The first question that comes up, once an organization has decided to convert their paper files into digital format, is which documents should we convert? The answer varies, based on the needs of the organization and the type of document management system that will be used.

Healthcare providers, human services, and organizations with case-based files may need to convert all of the documents related to each case in order to have sufficient information moving forward. Companies that deal with less global files can select documents which will be utilized most frequently for conversion. Selected documents can be scanned and converted individually or in large batches, based on user-defined needs. Once converted, images of the source documents can be indexed and archived for future retrieval or distribution.

Another consideration when converting documents is the cost of conversion. The initial, one-time conversion cost must be balanced against the benefit yielded from digitizing and the ongoing paper document storage costs. When making the decision on what files should be converted, it helps to get an estimate of how many pages of documents are in each file cabinet or storage box.

Estimated Number Of Pages By Type Of Storage

Type of Storage Estimated Number of Pages

Lateral File Drawer 4,500 to 5,000 pages

Vertical File Drawer 3,500 to 4,000 pages

Storage Box (10″ x 12″ x 15″) 2,000 to 2,500 pages

Open Shelving 1,500 pages per linear foot

Unbound Paper 100 to 125 pages per inch

1 Inch – Binder 250-275 Pages Each

2 Inch – Binder 450-480 Pages Each

3 Inch – Binder 650-670 Pages Each

4 Inch – Binder 750-780 Pages Each

5 Inch – Binder 950-1050 Pages Each

Velo Binder 175-200 Pages Each

Plastic Coil / Spiral Binder 175-200 Pages Each

Keep in mind that the file conversion figures provided are just estimates. Variations within each file repository, including the number of file folders, double-sided documents, paperclips, and binders will impact the actual number of pages per file.

Converting Large Format Files

Not all documents that need to be converted fall into the standard 8.5″ x 11″ page format. Some documents, like engineering drawings, blueprints, architectural, and other oversized documents must be converted into digital format. These types of documents, along with record books, require specialized scanning equipment to convert paper records to digital files.