File Cabinet Dimensions (Types & Sizes)

Here’s our file cabinet dimensions guide sharing the different types for letter, legal & file folder sizes.
File CabinetsA file cabinet is a popular piece of home or office furniture with drawers that hold papers in folders, and its primary use is to store, organize, remove, and use documents.  Typically, you’ll find them in variations in the number of drawers ranging from two to five.

 At home, files can be used as a safe to store important documents, such as insurance papers, bank statements, and other pertinent legal documents. File cabinets are either for letter- or legal size papers. 

Standard File Cabinet Sizes

Height Width Depth  
Vertical File       
2 29″ 15″ (Letter) 28 ½” standard (27-inch drawer)
26 ½” (25-inch drawer)
25″ (23 ½-inch drawer)
  3 40″ 15″ (Letter)    
  4 52″ 15″ (Letter)    
  5 60″ 15″ (Letter)    
      18 ¼” (Legal)    
Lateral File 2 28″ 30-44″    
  3 40″ 30-44″    
  4 50-53″ 30-44″    
  5 64-66″ 30-44″    


Standard file cabinet dimensions

There are three types of files, namely vertical, lateral, and open shelf cabinets.

A standard vertical file cabinet has a height ranging from 29 to 60″ (29, 40, 52, and 60 inches).  Vertical files have varying heights depending on the number of drawers in the design. Two-drawer files have a height of 29″, 3-drawer files with 40″, 4-drawer files with 52″, and 5-drawer cabinets with 60″.

For the width, letter-size documents are 15″ wide, and 18 ¼” for legal-size vertical cabinets. A standard office cabinet is typically 28 ½” deep, with a drawer accommodating up to 27″ of files. On the other hand, there are also shallower cabinets, like 26 1/2-inch deep cabinets with a 25-inch drawer depth. There is also a 25-inch deep units with 23 ½-inch drawer size.

Another type is a lateral cabinet, whose size also varies depending on the number of drawer configurations, like the height. Two-drawer lateral cabinets are 28″ high, 3-drawer models are 40″ high, and 4-drawer types are between 50 and 53″ high.  Five-drawer files are between 64 and 66″ high. Widths of lateral files may be 30-44″. 

For the drawers, they can be configured in several ways. There can be one or two rows depending on your requirements, giving you more flexibility in terms of the capacity of printouts they can accommodate.

Open shelf cabinet for legal binders

An open-shelf is the third type of filing cabinets.  It is quite straightforward because its design is generally just shelves with vertical supports and used with end tab folders. It allows users to use color coding on the tabs, making it easy to organize and access papers.

For example, each year can have a unique color, allowing users to look for old documents and even move the less active paperwork to a designated area. You will normally see this type in medical offices.

2 Drawer File Cabinet Dimensions

Short and narrow, while offering nice storage for keeping important business documents or being used for a home-based business, are 2-drawer vertical files, commonly 29″ high.  It is small enough to be suitable even for a small home office.

Two-drawer lateral files, on the other hand, are 28″ high, making them suitable for tight spaces. It can be tucked away underneath to avoid dominating the overall look of a room.

3 Drawer File Cabinet Dimensions

A 3-drawer vertical file cabinet or lateral file cabinet is typically 40″ high.  This unit can help you organize and sort your documents into subjects and categories. 

Some have dimensions of between 15 and 18″ in width, 20″ in depth, and less than 30″ in height, allowing them to fit under an office desk.

When choosing one, you must check out those possessing both practicality and style while not leaving behind quality construction for long-term use and volume. 2, 3, 4 and 5 drawer filing cabinet sizes

4 Drawer File Cabinet Dimensions

A 4-drawer vertical cabinet is 52″ high, while lateral files with the same number of drawers are between 50 and 53″ high. It can be used in offices and homes for organizing and sorting papers and documents.

The dimensions of a 4-drawer file, again, depend on the manufacturer, depth, and type. For example, a 22-inch deep letter size filing cabinet measures 22 by 15 by 52″ (depth x width x height), while lateral filing cabinets can have measurements of 17.7 by 28.5 by 52.2″ (depth x width x height).

5 Drawer Lateral File Cabinet Dimensions

Even though lateral files are shallow, they are wide enough to accommodate large amounts of documents. That’s why they are chosen by offices requiring a lot of filing because it fits their limited and tight space. 

Many of these files are between 32 and 36″ wide, accommodating either letter-size or legal-size documents that can be arranged front-to-back or side-by-side.  They can have between two and seven drawers. For a 5-drawer lateral file, it is between 64 and 66″ tall.

Hanging File Cabinet Measurements

Hanging cabinet for legal and letter sizes

A legal-size hanging file typically has standard measurements of 15 3/4″ by 9 3/8″ (width x height), while a letter-size hanging file cabinet has 12 3/4″ by 9 3/8″ (width x height).

Lateral File Cabinet Sizing

Lateral cabinets come in different configurations depending on the number of drawers the user prefers. The drawers of a lateral design are wider, but they are shallow. Two-drawer file cabinets, being the smallest of all in terms of the number of drawers, are perfect for a home office and storing personal and family documents. It has a typical height of 28″.

Standard height for three-drawer configuration cabinets is 40″, while four-drawer types typically are between 50 and 53″ high. Larger lateral filing cabinets with five drawers are typically between 64 and 66″ high. For the width, configurations may be 30, 36, 38, 42, and 44″.

The different sizes give you a lot of choices to find a suitable one that works well for your given space. But a note, you must remember that the cabinet’s width isn’t the usable space’s width within the drawers. For example, one that is 30″ wide typically has 28″ of usable drawer space.

Standard Lateral File Cabinet Dimensions

Lateral files are between 32 and 36″ wide. This makes them suitable for accommodating letter or legal size documents arranged front-to-back or side-by-side.

Size Of Cabinet For Legal Size File

Legal size filing cabinets have varying dimensions based on their number of drawers and manufacturer. For a two-drawer lateral legal file cabinet, its typical dimensions are 30 ½ by 31 ¾ by 24 (height x width x depth). 

For a 4-drawer vertical legal-size file cabinet, its typical dimensions are 18 ¼ by 26 ½ by 52″ (width x depth x height).

File Drawer Dimensions

Hanging file metal cabinet with one drawer open

The standard and minimum dimensions of a filing drawer depend on the type of design, the manufacturer, and whether it is legal or letter size files.

If you’re lucky enough to have part or all of a filing cabinet, make good use of it. – 500 Tips for Research Students, Brown, Sally, McDowell, Liz, Race, Phil 

For example, a legal or letter file drawer’s minimum dimensions can be 23″ width by 16.5″ depth for the face frame, 23″ width by 17.25″ depth for the face frame inset, and 21.5″ width and 16.5″  depth for frameless.

What Are The Dimensions Of A File Folder?

File folder dimensions

A letter-size folder has standard dimensions of 8 5/8″ by 9 5/8″ by 11 ¾” (height for the front flap x height for the back flap x width). There should be an allowable variation of +/- 1/16 inch for every dimension.

On the other hand, a legal size file folder has dimensions of 8 5/8 by 9 5/8 by 14 ¾ (height for the front flap x height for the back flap x width). Like in the letter size filing folder, there must be an allowable variation of +/-1/16 inch for every dimension.

What Is The Weight Of An Office Cabinet?

The weight of an office cabinet will vary depending on its capacity, number of drawers, and whether it is full or empty. Here’s a breakdown of the weight for vertical, lateral, and open shelf cabinets.

Cabinet Type Drawers      
Estimated Weight
Vertical File Cabinets    
  2-Drawer 50 to 70 pounds
  3-Drawer 70 to 100 pounds
  4-Drawer 90 to 150 pounds
  5-Drawer 120 to 200 pounds
Lateral File Cabinets    
  2-Drawer 100 to 150 pounds
  3-Drawer 150 to 220 pounds
  4-Drawer 200 to 300 pounds
  5-Drawer 250 to 350 pounds
Open-Shelf File Cabinets  
N/A Ranges from 100 to 300 pounds
(based on size and materials)

Visit our types of office equipment for more related content.

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