How To Pick File Cabinet Lock In Emergencies

Last update: 2023-02-24

It is not the most peculiar situation for you to forget your key inside a file cabinet. In certain cases, we are all a little forgetful and leave the key inside or lose it accidentally.

How To Pick File Cabinet Lock In Emergencies

Understanding this dilemma, we have now come up with a simple guide on how to pick a file cabinet lock. Hopefully, this article will become helpful to you under urgent circumstances. FAQs about this matter would also be revealed in the following sections.

1. The Process Of Picking A File Cabinet Lock Without Using Keys

How To Pick File Cabinet Lock In Emergencies

As promised, we would now go into the details of how to pick a file cabinet lock for you. The steps are as straightforward as they should be. However, you may want to pay attention to the techniques, and most crucially, what impacts can picking locks have on your file cabinet if conducted multiple times.

Should you be in an urgent situation without a key to open your file cabinet, here are the steps you may want to follow. We have divided the guide into two parts, which would be compatible for people who use paper clips and nail clippers.

Using Paper Clips

How To Pick File Cabinet Lock In Emergencies

Step 1: Straighten one of your paper clip's ends. Keep the other end bend. In this case, you should be preparing a few paper clips, just for prevention. You may be new to this whole thing of lock picking. Hence, prepare some in advance for repetition if you make any mistake for the first time. You can skip the straighten the one tip, but make sure that you keep the other end curved for the next steps.

Step 2: As you have all the ends prepared as straight and curved, insert the curved end into the file cabinet's keyhole to unlock it. For the second step, you must ensure that you place the curved end vertically so that it can push down on the lock pins from the inside.

How To Pick File Cabinet Lock In Emergencies

Step 3: Move the paper clip as gently as you can to find the right way for it to push down on the lock pins. You should conduct this in the direction from left to right. As you move it slowly and gently, it would take you barely any time to find the right spot. And how would we know if we have hit the perfect place? The moment the lock turns to the side and becomes unlocked is the answer. You would get a sense of this evidently.

Step 4: Do not withdraw the paper clip instantly. Only put it out once you have found your key. If not, pull on the cabinet's handle and remain the unlocked statement until you have found your key or at least your spare key. Completing this step means that you have finished the whole process. If you do not have a paper clip, using a nail clipper is also advised for picking your file cabinet's lock in urgent situations without a key.

Using Nail Clipper

How To Pick File Cabinet Lock In Emergencies

If you do not have a paperclip in-hand right away, you can use a nail clipper as a lock picking tool in emergencies. The process is not too different from the one we have just mentioned for paper clips. As advice, we highly suggest that you pay close attention to the technique part. Here is your guidance on how to pick a file cabinet lock without keys.

Step 1: You should be using a small and slim nail clipper to pick the file cabinet's lock as easily as possible. It should have a file with a curved tip. The mechanism is quite similar to that of using a paper clip.

Step 2: As you have your nail clipper in hand, push the curved tip of the nail file as far as you can into the keyhole of the cabinet and your the curved tip to sense the lock pins inside the lock.

Step 3: For the third step, once again, move your nail file slowly and gently from left to right to figure out the right spot. This can be time-consuming for a bit, but once that you have reached the pins, the lock would quickly open. Normally, one lock consists of 5 pins in total.

Step 4: As you hear the locking mechanism collapsing, it means that you have succeeded in unlocking this file cabinet without a key. However, we don't really encourage this way of unlocking your file cabinet. It is best to open with your keys, so make sure you have a spare one in case you have lost your main key.

2. Frequently Asked Questions About Lock Picking (FAQs)

As mentioned, we have shown you the process to pick a file cabinet's lock, and now some questions sent to us would be answered properly. You may want to take a glance at this part because it can contain information you need in terms of the discussed matter.

Can I use paper clips and nail clippers as replacement for my keys?

How To Pick File Cabinet Lock In EmergenciesSince we have informed you in the previous sections, we don't encourage the picking lock at all, no matter what tools you use. The major reason why we do not support this is the damage, which lock picking can cause to your cabinet. The inner scratches from the lock picking will gradually do great harm to the lock, and if this happens over time, your lock is likely to be broken eventually.

The ideal solution for this issue is to have a spare key. As you do this, the lifespan of your lock would extend to its best potential, rather than using paper clips and nail clippers as resolutions.

Apart from paper clips and nail clippers, what else can I use to pick a file cabinet in urgent situations?

How To Pick File Cabinet Lock In Emergencies

Besides paper clips or nail clippers as familiar tools for lock picking, you can use knives, screw drivers, bobby pins, or a lock-picking set to unlock your file cabinet in emergencies or times when you accidentally leave the key inside.

However, once again, we would repeat that you should not use alternatives as above to unlock your file cabinet frequently because they all would cause great damage to your lock, which is quite detrimental for the cabinet, and it is such an annoying circumstance to replace your current lock with a new one.

Is the picking guidance above usable for magnetic locks?

How To Pick File Cabinet Lock In EmergenciesUnfortunately, the process we have just informed you would not be workable for magnetic locks because the two lock mechanisms work very distinguishable. Hence, if you are owning a magnetic lock, this article may not be the best for you.

In the case you have lost your key, you had better contact the manufacturer or ask for the professional services so that they can provide you with a new key. Do not try to pick the lock of such items because it would neither work or be a good idea for the product's longevity.


The article on how to pick a file cabinet's lock has reached its final lines here. It is unavoidable that we have to pick a lock occasionally, even though we do not wish to. The lock picking as we have said is quite detrimental for your lock if conducted from time to time.

When you have lost your key, it is better to purchase a replacement key. If you leave the key inside the file cabinet by accident, you can apply our guidance. Remember it should be applied as rarely as possible.

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