What Are the Different File Cabinet Parts?

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  • Written By: Dan Cavallari
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 26 September 2019
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The most basic file cabinet parts are bases and drawers; the base is the frame of the file cabinet that holds the drawers and keeps the entire unit stable. Drawers are the units that slide in and out of the base or frame, and where files are stored. Within the drawer, other file cabinet parts are used to keep files organized and upright. File bars and rails are affixed within the drawer, and bars are used in conjunction with specially designed hanging files to keep documents upright and organized.

Rails are essentially dividers that can be run across the drawer to separate one group of files from another. These file cabinet parts are usually made from metal, though they might also be made from plastic, as they are usually not load-bearing. Bars are made of metal and they run the length of the drawer on either side. Hanging file folders feature small arms on either side of the folder that hook onto the bars, allowing a user to keep the files upright and slide those files backward or forward within the drawer easily. Many of these file cabinet parts are included with the purchase of a file cabinet, though some can be added after purchase, assuming they are the correct size for the drawers.


Locks are important file cabinet parts for any user looking to secure files from theft or tampering. A few types of locks exist: the most common is the built-in bar lock, which requires a key to lock or unlock. A bar within the drawers will move in one direction or the other to lock or unlock those drawers. Another type of lock is the external bar, which is a tall, hinged unit that mounts to the side of the cabinet. When the bar is swung over the face of the drawers, it can be secured in place and locked to prevent the drawers from opening. A key can be used to unlock the bar and swing it outward so the drawers can be accessed.

Handles are mounted to each drawer to allow a user to pull those drawers inward and outward. Each drawer may feature its own individual lock that can be operated by hand to prevent the drawers from accidentally falling open at any point. These locks are usually not key-operated, as they are not meant to permanently lock drawers. They are, instead, simply designed to prevent drawer movement when it is not desired.


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