Suspension File Sizes

Suspension files usually come in one of two popular but similar sizes.

What Size of Suspension File Do I Need?

Suspension File ImageThe most popular size that people use is the Foolscap size. This is larger than A4 paper and allows loose leaf filing to be easily stored without having to perfectly line up all your pages.

The A4 sized suspension files are just a few millimetres larger than A4. This saves space but means that pages do need to be aligned to stop the edges hanging out the edge of your file.

If you have a file handy, measure the width of the cardboard on the file. If it measures to 360mm (14.1 inches) then you are using foolscap. A measurement of 305mm (12 inches) would be an A4 size suspension file.

How To Measure Suspension Files

Without a file available, you can measure the distance between the rails.
  • Foolscap rail distance will vary around 390-400mm - About 15 and one third of an inch.
  • A4, the distance will be around 340-350mm - about 13 and one third of an inch.

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What Size are A4 and Foolscap Suspension Files?

Here, we have both sizes of file in an illustration. The black shows the size of the suspension file and the white rectangle is an A4 sheet of paper. This illustration is to scale.
Foolscap and A4 suspension files with A4 paper illustration

Importance of Size

It is important to order the correct size of file. Since the file is slightly larger when in Foolscap size, the runners are slightly further apart. This means a cabinet designed for Foolscap files will not accept A4 and vice versa.

Some desk pedestals allow either Foolscap or A4, however they do this by allowing the Foolscap one way in the drawer and A4 at a 90-degree angle. Although you have a choice which size of file to use, you can only use one or the other since once you have fitted one file in one size, the other size will no longer fit.

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