Picture this: You’ve spent all night working on and collating a massive report. One that you definitely haven’t spent the last several weeks procrastinating on. Whether it’s for school or work doesn’t matter. The point is that it’s massive.
You think you have a thing of beauty on your hands until you drop your binder or portfolio on the way to turn it in. Everything falls out. There are so many different documents that you couldn’t hope to parse which pages go with what.
This could have been avoided if you had tab dividers. What are tab dividers, and how can they prevent frustrating situations like this? Here’s what you need to know.
What Are Tab Dividers?
Have you ever seen a lawyer skim through a massive portfolio dotted by spots of color? Or looked at a kid’s 3-ring binder for their classes at school? If so, then you’ve seen tab dividers before.
What are tab dividers? Simply put, they use tabs of paper, cardboard, plastic, or laminate to divide a large document or a binder into sections and subsections. This makes it easier to find a specific section when you need it for reference later.
Why Are Tab Dividers Useful?
Now that you understand what divider tabs are, let’s discuss the reasons why they’re useful. Some of the reasons you may want to use these little pieces of paper and plastic include:
This is the main benefit of using a divider tab system in any document. Dividing massive reports, case files, and other documents into sections, subsections, and sub-sub-sections can make it easier to track where a document is located.
No one wants to be “the disorganized co-worker”. Using tabs as a file divider system can help you keep track of every piece of paper you might need to find at a moment’s notice.
Look Professional and Sleek
If you had two reports in front of you, which would you give the higher score? The one without any divisions, that looks thrown together at the last minute? Or the one with clearly divided sections, that looks like someone put time and effort into assembling it?
Using tab dividers can make your reports look sleeker, more professional. This may not change the content of your report, but it certainly looks better to the boss.
Gives You Extra Storage Space
Many divider tab systems these days offer tabs with folder pockets attached! This can be a godsend when someone hands you relevant documents, but you don’t have time to hole-punch them and slot them into their proper place. By setting them into the folder pocket, you ensure that you have them on hand.
Great for Archival
When the time comes to archive your reports, you’re going to be thankful that you have an organizational system on hand. The already-implemented file divider system you’re using will ensure that the relevant files remain together when you store them. That way, if you ever have to dig them out, you know exactly where they are.
What to Consider When Buying Divider Tabs
Buying divider tabs isn’t as simple as picking up the cheapest option and throwing them into a document willy-nilly. There are certain considerations you need to take. Some factors to keep in mind include:
Color and Shape
While this might seem like a matter of personal preference, the color and shape of tab dividers can have serious repercussions on how your document gets received. For example, a serious legal portfolio shouldn’t use pastel-toned dividers and quirky, flower-shaped tabs.
By the same token, you wouldn’t want a heartfelt crafting or scrapbooking project divided by cold, professional, stern rectangles in monochrome shades.
Also, you should take care not to use the same color too often within the same portfolio or document. It can make finding the right section harder than it needs to be.
Weight of the Dividers
Documents with a lot of pages can get heavy in a hurry. And tab dividers that rip when you use them to lift a section of the document won’t do you much good. So, make sure you buy the right weight of paper for the dividers.
Tab Size and Placement
Another important factor you should consider when you buy tab dividers is the tabs’ size and placement. Tiny tabs might present a sleeker profile, but will get lost in the pages of a massive binder. Larger tabs won’t get lost as easily, but will look odd in sleeker reports.
You can also decide whether you want to place the tabs on the long or short side of the pages. It all depends on the look you want to go for. And if you need a truly custom placement, check out these divider tabs.
How Many Tabs Do You Need?
The last major thing to consider when you buy divider tabs is how many you need. Dividing every single section and subsection for a 12-page report could get excessive. By the same token, only having 5 tab dividers for a 200-page report means that the sections are too big to search.
Let’s Review What You Need to Know About Tab Dividers
So, what are tab dividers and how can they help your work or school life today? Simply put, divider tabs serve to divide paper documents and binders into readable sections. This helps to keep all of your information organized, as well as presents a sleek and professional profile.
If you need to buy tab dividers, make sure you consider the size, placement, color, shape, and number of tabs. This can make sure you have enough sections and present the right message.
Did you find this article about tab dividers helpful? Would you like to read more like it? If so, then check out our blog for more organizational guides like this one!