How to Remove a Drawer From a Steelcase File Cabinet

Written by jeffrey brian airman
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How to Remove a Drawer From a Steelcase File Cabinet
Removing the drawers of a filing cabinet makes it easier to move. (file image by Byron Moore from

Steelcase has produced a variety of lateral and vertical file cabinets that contain sliding drawers that only slide part way out unless they are manually released. The release lever or levers are commonly located on the drawer slides or back section, depending on the model of storage cabinet. Many Steelcase cabinets also have a safety feature that must be overridden to remove more than one drawer at a time. Systematically search for the mechanisms that are holding a Steelcase file cabinet drawer in place so they can be properly disabled.

Skill level:

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  1. 1

    Clear the contents of all the Steelcase file cabinet drawers and stack the items neatly.

  2. 2

    Pull the top drawer out as far as it will go and inspect the slides at both side of the drawer to see if black plastic tabs are impeding its full extension and release. Press the tabs down on both sides with your fingers or a screwdriver and attempt to fully remove the drawer.

  3. 3

    Search the back panel of the drawer if the release levers are not on the slides. Levers on the back side of the drawer commonly have arrows printed on them so you know which direction causes the drawer to release. Apply a small amount of silicone lubricant to the drawer slides if they are still sticking once the release lever or levers are depressed.

  4. 4

    Set the top drawer of the Steelcase filing cabinet aside once it has been removed and attempt the same removal procedure with the next drawer down. If the second drawer does not come out once the release levers are depressed it may have a safety mechanism that prevents multiple drawers from being pulled.

  5. 5

    Locate the single drawer safety mechanism that is usually located on the back inside wall of Steelcase file cabinets. The part is often a round white plastic wheel with metal spokes that is about the size of a quarter. Turn this wheel upward to pull out the second drawer while the release tabs are depressed.

  6. 6

    Continue disabling the safety feature and moving the release lever tabs until all the drawers are removed from the Steelcase file cabinet. Reinstall the empty drawer when finished by lining up the slides and holding down the release lever as the drawer goes back in.

Tips and warnings

  • Wipe excess lubricant from the slides and sides of the file cabinet to keep it from getting on important documents.
  • Use a dolly to move an empty Steelcase file cabinet to prevent twisting the metal fame and making it difficult to reinsert the drawers.

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