed because the grouping of folder colors within a terminal digit section makes the use of guides unnecessary.

Even when a system has long numbers on folders, the system still works the same: go to the correct "shelf", (i.e., terminal digit section) go to the correct "guide" on the shelf, then the folder will be filed in numeric order by the tertiary number – whatever is the number to the left of the secondary number. For example, for number 263886589, which could be a Social Security number, you would go to the terminal digit section labeled 89, look behind "guide" 65 in that section and start looking in numeric order for 26388. This beats having to look for 263886589, especially where folders have been purged, because with skipped number numeric filing, you are constantly having to reread the entire number to double check that you are in the correct location and getting the correct folder.


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