How to Calculate the Capacity of a Filing Cabinet (Number of Pages)

Filing Cabinet Calculator
Thickness of Printer Paper Ream (500 Sheets)    inches
Average Number of Sheets Per File Folder   
Interior Length of Drawer (Front to Back)    inches
Number of Drawers   

The total capacity of a filing cabinet depends on the length of each drawer, thickness of the filed pages, number and thickness of folders, and total number of filing drawers. If you know the values of these quantities, you can plug them into a formula to determine the total number of pages that can be filed in a filing cabinet. Since one side of a typical manila filing folder is about 0.011 inches thick (eleven point paper thickness), we assume a value of 0.022 for the total folder thickness in the calculations below and in the calculator on the left.

Step 1:
Measure the thickness of a ream of printer paper. (A ream is equal to 500 sheets.) Divide this number by 500 to obtain the thickness of a single sheet.

Step 2:
Multiply the sheet thickness by the average number of papers per folder, and then add 0.022. This gives the total thickness of a filled folder.

Step 3:
Measure the length of the interior of a filing cabinet drawer.

Step 4:
Divide the number you obtained in Step 3 by the number you obtained in Step 2, and do not round. This is the number of filled folders that can fit in one drawer.

Step 5:
Multiply the number you obtained in Step 4 by the average number of papers per folder. This gives you the total number of pages per drawer.

Step 6
Multiply the number you obtained in Step 5 by the number of drawers. You now have the total capacity of the filing cabinet.

In Michaela's office, a ream of paper is 2.125 inches thick, a filing cabinet has 4 drawers that are 15 inches long, and each folder contains an average of 25 pages.

First, each page is 2.125/500 = 0.00425 inches thick. Next, the thickness of a typical filled folder is 0.00425(25) + 0.022 = 0.12825 inches thick.

One cabinet drawer can hold 15/0.12825 = 116.959 filled folders. This is equal to 116.959(25) = 2923.977 sheets per drawer. Since there are 4 drawers, the total capacity is 2923.977(4) = 11695.9 pages, or about 11696 pages if the cabinet is filled to the max.

Note that this is the theoretical maximum. Since you need room to move the folders within the drawers, you should multiply this figure by 0.95 to allow for empty space. This gives a final estimate of 11111 pages under optimal conditions.

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