Establishment of a filing routine is essential to avoid misfiling and misplacement of files. It is also essential for any organization because a large number of papers bearing the record cannot be handled and preserved without any proper arrangement.

Filing routine refers to receiving papers and documents and placing them in files. It also refers to issuing files for reference and use.

Following are the steps in filing routine:

(1) Instruction for Filing:


Some responsible officer should issue an instruction for filing the papers. The authorized officer should write ‘file’ on the paper along with his signature and date. No document should be filed unless this procedure has been followed.

(2) Classifying:

The responsibility for deciding the heading under which any document should be filed must be clearly defined. This task may be done by the senior filing clerk or by the executive himself.

(3) Indexing:


The documents to be filed are then coded. The code is written on them and then they are indexed.

(4) Cross Reference:

Sometimes certain documents relate to more than one file. They are to be filed under the most appropriate heading but a cross-reference card is inserted in every other relevant file for easy referencing.

(5) Filing:


After the papers have been classified, indexed and codified, they may be filed in the appropriate files or folders in the chronological order.

(6) Follow up:

Certain documents or papers require a follow-up action, like a letter. The concerned executive put on the follow-up instructions and filing clerk prepares a follow-up slip to act as a reminder. The follow-up document slip is filed in a follow-up file along with the copy of the paper and the original document is filed. The filing clerk sends the needed document to the concerned officer on the specified date.

(7) Issue of file for reference:


Whenever a paper or a file is needed by an executive, he should send a requisition slip, on the receipt of which the filing clerk will prepare a ‘Charge Out’ slip. He will also prepare an ‘Out Slip’ which indicates the whereabouts of the file and is kept in the place vacated by the file issued. The out slip should be taken out only when the file has been returned to its place.

(8) Disposal of Dead Files:

In office the filing department should transfer the inactive files into the central store room. But when the paper has become dead, it should be destroyed according to the instructions of the officer responsible for retention of records.